Bloomfield comes away with seventh

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FARMINGTON — A first-place finish by Austin Littlefield (145) helped the Aztec wrestling team continue its upward trend on Saturday by finishing second at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Pagosa Springs, Colo.

Bloomfield also competed in Pagosa Springs, and fared well for most of the day before faltering in the last round and settling for seventh out of 14 teams.

Aztec was just two points shy of the champion Sheridan Rams of Denver, which finished with 161.5 points.

At the Blackwatch Tournament in Upland, Calif., in late December, the Tigers impressed by taking fourth. They built on that performance in Pagosa Springs, thanks to great days from Littlefield, Dylan Sutherland (192) and Cody Candelaria (120).

Sutherland finished second in his weight class and Candelaria defeated Taos' defending state champion Diego Valerio to take third.

Josiah Griego (106), Dominic Dufur (138) and Josh Snow (160) wrestled to fourth-place finishes, while Melvin Benally (172) claimed fifth for Aztec.

"We had a lot of good things happen. We fell short by a couple points but we're real happy with what we saw on the mats," Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said.

The Bobcats were five points out of sixth with 134.5 points, but 14.5 ahead of eighth-place Ignacio, Colo.

Lorenzo LaMere (285), Luke Whitley (120) and Gerald Wiza (106) were the only Bloomfield wrestlers to win top-five matches in the final round.

Levi Whitley (126) and JD Robinson (182) earned second for the Bobcats. Avery Scott (152), Angel Rivera (195) and David DeHerrera (220) all wound up in fourth.

Bobcats coach Greg Shoemaker said the effort was a little disappointing.

"That's always been a tough tournament," he said. "Avery had a kid on his back but ended up losing and the same thing with JD. It was just weird, a lot of matches could have gone either way. I'm not upset with the kids, I thought they wrestled hard. Sports can be funny sometimes."

Aztec will be joined by Piedra Vista at the Doc Wright Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Winslow, Ariz. Bloomfield and Farmington will both compete in Albuquerque on the same days for the Joe Vivian Invite.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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