Kirtland Central pulls the upset win in Bernalillo
FARMINGTON – Seeing his team improve weekly has been the goal for Piedra Vista wrestling coach Michael Bejar this season, and the Panthers continued to make strides this weekend in Winslow, Ariz.
Though PV didn't do enough in close matches to win the 52nd annual Doc Wright Invitational on Friday and Saturday, the Panthers showed they are grasping Bejar's team concept by placing fourth with a point total of 153.5.
"Everyone contributes when you get a top-five team finish," Bejar said. "We got pushed in quite a few matches. Competing in a tournament like this is exactly what we needed."
Wes Rayburn (138) was outstanding in finishing first in his weight class. Dylan Greenhaus (120) took third, Alberto Marquez (195) got fourth and Taylor Atencio (132) landed in fifth.
Aztec had a much better showing in Winslow this year than it did in 2015, earning 12th place as opposed to 22nd last year. The Tigers scored 109.5 points.
Like Bejar, Aztec coach Monte Maxwell is preaching week-by-week improvement.
"It was a grind. We battled today," Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said. "We saw a lot of good things, and a lot of things we've still got to improve at, bu, getting better every week is our plan."
Josiah Griego (106) made it into the finals for Aztec and took second as the school's highest placer. Austin Littlefield (145) won a hard-fought match to take third. Littlefield received the Joe Romero Award for dedication and sportsmanship after fighting through the consolation bracket to earn third.
Meanwhile, Kirtland Central placed first at the Spartan Duals in Bernalillo on Saturday, overcoming a host of 5A teams in the process.
The Broncos went 5-0, beating Tucumcari, Bernalillo, Gallup and Roswell before downing Goddard 38-26 in the final.
"I'll be honest, I was surprised we beat Goddard," KC coach JJ Sandoval said. "They're a top-five, top-eight team in 5A. So it's a big win for us and a good sign."
Luke West, Jalen Platero, Keishaun Aspaas, Cody Manuelito and Berry Tom went undefeated for KC. Aiden Cockrell went 4-1.
Shiprock also came out victorious on Saturday when it won the Garrison Memorial Invitational held at Shiprock High School.
Bloomfield's junior varsity team took second and Aztec's JV earned third in the dual-style, 12-team tourney.
"It was a great day of competition," Chieftains assistant Sean Hayes said. "We were able to see a couple of Arizona and New Mexico teams mix it up."
Shiprock sophomore Zelldan Clark kept his undefeated season alive by going 5-0.
And though she didn't win, the toughness of Chieftains 126-pounder Sapphire Williams was on display throughout the meet, according to Hayes.
"Sapphire brought a great attitude to the mat all day," Hayes said. "She also was in a memorable match with Window Rock's 126-pounder."
At the Joe Vivian Classic in Albuquerque, Bloomfield wrestled to a 16th-place finish, while Farmington took 25th. The Bobcats had 75.5 points, while FHS put up 37 points.
JD Robinson (170) took fifth and was Bloomfield's highest placer. Farmington's highest placer was Kameron Schrock (220), as he finished sixth.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.