The host Chieftains qualifiy nine wrestlers
FARMINGTON — The Bloomfield wrestling team followed its first-place finish at the District 1-4A duals last week by winning the state qualifier tournament on Friday night at the Chieftain Pit.
The tourney determines which individuals will compete at the state tournament next week in Rio Rancho. The Bobcats and Broncos both met their goal of qualifying all 14 of their wrestlers.
Bloomfield won nine matches in the finals en route to a first-place point total of 209.5 points on Friday. KC came out victorious in four finals matches to take second with 203.5 points.
Shiprock, which qualified nine individuals, earned third place with 116 points, well ahead of fourth-place Wingate (38 points) and fifth-place Newcomb (27).
Bobcats coach Greg Shoemaker said his team is showing week-to week-improvement in regard to technique.
"Our positioning is getting better, and we're getting our combinations and scrambles more controlled," he said. "We're getting better results in those areas, you can see that."
Gerald Wiza (106 pounds), Christian Robison (113), Luke Whitley (120), Levi Whitley (126), Corbin Nelson (132), Diego O'Neill (138), Avery Scott (152), JD Robinson (182) and Michael DeHererra (285) were the nine Bobcats to earn first.
Robinson (182) won the Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the upper weights, which recognizes wrestlers who weigh 150 pounds and more. KC's Keishaun Aspaas (145) won the MOW award for the lower weights.
Aspaas, Kyle Jim (160), Cody Manuelito (170) and Berry Tom (220) were the four Kirtland wrestlers to come away with first.
The only two Broncos who did not take either first or second were Cassidy Tsosie (113) and Jayden Dodge (285). Both wrestlers landed in third.
Aidan Cockrell, who won a state championship last year, spent the last two weeks recovering from injury and did not wrestle during that time period for KC. Still ailing, he returned Friday to take second in the 138-pound weight class. Cockrell won his semifinal match to qualify for state, then his coach decided to have him forfeit his finals match to avoid aggravating his injury.
"Aidan looked pretty good in his win," KC coach JJ Sandoval said.
Out of Shiprock's nine qualifiers, Logan Charley (195) was the only one to place first. Shiprock assistant coach Sean Hayes said the competition was fierce on Friday, and he thinks District 1-4A will be well represented at state.
"Our guys and girl who got runner-up or third, they met a tougher wrestler who wanted it just a little more than they did," he said. "As a whole, I feel like it's 1-4A against the state. We want to support our wrestlers but also go ahead and support everyone in our district who qualified this evening."
The state tournament in Rio Rancho begins Friday and concludes the following day.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.