Panthers dominate at District 1-5A tourney

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON – The Piedra Vista wrestling team captured another District 1-5A title, but it was a bittersweet victory for the Panthers.

PV, which has won five straight state titles, finished with 230 points to claim the title at the District 1-5A state qualifying tournament Saturday afternoon at Scorpion Gym, but only qualified 13 of its 14 wrestlers for next week’s state tournament in Rio Rancho.

“It’s tough for me as a coach. I want everybody to be successful. That was our ultimate goal for today, to qualify all 14, and we didn’t,” PV head coach Michael Bejar said of qualifying 13 wrestlers. “It’s a tough one to swallow. And I’m partially to blame. I’ll look in the mirror and say that I have to do better there.”

Piedra Vista's Taylor Atencio, right, wrestles Aztec's Brandon Trennepohl in the 132-pound weight class during the District 1-5A tournament on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

The weight class PV did not qualify for was at 113 pounds, but Bejar said there is a possibility that 113-pounder Dominic Arellano will receive a wild-card bid into the state tournament.

Diego Sanchez-Morales (106), Dylan Greenhaus (120), Marcos Candelaria (126), Taylor Atencio (132), Wes Rayburn (138), Nick Rino (145), Alberto Marquez (195) and Adrian Tarwater (220) all claimed individual titles for the Panthers.

Aside from the eight champions, Bejar said Hosman Caraveo (152) and Seergio Quintana (160), who both finished second after losing close decisions in the finals, impressed him and the PV coaching staff.

“I would really like to see those guys that we wrestled today (at state). I know those guys (Caraveo and Quintana) can get over that hump and beat those kids,” Bejar said. “They closed the gap today, and that really impressed us, and we expect them to keep improving.”

Aztec finished second with 190 points. Miyamura finished third with 133.5 points, followed by Farmington with 116.5 points and Gallup with 22 points.

Aztec's Melvin Benally pins Piedra Vista's Haden Cox in the 182-pound weight class during the District 1-5A tournament on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

Aztec will send 12 wrestlers to the state tournament, missing out on the 152-pound and 220-pound weight classes.

“We were pleased with what we saw, for the most part,” Aztec head coach Monte Maxwell said. “There were a few disappointments throughout the day, but overall, we were happy with what our kids produced and how they performed.”

Three Tigers — Josh Snow (160), Melvin Benally (182) and Tyler Robeson (285) — earned individual titles.

Maxwell said he thought Josiah Griego (106) and Dominic Dufur (138) performed well and took steps forward this week.

Farmington qualified six wrestlers for the state tournament.

“The guys are doing really well right now,” Farmington head coach Jesus Mendoza said. “There are a few matches I wish we could have back, but for our six qualifiers, they wrestled tough.”

Eighth-grader Cirrail Allison (113) — who was moved into the varsity lineup Friday night — was the Scorps’ lone individual champion.

Farmington's Cirrail Allison, top, wrestles Aztec's Tommy Fletcher in the 113-pound weight class during the District 1-5A tournament on Saturday at Scorpion Gym.

“He found out last night at practice that he was going to participate today, and he came with a mental toughness that was amazing,” Mendoza said of Allison. “For him to win at 113, I’m very, very proud of him.”

The state wrestling tournament will take place Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, giving the teams a few more days of practice to fine tune their skills.

“We’re not done yet. We’re still wrestling. We’re going to enjoy this for a moment, then get back after it. We still have three more days (of practice),” Bejar said. “We had a really good week (last week). We worked on some things, and we improved on those things. We took two steps in the right direction, and we’re going to continue with the same process for the next three days.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.