FARMINGTON — The Aztec wrestling team had a successful performance at the Blackwatch Wrestling Tournament in Upland, Calif., placing fifth out of 66 schools.
The Tigers climbed six spots after sitting in 11th place with 70.5 points on Tuesday, finishing the tournament with 160 points.
“We saw a lot of good things over the two days from a lot of our kids,” Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said. “We had a lot of young kids with us, and they went out and battled. Even if they didn’t win any matches, they went out and fought the entire match. It was a great experience for some of them, and we got some great matches against some very tough competition. Overall, it was a successful couple of days for everybody.”
Standing out among the Tigers was junior Austin Littlefield, who won the 152-pound bracket and was named the outstanding wrestler for the upper weight classes. Littlefield finished the tournament with four wins by fall and one technical fall in his five matches.
“Austin is wrestling very well right now,” Maxwell said. “He gets in good position and is moving really well. He’s wrestling pretty tough at the moment and doing a lot of good stuff.”
Littlefield pinned Tanner Griffin, from Chino, Calif., in the first period to win the title.
Josiah Griego (113) and Cody Candelaria (126) reached the finals of their brackets.
Candelaria was in position to win the title at 113 pounds, leading the championship match 2-1 in the second period, before he was called for an illegal hold on Rowland, Calif.’s., Richard Rojo, who did not finish the match and received the victory via injury default.
Greigo lost his championship match by a score of 4-0 to Johnny Vargas, out of Montclair, Calif.
Also earning spots on the podium for the Tigers were Dominic Dufur (145), who placed fourth, and C.D. Simkins (106), who finished seventh.
The Tigers will be back on the mat Jan. 6, travelling to Bayfield, Colo., to face the Wolverines in a dual meet.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.