Panthers place second at Doc Wright Invite

Karl Schneider

FARMIGNTON — The Piedra Vista and Aztec wrestling teams represented the area well at the Doc Wright Invitational this weekend in Winslow, Ariz.

Wes Rayburn, left, Austin Littlefield, Nick Rino, Cody Candelaria and Diego Sanchez-Morales pose for a photo after winning their brackets at the Doc Wright Invitational Saturday in Winslow, Ariz.

The Panthers came away with three individual champions, and Aztec won two to bring five of a possible 14 titles back to San Juan County.

The Panthers got titles from Diego Sanchez-Morales (106), Wes Rayburn (138) and Nick Rino (145).

Aztec’s Cody Candelaria (126) and Austin Littlefield (152) captured titles for the Tigers.

PV had a strong weekend across the board, scoring 185.5 points to place second.

Show Low, Ariz., won the team title with 223 points.

Aztec placed ninth with 127.5 points.

Rayburn won outstanding wrestler for the lower weight classes after winning via fall in all of his matches.

But PV coach Michael Bejar said the award could have gone to Sanchez-Morales.

“Diego beat the No. 4 seed, the No. 1 seed and the No. 2 seed,” Bejar said. “He did extremely well. I’m really proud of him and excited about him moving forward.”

PV saw three others finish on the podium. Hosman Caraveo (160) placed second after dropping a 3-2 decision in the final, and Sergio Quintana (170) and Adrian Tarwater (220) both placed fifth.

Aztec’s Josia Griego (113) finished fourth.

Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said he was happy with the Tigers’ performance after they moved up three places from their 12th-place finish at the tourney last season. He said the team handled the pressure of wrestling in a top-tier tournament well.

“Our returners wrestled up to what we expected — they’ve all been in that situation,” Maxwell said. “The younger guys have wrestled in big tournaments like this, but not as tough of tournaments as this one.”

There were 33 teams at the tournament.

Chieftains place 3rd at home meet

The Shiprock wrestling team got a strong showing during its own Garrison Spencer Memorial Wrestling Duals, finishing third today at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

Shiprock's Logan Charley, left, grapples with Tre Labossiere of Cedaredge, Colo., in the 195-pound division during the Garrison Spencer Memorial Wrestling Duals on Saturday at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

“We’re moving along pretty well. Our point getters, the ones we expect to get points, are going out and getting some good matches,” Shiprock coach Ben Frazier said. “But we’re not done yet. Our main focus right now is district and state, and working to get better before then.”

Cedaredge, Colo., won the dual meet, with Piedra Vista’s junior varsity squad placing second.

Frazier said Zelldan Clark, Cauy Ute, Logan Charley and Zephaniah Hadley all had strong performances.

Frazier also praised Sapphire Williams and the progress she has made this season.

“She really stepped up today and has really gotten better every time she’s gone out there,” Frazier said. “She’s been doing well the last couple of weeks and did even better today.”

KC goes 4-1 at Bernalillo Duals

The Broncos have been looking for more consistency this season, and they took a step toward that after going 4-1 to place third at the Bernalillo Duals today.

“We’ve got a good idea of where we are, and I think we’re in the mix of some things, but we’ve got to get better,” KC coach JJ Sandoval said. “We were a little more consistent, but we still had some downs today. But it was a huge improvement from last week.”

KC got wins over Los Alamos, Grants, Pojoaque Valley and Roswell, but suffered a letdown performance to lose to Los Lunas.

Luke West went 5-0 on the day to lead the Broncos.

Brandon Silago and Isaac Thomas both went 4-1.

KC’s schedule is loaded this week. The Broncos have a dual with Farmington on Tuesday, a dual with Aztec on Thursday, then the Aztec Tiger Duals on Saturday.

Shiprock's Zelldan Clark pins Piedra Vista's Joseph Archibeque in the 170-pound division during the Garrison Spencer Memorial Wrestling Duals on Saturday at the Chieftain Pit in Shiprock.

Scorps, Bobcats tested at Joe Vivian Classic

The Farmington and Bloomfield wrestling teams got to see some of the top competition in the state this weekend at the Joe Vivian Classic in Albuquerque.

At the tournament, which featured 33 teams, all from New Mexico, the Scorps finished 12th with 79.5 points and the Bobcats placed 17th with 68.5 points.

“The competition was tough from the smaller 4A schools all the way to the bigger 6A schools,” Farmington coach Jesus Mendoza said. “The boys were ready for it though. They were mentally prepared, physically they were ready and they accepted the challenge through and through for the entire weekend.”

Both the Scorps and Bobcats finished with two wrestlers on the podium.

Bloomfield’s Michael DeHerrera (220) was the top placer, finishing second. Fellow Bobcat Levi Whitley (132) placed sixth.

Farmington was led by Traedan Allison (138), who finished fourth, and Francisco Alvarez (145), who placed fifth.

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