Aztec crowned champion of District 1-5A
Farmington goes 4-1, earns second place at District 1-5A duals in Kirtland
KIRTLAND — The Aztec wrestling team has consistently been at the top of the heap in District 1-5A this season, and today was no different, as the Tigers earned the district championship at the duals in Kirtland.
The Tigers roared through the six-school meet with a 5-0 record. Their closest dual of the day was a 47-35 win over Bloomfield in the opening round. Aztec won its other four meets by at least 21 points.
Farmington was the runner-up with a 4-1 record. Miyamura placed third at the meet, while Kirtland Central took fourth, Bloomfield settled for fifth and Gallup rounded out the field in last place.
"Farmington was definitely tough. They're the ones we knew it would come down to," Aztec coach Monte Maxwell said. "But we came out, and our young kids came out and battled right off the bat."
Freshman Bode Wooley, at 132 pounds, was one of the Aztec underclassmen who wrestled tough. He scored a 5-3 decision over Farmington's Trevor Adakai to set that dual off on the right foot for the eventual champs.
Farmington coach Jesus Mendoza said he thought a couple of matches during the Aztec dual would have gone the Scorps' way to make their final score closer, but he's still not complaining about the second-place finish.
"The guys did a great job," Mendoza said. "We ran into a really tough team in Aztec. There were a couple matches we thought would go our way — they didn't go our way, no big deal. Second place is a good feeling. We're good."
Aztec received dominant efforts from Dominic Dufur (145), Austin Littlefield (152), C.D. Simkins (106), Josiah Griego (113), Garrett Birzer (120) and Cody Candelaria (126), who all went undefeated.
The Tigers host Saturday's individual district tournament, where Maxwell said he thinks his team should take another step in the right direction in its quest to score a state championship.
"We'll look to qualify as many (wrestlers) as possible and keep preparing for state," Maxwell said. "Keep improving everyday and working toward our goal."
The Scorps were led by Traedan Allison (138), James Schryver (182) and Dante Norberto (285), all of whom were unbeaten on the afternoon. Norberto went a long way in helping Farmington fend off third-place Miyamura in the final round of the day when he pinned Joshua Ashley, who had not lost for the Patriots until that match.
"The big thing with Dante is, he's a little man with a big heart," Mendoza said. "And he never quits. So he got us some good points. We also had a big win with James Schryver. He's a youngster, doing a great job for the Scorpions. I'm proud of him."
For the second week in a row, Kirtland Central was without a host of wrestlers due to either injury or the flu bug, including Isaac Thomas, Brandon Silago and Raemondo Miles. As a result, the Broncos lost duals to Aztec, Farmington and Miyamura, while only narrowly defeating Bloomfield 37-36.
Broncos coach JJ Sandoval said a lot has changed since his team placed third at the Four Corners Orthodontics Tiger Duals in Aztec on Jan. 21.
"A couple weeks ago, I thought we had a legitimate shot at wrestling for a district championship," Sandoval said. "We've got two weeks to figure things out and clean some things up."
Cody Manuelito (170) has been KC's rock all season, and he finished 5-0 at his home gym.
Bloomfield coach Greg Shoemaker said he thought his team wrestled better than its sixth-place finish indicated.
The Bobcats lost by only 1 point to the Broncos, by 8 to Miyamura and by 12 to Aztec.
"We were in every one of them," Shoemaker said. "We got a kid injured early. I'm not trying to make excuses, I thought we wrestled well. It's just that, some of our younger kids, they're wrestling like younger kids."
Lane Rightmire (126) lost to Candelaria in the first round before leaving the meet with concussion-like symptoms.
The unbeaten Bobcats at the district meet were Levi Whitley (132), Avery Scott (170), Luke Defeinbaugh (195) and Michael DeHerrera (220).
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.