Five Chieftains earn first at individual tourney
All but one Shiprock varsity wrestler qualified for state at the District 1/3-4A Individual Tournament
FARMINGTON — Five of the six Shiprock wrestlers who went undefeated at last week's District 1/3-4A Tournament in Wingate also won individual district titles today in Pecos.
Cauy Ute (120 pounds), Zelldan Clark (160), Zephaniah Hadley (170), Logan Charley (195) and Tyler Litzin (285) won first place in their respective weight classes during the District 1/3-4A Individual Tournament.
Ute was the only championship winner on the day to win by decision, edging Estavan Atilano of Pecos 11-6. The other four champs won by pin fall.
Sapphire Williams (126), Shiprock's lone wrestler to go undefeated last week while failing to reel in a district title this week, still had a productive day in Pecos. Williams placed second after getting pinned by Pecos' Johnny Ortega one minute and 40 seconds into their championship match.
Shiprock assistant coach Sean Hayes said today's results in Pecos pretty much aligned with his expectations.
"This week's preparations went well," Hayes said. "(Head) coach Ben Frazier emphasized that this week was solely on individuals, so how they performed today would reflect on their work all season. We think everyone understood that message and wrestled to the best of their abilities."
Winston Mike (152) and Autumn-Sky Jim (182) earned third-place finishes at the meet. Everyone on Shiprock's roster with the exception of Cameo Benally salvaged at least a fourth-place finish, which means everyone but Benally will compete in the state tournament next week in Rio Rancho.
At state next week, Hayes said he wants to see Shiprock collect as much success as it can, but he also wants to see District 1/3-4A put itself on the map against the rest of the class.
"I think we beat each other up enough on back-to-back weekends. We want to put it on another district now," Hayes said. "To be honest, we want our district to be top three standing on the podium when it's all said and done. So, yeah, you'll see us wrestle to the best of our ability, come Rio Rancho. Everyone's going to lay it all out."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.