Panthers snag 3rd; Shiprock's Charley a champ
Shiprock's Logan Charley pulls out a miraculous win in the fourth overtime to capture a state title for the Chieftains
RIO RANCHO — The Piedra Vista wrestling team has two goals at the state tournament every year: make it to the second day and win your last match.
The Panthers didn't quite send everyone into the second day, but all seven of the Panthers who did had their hand raised after their last match.
"Seven for seven. Our goal today was win your last match. I don't care about anything else," PV coach Michael Bejar said. "Our kids earned every point this tournament. We didn't get anything handed to us. They scratched and clawed their way to every point. I'm so proud of them and this coaching staff. I can't do it without these guys."
The run from PV's five wrestlers in the consolation bracket helped push the Panthers onto the podium for a third-place finish with 160 points today at the Santa Ana Star Center.
Cleveland won the title with 224 points, followed by Rio Rancho with 184 points. Volcano Vista finished fourth with 154.5 points, giving the top four spots to members of District 1-6A.
Juniors Wes Rayburn (132) and Nick Rino (145) picked up their third straight individual titles for the Panthers.
Rayburn got his title with apparent ease, pinning Carlsbad's Fabian Padilla in 1:17. Like every time Rayburn is on the mat, he was calm and collected, and never let the moment get to him.
"I don't really know how to explain it," Rayburn said of his mental control on the mat. "I think it comes from my dad. When I was little I used to get mad if someone was beating me, and my dad would tell me, 'Straight face. You got it. You're fine.' So I just try to keep myself calm out there."
Rino's title was a bit more nerve racking for the Panthers.
Matched up with Carlsbad's Justin Wood, the No. 1 seed at 145 pounds with a 36-0 record coming into the final, Rino scored an escape with one second left in the third period to get the 3-2 decision.
"He had to believe in himself. When we're in practice, it's hard to hold that kid down," Bejar said of Rino. "He's always had this thing that he believes nobody can keep him down."
Diego Sanchez-Morales (106), Sergio Quintana (170) and Adrian Tarwater (220) won their third-place matches while Hosman Caraveo (160) and Jared Terry (285) won their fifth-place matches.
Shiprock's Charley brings home state title
Shiprock senior Logan Charley won the first individual wrestling title for the Chieftains in several years. And he did it in one of the most dramatic ways possible.
The 195-pound Charley met Robertson's Darian Duran in the final and battled the Cardinal junior to a 2-2 tie after three periods.
The two kept trading blows through three overtime periods and went into the fourth OT tied 4-4. In the fourth overtime, Charley took Duran down, putting him on his back to get the fall after eight minutes and 18 seconds of action.
"I don't know how to explain it. It's a rush," Charley said after the match. "It's a mix of happiness and the feeling of accomplishing my longtime goal."
Shiprock coach Ben Frazier said he believes Charley is the program's first state champion since 2006.
The Chieftains also got big days out of junior Cauy Ute (120) and senior Zephaniah Hadley (170), who both reached the consolation finals and finished in fourth place.
As a team, the Chieftains finished seventh with 63 points, which was one place and 12 points better than last year's performance.
Frazier said ending the season with two placers to go with Charley's title was a great way to close out what had been a tumultuous season for Shiprock.
"It was a tough season. We did a lot of growing together," Frazier said. "We're going to keep growing. We had some kids that we left at home, and we wish they were here with us. We left some kids at home who could have made a big difference for us and made a big impact this weekend. But for now, this feels good."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.