Caleb Varzeas pinning foes fast and often

Matt Hollinshead,
Aztec's Caleb Varzeas grabs hold of Shiprock's Jaylon Begay in a 195-pound division match during the District 1-4A wrestling championships at Lillywhite Gym in Aztec. Varzeas has won 13 matches via pin since Jan. 12, 10 of which came in the first period.

AZTEC – Caleb Varzeas does everything he can to force his foes to the outer edges of the mat. Once that happens, he strikes quickly.

The Aztec wrestler is in that advantageous spot within the first period, leaving opponents with nowhere to go.

Since Jan. 12, he's tallied 13 pins in the 195-pound division. Ten came during the first period, often because opponents start drifting away from the center.

That's what Varzeas wants, because that's when he can seize control.

“I’m one of the stronger few in my weight class. I do use my muscle a lot when I roll them over. I do use my strength and overpower them,” Varzeas said. “Wrestling fast-paced and getting the job done quickly is the way to do it, and I just live by that."

If he has trouble getting out of central circle, Varzeas keeps moving his feet to reset. Once he recognizes his opponent starts peddling back slightly, he gives that extra push away from the circle.

“When I take my shot, they normally go to their back. When they go to their back, I just grab them and I don’t let go. They can’t move anymore,” Varzeas said.

He gradually finds himself nearing the outer edge, and he delivers from there.

“Ever since we got back from Winslow (Arizona), he’s been wrestling a lot tougher, moving better,” coach Monte Maxwell said. “He’s gotten better on his feet, and he gets that takedown. He knows how to finish. He’s powerful, he’s a strong kid."

Heading to Rio Rancho on Friday for the state wrestling championships, Varzeas looks to keep dragging opponents to the outer edges.

He knows he can capitalize in those moments, each time.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, or via email at