Aztec Tigers begin quest for state wrestling three-peat in dominating fashion

Matt Hollinshead, mhollinshead@daily-times.com

RIO RANCHO — The Aztec Tigers' three-peat aspirations had a promising, lightning fast start at the State Wrestling Championships today at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

Twelve of 13 Tigers cruised to first-round victories.

Bryson Valdez set a dominant tone early by pinning Ruidoso's Solomon Chavez 31 seconds into the first period.

"Once I got him on his back, it was done," Valdez said. "I set the pace for our bracket, to show (New Mexico) I'm here to win."

Six of Aztec's 10 pins occurred in the first round.

"We just need to keep pushing the pace and do our stuff," Valdez said.

Rest of San Juan County opens strong

Piedra Vista's Tyler Ramsted, Kyle Baker and Jacob Bartley pinned their foes less than a minute into the first period, as did Bloomfield's Adan Benavidez and Nick Duarte.

Farmington's Taeoma Frank and Zack Small recorded first-round pins, as did Kirtland Central's Dallin Mangelson, Byron Gibbs, Ian Thomas and Leighthan Jensen.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

Aztec’s Garrett Birzer grabs hold of St. Pius’ Jaren Robins in a 4A 138-pound first-round match during Friday's New Mexico State Wrestling Championships at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
Piedra Vista’s Diego Martinez and Deming’s Estevan Carreon do battle in a 5A 138-pound first-round match during Friday's New Mexico State Wrestling Championships at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.

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