After excellent results in regional competition, both Belen and Los Lunas are among the favorites heading into the Boys State Wrestling Championships Friday and Saturday at the Rio Rancho Events Center.
LLHS qualified 13 wrestlers, BHS 12 and Valencia three.
The Belen Eagles won the NMAA Region 2-4A team title in Socorro, capturing four individual championships — Joshua Jaramillo at 107 pounds, Diego Avila at 139 pounds, Damien Wood in the 145 pound weight class, and Ely Gutierrez at 160 pounds.
Jaramillo believes Belen is good enough to win the 4A state title.
“It’s the best I’ve seen in a couple of years,” Jaramillo said of the current team. “I feel if everyone wrestles up to their potential we can take it home.”
Others advancing are Manny Valdez, Derian Rodriguez, Lazarus Layton, Ansel Salez, Troy Norcross, Bobby Orona, Augustine Lopez and Alexander Gonzales.
For VHS, Elijah Duran, Omar Estrada and Yovan Suarez are off to state after the NMAA Region 2-4A meet.
Duran believes he can win a state championship at 285 pounds,“because of all the hard work I’ve put in, year after year, and the amazing coaches we have.”
In the NMAA Region 2-5A meet in Las Cruces, LLHS finished second, only four points behind Atrisco Heritage Academy.
Individual champions include Aaron Zamora at 127 pounds, Miguel Andrade at 215 pounds and 285-pounder Josiah Baca.
Ten other Tigers are also moving on to state — Anthony Scott, Noah Gurule, Ernie Gonzales, Andres Romero, Aaron Pyle, James Bachichas, Robert Perea, Niko Torres, Jonathan Trujillo and Talley Logan.
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.