Belen went 4-1 to finish second Saturday in the 29th annual Leonard Kirby Invitational Wrestling Tournament in the boy’s bracket.
Under the dual format, the Eagles defeated Cibola, Goddard and Roswell in pool play. The run eventually ended in the championship match against Cleveland.
Valencia posted a 2-4 record, competing in a pool against Capital, Cleveland, Grants and Belen JV. Against Cleveland, Jaguars’ freshman Aiden Farless pinned his opponent at 160 pounds.
“It was fun,” Farless said. “He was really low, but I took advantage of that.”
In the girls’ division, Belen battled Cibola, Valencia, Roswell, Grants, Capital and Goddard in round robin competition.
The Eagles’ Audrey Moreira was impressive in her match at 126 pounds against a Capital wrestler.
“I sort of wanted to try a new move, but I decided to keep it safe,” Moreira said after registering a pin. “I just did a regular ‘snap’” to bring the opponent to the mat. “When we first tied-up, I felt like I had it.”
The VHS girls have had some impressive team results, including a Top 10 finish in the Conflict at Cleveland. Chiara Perez, who weighs 104 pounds, has been earning points for the Jaguars while wrestling up in weight class.
“You really have to know how to use their weight against them and not get caught in positions,” Perez said. “The minute they’re on top of you, it’s so hard to get back up.”
The girls’ regional tournament, with Belen, Valencia and Los Lunas, is this weekend in Bayard. The boys’ regional tournaments will be held the following weekend.
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.