Belen and Los Lunas wrestlers enter the New Year with confidence after ending 2022 with several outstanding performances.
The Belen Eagles boys team used its depth to edge Hobbs and Cleveland for the championship at the Rio Hondo Invitational in Roswell. The outcome was razor thin, with Belen scoring 143 points, Hobbs 142, and Cleveland 140.5.
Ely Gutierrez was the lone individual champion for BHS, registering a pin in the 160 pound final.
Other Eagles to place were Joshua Jaramillo, Manny Valdez, Derian Rodriguez, Quinton Thompson, Bobby Orona and Augustine Lopez.
The Los Lunas Tigers are coming off a second-place finish at the Tucumcari Rattler Invitational boys tournament behind Amarillo Tascosa. Andres Romero and Miguel Andrade pinned their opponents in the final to bring home individual titles.
Erne Gonzales, James Bachicha and Talley Logan earned runner-up honors, while Robert Pino and Aaron Zamora captured third-place trophies for LLHS.
At the Battle for Honor girls wrestling tournament in Gallup, Valencia finished fourth, with Los Lunas seventh and Belen eighth.
Six wrestlers placed for the Jaguars with Nevaeh Bracamonte and Katie Booth earning second-place points. Chiara Perez, Abigail Vigil, Judith Monarrez and Zipporah Heneghan also stood out for VHS.
Belen’s Andie Saiz brought home the title at 114 pounds, while Los Lunas grapplers Mia Carabajal-Hartog and Kiyah Padilla scored points for the Tigers.
All three county wrestling programs are entered in the Conflict at Cleveland Jan. 6-7.
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.