Los Lunas wrestling beat Belen 31-30 in a nail-biting dual which came down to the last match in the 152-pound weight class.
“We knew it was going to come down to the last match, regardless,” said Los Lunas head coach Steve Chavez. “I’m happy it came down to that match.”
Heading into the last match, the Tigers were trailing the Eagles.
When eighth-grader Miguel Andrade took the mat against Belen senior Jason Bernauer, the Eagles were up 28-30 and were poised to finish with a team victory.
However, Andrade came through with an 7-6 upset over Bernauer, thus giving the Tigers a 1-point advantage to conclude the dual.
“(Andrade) buys into the program,” said Chavez. “Everything I teach him, he does. If the other kids do that, they’ll win.”
The dual began with a series of three consecutive Belen victories in the 160-, 170- and 182-pound weight classes from Florentino Rodriguez, Josh Silva and Alfredo Castillo.
Los Lunas’ first win didn’t come until junior Santiago Salas picked up an 8-6 victory over Belen senior Tyler Lozoya in the 195-pound weight class.
From that point, the Eagles and Tigers traded wins with thrilling finishes coming from the middleweight classes.
“It was a great dual,” said Belen head coach Lee Chaves. “I didn’t like the ending, but it was a great dual. Every match went the way we thought — except the 120’s and the 152. I thought we were going to win that one.”
Up next for both squads is the District Individuals Tournament, which will be held at Los Lunas on Saturday.
The 2019 New Mexico State Wrestling Championships will begin the following Friday, Feb. 22, at the Santa Ana Star Event Center in Rio Rancho.
As the season draws to a close, Chaves hopes Belen will improve on their escapes.
“We’re going to work on our bottom,” said Chaves. “We’ve got to work on getting away.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers hope to capitalize on their potential.
Chavez wants his squad to be more coachable.
“The kids who buy into what we’re teaching are winning,” said Chavez. “The rest have to snap out of it. We’ve got a lot of potential. They just have to release it.”