The high school wrestling season wrapped up last weekend, and there’s a couple things I’d like to rap to you about.
I don’t mean “rap” in a Hip-Hop style — but “rap” in a hippie, groovy kind of way.
First, the format. This year the New Mexico Activities Association held two separate state wrestling tournaments — one, the “individual” tournament, in which individual state champions were determined in each weight division and a team title was awarded to the school that accumulated the most points, just like they used to do in years past.
In addition, team trophies were awarded the following weekend in a “duals” tournament in which teams faced off against each other head-to-head.
Initially, I didn’t like the prospect of crowning two state champions – something that failed to materialize as La Cueva, Aztec and Las Vegas Robertson won both tournaments in Class 5A, 4A and 1-3A respectively.
But I liked it this year. The duals tournament allows coaches to juggle their lineups and strategize. And the duals format rewards teams with good depth.
It also gives teams a second chance, as it did with both our county’s high schools, which were able to earn some redemption after disappointing showings at the individual tournament.
Los Lunas finished sixth at the individual tournament but came ever-so-close to upsetting La Cueva in an extremely entertaining duals championship final that went down to the last match.
The format gave Belen a chance to claim the third-place trophy they know they should have won while hosting the Class 4A individual tourney.
And now that I’m on the subject, props go out to Belen High School for the job they did hosting that tournament. Other than the Eagles’ fourth-place finish, the tournament came off beautifully. Tournament Director John Romero, coach Jerry Moya and the Eagle wrestlers, the Belen Wrestling Boosters and all the volunteers that worked the event did an outstanding job.
BHS Athletic Director Danny Griego said the whole community came together to put on a good show for the hundreds of out-of-town visitors. The crowds were good and the wrestling was good – just wish the Eagles would have won it.
From a media standpoint, information was swift and assessable. My only complaint is that you had to walk a couple hundred feet down the hallway to get a glimpse of the team standings. It would have been nice to have the team scores posted on the wall inside the main gym.
But overall, well done Belen. The Hub City deserves to have it back again next year.
The duals tournament at Rio Rancho High School featured some great matches, but not-so-great crowds. Consequently, there wasn’t the same electricity in the gym that there’s been at other state tournaments I’ve experienced.
The NMAA deserves to be commended for including an article on Los Lunas head coach Tom Torres and his wife, Paulette, in its state wrestling program.
That was nice, but, apparently, the NMAA, which has suffered from public relations problems in the past, wasn’t so nice to Paulette. A security guard wouldn’t let her down on the floor to talk to Tom after the final session on Friday. I didn’t witness the incident, but I did see a distressed Paulette in the parking lot complaining to Tom about the way she had been treated.
After relaxing its rules regarding video recorders, I thought we were seeing a kinder, gentler NMAA. But, apparently, it still has some lightening up to do.
Finally, congratulations to the kids.
I try to acknowledge seniors because this is their final season. Belen just had one on its team, Justin Gabaldon, who was unmistakably the Eagles team leader this year. I was proud to see him hoist that third-place trophy above his head last Saturday night and tell me that he ends his career with no regrets, knowing that he had given it his all.
Los Lunas will graduate six senior starters — Patrick Aragon, Juan Cherino, Wade Freeman, Bryan Gallogly, Gonzalo Garcia and Eric Kinsey.
I want to single Gallogly out because he’s a guy that quietly went about his business, scoring more than 20 wins while winning about three-fourths of his bouts, but never got his picture in the paper.
I try, when I can, to get all the seniors’ pictures in the paper. Though I think I managed to make it through the season spelling his name correctly, I never got a chance to get Bryan’s picture in.
And Bryan deserves to have his picture in the paper. He’s a kid that started wrestling as a freshman. He didn’t make the varsity until his senior year. He worked hard and persevered, and he contributed to his team.
Wrestling produces a lot of hard-working, dedicated and disciplined kids like Bryan Gallogly. Congratulations to them all. They showed a lot of character last weekend and represented their schools, and Valencia County, well.
Bryan Gallogly is one of six seniors on the Los Lunas High School wrestling team that placed second at the state duals championship at Rio Rancho last weekend. He didn’t get his picture in the paper this season, until now.