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Don wrestlers 4th in Trinidad; Cards 5th in Belen

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Eight was enough.

West Las Vegas’ wrestling team, taking just eight grapplers — six short of the full 14, wrangled a fourth-place finish in the 14-team Gene Gagliardi Invitational this past Saturday in Trinidad, Colo.

John Armijo pinned all five of his opponents, including Jacob Bookout of Pueblo (Colo.) Central in the final, to win the 171-pound division for West.

Rosendo “Ross” Valdez (125 lbs.), Mike Jaramillo (140) and Conrad Mares (160) also reached the finals, finishing second.

A fifth Dons wrestler, Jayvis Medrano, placed fourth at 145.

The other three WLV competitors were Chris Cavazos, an eight-grader at 103; Amanda De La Garza at 112; and freshman Brandon Chavez at 189.

“If we’d taken the whole team, we probably would have been top two,” said WLV coach Robert Alarcon.

“I thought the whole team did really well.”

Pueblo Central and Dumas (Texas) finished one-two in the team standings. West finished a point and a half behind third-place Trinidad, the tournament host.

Alarcon praised Valdez and Mares for “making big improvements.” Mares recorded three pins and on decision before being pulled from his final due to injury. Valdez lost a close final by a 4-3 score to a wrestler from La Junta, Colo.

“Jayvis was impressive, too,” Alarcon said. “He just had a really tough bracket. Two of the six were defending state champions.”

Alarcon said he has appreciated the help of assistant coach Fabian Montaño, a former Dons state champ. “I’ve learned a lot from him.”

•••

Over the weekend at the Belen Duals, Robertson finished fifth as a team but a penalty point separated the Cardinals from a big win over eventual champion Cibola.

“We had them beat by one point,” recounted RHS coach Richard Martinez, “but we got a penalty point taken away. That tied us, and we lost because of the penalty.”

In the other duals, Robertson defeated Belen’s second unit and a fledgling program from Miyamura and lost 55-27 against Bloomfield.

Several Cardinals — Wally Diaz (140), Troy Estrada (145), Daniel Martinez (152) and Estevan Vigil (171) went 4-0.

“Wally had a good weekend,” Martinez said. “He’s wrestling like Wally can wrestle.”

Jonathan Lucero (125), Miguel Garcia (130) and Matthew Gurule (160) all went 3-1.

Dominic Yara, Mack Salman, Jeremy Valdez and Zach Silva each won a couple of matches; Joseph Dominguez lost his lone bout.

Yara “stepped up” this weekend, Martinez said.

RHS did not field a 215 or a heavyweight in the 10-team event.

•••

Robertson's junior varsity wrestlers battled in the Highland Invitational over the weekend in Albuquerque, with several Cardinals taking home medals.

Toby Apodaca won the 103-pound weight class, continuing a strong season and leading the J.V. efforts.

Carlos Ortiz (125 lbs.) and Coy Dolan (140) also reached their respective finals, finishing second. Also making the medal round were Michael Casados, third at 125; and Michael Varela, third at 152.

Robertson's J.V. is coached by former Cardinals state champion Marcos Martinez.

•••

Next up for both Robertson and West Las Vegas’ varsities is the annual Cardinal Wrestling Classic, which begins at noon Friday at the Mike Marr Gym.

Some two dozen teams are expected to compete in the two-day tourney, the last big one before district.