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Martinez, Diaz, Armijo lead locals in Joe Vivian tourney

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By Dave Kavanaugh

A runner-up finish by Robertson’s Daniel Martinez and third-place outcomes for Wally Diaz of RHS and John Armijo of West Las Vegas were local highlights at this past weekend’s Joe Vivian Classic in Albuquerque.

Defending Class 5A champion Rio Rancho — a squad featuring a couple of former Las Vegans — ran away with the team championship, racking up 249 points to Class 4A champ Belen’s 153.5.

Robertson was seventh with 93.5, trailing Rio Rancho, Belen, Rio Grande, Los Lunas, Cibola and Las Cruces and finishing ahead of 27 other schools. West Las Vegas placed 30th of 34.

“We’re not where we want to be yet,” said RHS coach Richard Martinez, “but we did well. We had a lot of tough matches.”

West coach Robert Alarcon served up his assessment: “We did all right. Not as good as I wanted to. But we did better than a few; there were a lot of people leaving before us ... We look to build from this.”

In its ninth year, the Joe Vivian is considered a veritable state tournament for all classifications and one of the largest tourneys of the regular season. West Mesa High hosted this year’s version.

Cardinal 152-pounder Daniel Martinez was the lone Las Vegan to reach the finals. He knocked off C.J. Unangst of Oñate, Anthony Jaramillo of Moriarty, Chris Bentacu of Rio Grande and Chris Lara of Carlsbad to reach the championship match. But Volcano Vista’s Matthew Sandoval beat him for the title.

The 140-pound Diaz, who like Martinez owns multiple state titles, also went 4-1. He beat Elias Vallez of Las Cruces and Dion Medina of Del Norte before falling to Tyler Hartom of St. Pius X. Diaz recovered and defeated Juan Moreno of Carlsbad and then took down Pat Encinias of Los Lunas in the third-place match.

WLV’s John Armijo took third at 171. His path to the medal included key wins over district rivals Estevan Vigil of RHS and Jake Winter of St. Michael’s and ran his overall record to 21-2.

Among the other top local finishers were Robertson’s Joseph Dominguez (135) and David Rael (119), both of whom wound up in fifth place.

Cardinals Dmitri Almanzar, Miguel Garcia, Estevan Vigil, Troy Estrada and Zach Silva won multiple matches, as did Dons Mike Jaramillo, Jayvis Medrano and Conrad Mares.

Both schools wrestled without full teams, and RHS ended up four weight classes short after Almanzar was pulled early due to injury. Jaramillo was doing well, Alarcon said, before banging up his knee.

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Robertson’s junior varsity, coached by Marcos Martinez, placed sixth of 12 teams in a Shiprock tournament. Jeremy Valdez finished second at 119 pounds; Toby Apodaca (103) was fourth.