Martinez is five-time champ

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Silver nips Robertson for team title; Cards, Dons, Panthers each have individual winners in state wrestling tournament

By Dave Kavanaugh

The short version of this past weekend’s state wrestling tournament in Rio Rancho: Daniel Martinez captured title No. 5; Robertson fell just a win short of a team championship; the Cardinals won two individual titles (Martinez’s 160-pound medal and eighth-grader Rico Montoya’s at 103); and West Las Vegas earned one (heavyweight Brandon Chavez’s in the very last match of the tourney).

Martinez, an RHS senior, finished an undefeated senior season (37-0) and in winning his fifth individual state championship became only the third New Mexico high school wrestler ever to win that many.

He joins Michael Scott Owen (Carlsbad, 1994-98) and Max Ortega (Rio Rancho, 2005-09) in that elite club.

Martinez won his first title as an eighth-grader. So too did Montoya on Saturday, pinning Manny Merino of Silver in the first period to give the Cardinals their only other individual championship.

Robertson placed six other wrestlers — Charlie Armijo, Jeremy Valdez, Johnathan Lucero, Troy Estrada, Gabe Lovato, Sam Marquez — in the finals but lost those matches. That enabled Silver to hold on for a razor-thin team victory decided by a point and a half.

West Las Vegas had two grapplers reach the finals. Jayvis Medrano lost in overtime on a takedown by Noah Villalba of Silver after leading much of the match. Heavyweight Chavez was losing 8-0 with a minute left in his match with Robertson’s Marquez when he exploited a mistake and rolled the Cardinal big man onto his back. Marquez fought in vain to recover, but Chavez scored the pin to secure the title for the Dons.

A breakdown — by weight class —of how area grappplers fared in this past weekend’s state high school wrestling tournament held at the Santa Ana Star Center:

103) Rico Montoya, Robertson eighth-grader, won his first state championship with a win over Manny Merino of Silver. Remarkably, Montoya did it with three straight first-period pins, continuing a run of quick victories he began in the district tournament one week earlier.

Iin the first round Montoya pinned Jaime Rodriguez, Cobre, in 35 seconds. He then pinned Joseph Otero, Tucumcari, in 1:59. He stuck Merino just 53 seconds into their championship clash.

Leroy Salazar, West Las Vegas freshman, placed third. Salazar opened by pinning Ty Marshall of Ruidoso in 5:52. He lost a major decision to Merino in the semifinals, but scored a 7-3 decision over Clayton Montoya, St. Mike's, then took a 14-6 major decision against Otero in the third-place match.

112) Dominic Lucero, Robertson eighth-grader, finished fourth.

He began with a 5-2 win over Trenton Ward of Tucumcari, a forfeit against Eric Williams of Shiprock and a semifinal defeat to Jose Ocampo, St. Mike's, by a 6-1 score. He beat James Lopez of Pecos 4-2 before getting pinned in 1:38 by Daniel Solis of Cobre in the third-place match.

Brandon Maddux, WLV freshman, and Lopez, a junior from Pecos, both finished one match shy of a top-four placing. Maddux began with a pin of Matthew Storey, Ruidoso, in 2:08. He lost 16-2 in the semifinals to Silver senior Ryan McCauley, then 12-4 to Solis.

Lopez lost his opening match to McCauley by a 6-1 verdict. In the consolation bracket, he beat Ward 6-1 and pinned Storey in 3:01 before losing to Lucero.

119) Charlie Armijo, Robertson senior, took second place after a 4-2 loss to St. Mike's Adrian Montoya.

Armijo pinned Ruidoso's Cheyanne Lanik in 26 seconds, then stuck Timmy Skinner of Tucumcari in 5:17. He won 5-2 against Silver's Zeke Villalba in the semis, setting up the final vs. Montoya.

Matthew Torres, Pecos sophomore, took fourth. Torres pinned Jose Archuleta, Taos, in 3:04, losing to Montoya in the semifinals via 14-3 major decision. He regrouped for a 9-4 win over Cody Allan of Shiprock, but he got pinned by Villalba 40 seconds into their match for third place.

125) James Gonzales, Robertson freshman, captured third place.

Gonzales started with a pin of Angel Sanchez, Foothills Academy, in 2:33. He pinned Raygen Charley of Shiprock in 5:47 and then lost via pin to Daniel McCauley of Silver at the 4:55 mark of their semifinal encounter. Gonzales took a 9-3 score against Chris Lujan of West Las Vegas in the third-place match.

Lujan, a Dons eighth-grader, came away with fourth place. He lost to McCauley via pin in 3:57. In the consolation bracket, he pinned Ruidoso's Robert Frizzell in 2:35, then stuck Charley in 4:24. Lujan eliminated Darius Gonzales of Pecos 7-3 before losing the third-place match.

Darius Gonzales, a Pecos junior, bounced Taos' Lorenzo Gurule in a 12-1 major decision. He defeated Anthony Bernal of St. Mike's 3-1 but lost 4-2 to Brent Horsley of Cobre. He then fell to Lujan.

130) Dominic Yara, Robertson junior, opened with a forfeit win over Pecos' Brandon Velasquez, then lost a major decision 13-3 to Taos' Matt Silva. He then dropped a 5-4 nailbiter to Silver's Frankie Carrasco, who went on to take third.

Velasquez, a Pecos junior, had beaten Carrasco 6-5 in their opening-round match. But he had to pull out of the tourney, forfeiting to Yara and then to Tucumcari's Jeffery Cordova.

135) Jeremy Valdez, Robertson, is a state runner-up after he lost 6-3 in the third overtime to Koery Windham of St. Mike's.

Valdez pinned West Las Vegas' William Lopez in an all-Meadow City opener. He then shut out Silver's William Mathieu 12-0 for a semifinal major decision, setting up a final against Windham. Their match was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and stayed that way until the third OT period, when the Horseman got a three-point near fall just before Valdez managed a reversal.

Lopez, a WLV frosh, lost to Valdez, then came up on the short end of a 5-4 squeaker against Angel Guerrero of Cobre.

140) Johnathan Lucero, Robertson senior, lost via pinfall in 1:50 in an all-area final vs. Pecos senior John Torrez.

Lucero opened with a 4-0 shutout of Tucumcari's Victor Pacheco, then pinned Issac Romero, Foothills, in 1:04. He then won a tough 4-2 decision over Clemente Narvaiz of Bataan Military in the semis to reach the final.

Torrez pinned Carlos Vega, Silver, in 5:54, then took a forfeit over Alex Crespin of West Las Vegas. He then beat Dominic Sanchez of St. Mike's 5-0 in the semifinals.

Crespin, a Dons eighth-grader, forfeited to Torrez and then to Pacheco.

145) Troy Estrada, Robertson senior, took second after falling 4-0 vs. Cobre's Oliver Perrault for the championship.

Estrada began the tourney with a pin in 3:13 of Silver's Guillermo Placencio. He knocked off Ruidoso's Armando Baca 11-4 in the semifinals.

Frankie Gonzales, WLV sophomore, lost by pin to Baca in 3:19. He beat Harlan Ross, Shiprock, in a 7-0 shutout before getting pinned by Placencio in 2:23.

152) Michael Pierce, Robertson junior, was pinned by eventual finalist Oscar Magana of Ruidoso in 3:43. He then got stuck by Tucumcari's Augustine Sandoval in 4:50.

160) Daniel Martinez, Robertson senior, became only the third five-time state champion in New Mexico prep wrestling history with a second-period fall (2:31) over Luke Sanchez, a St. Mike's freshman.

Martinez went up 5-0 with a takedown and near-fall and led 7-1 entering the second period. He rolled Sanchez after grabbing his head and a leg for a cradle.

Earlier, Martinez pinned Raul Ortega, Foothills, in 2:43, then did the same to West Las Vegas' Salvador Lopez in 36 seconds. He silenced Silver's Francisco Perez 6-0 in the semis.

Lopez followed his loss to Martinez with a pinfall defeat to Pecos' Cipriano Rodelas.
Rodelas was pinned by Tucumcari's Estevan Martinez in 3:22, but pinned Chance Irons of Ruidoso in 2:51 and then stuck Lopez. Rodelas in turn was pinned by Cobre's Nick Delgado to end his run.

171) Jayvis Medrano, West Las Vegas' senior team captain, lost a 7-5 overtime heartbreaker vs. Noah Villalba of Silver.

Medrano began with a narrow 6-4 win over district rival Andrew Maes of Taos. He took a 7-1 verdict against another district foe, Patrick Wiegle of Tucumcari in the semis.
John Pino, Robertson senior, placed third. He beat Thomas Wallace of Wingate 11-4, then lost 4-1 to Villalba in one semifinal. Pino edged Maes 3-2, then pinned Cobre's Andy Gomez in 2:28 to wrap up third.

189) Mathew Gurule, Robertson senior, lost to old rival Dakota Swinehart of Taos via a 19-3 technical fall to begin the tourney. Gurule pinned Tucumcari's Noah Garcia in 46 seconds, but was eliminated in an 8-4 decision against Newcomb's Travis Allen.

Juan Riboni, Pecos freshman, lost to Allen in a 1:04 fall, then to Lawrence Grivalva, Cobre, 2:49.

215) Gabe Lovato, Robertson senior, fell 3-1 in the final against Michael Lamb of St. Mike's. Lovato started by pinning Mateo Trujillo, Taos, in 1:58. He then won a semifinal by pinning Dakota Bencomo of Silver in 4:56.

George Contreras, West Las Vegas senior, was pinned by Landon Yazzie of Newcomb in 1:18. He pinned Trujillo in 1:38, but lost via injury default to Ruidoso's Tanner DeSoto.

285) WLV’s Brandon Chavez erased an 8-0 deficit with a pin of Sam Marquez of Robertson in 5:45. It was a rematch of their District 2 title match waged one week earlier — a battle won by Marquez.

Chavez, a WLV junior, pinned Mikeal Montoya, Ruidoso, in 1:59 in his first contest. He then pinned Andres Blea, St. Mike's, in 3:45 to set up the final.

Marquez, an RHS junior, opened with a pin of Ramon Marmol of Taos in 2:59. He pinned Chris Chavez, Foothills, in 4:15 to make the final.

1.  Silver, 216.5 team points
2.  Robertson, 215
3.  St. Michael's, 186
4.  Cobre, 123
5.  West Las Vegas, 77
6.  Tucumcari, 66
7.  Pecos, 53
8.  Taos, 51.5
9.  Ruidoso, 40
10. Newcomb, 23
11. Wingate, 23
12. Foothills, 15
13. Shiprock, 7
14. Bataan, 5