Rico a 3-time champ

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Cardinal wrestlers Montoya, Yara reach Joe Vivian Classic finals

By Dave Kavanaugh

ALBUQUERQUE — Racking up near-fall points about as quickly as the match referee could count them off, Robertson’s Rico Montoya cruised to an 18-3 win over Carlos Sandoval of Albuquerque’s Manzano High in the 132-pound championship of the 2014 Joe Vivian Wrestling Classic on Saturday night at Cibola High School.

Montoya led the match 14-0 before yielding points to Sandoval.

The RHS junior went 5-0 in the 132-pound division, securing an early stoppage and wrapping up his third Joe Vivian title in as many seasons.

Later in the evening, Kenneth Yara earned a runner-up finish after losing to Volcano Vista’s Mike Budick in the 220-pound final. Yara finished 3-1 in the bracket.

The championship round appearances by Montoya and Yara led Robertson to a ninth-place team finish in the tournament, considered the premier high school wrestling event in New Mexico. With 95 team points, the Cardinals finished a half-point behind Class 5A Atrisco Heritage and two points behind Cobre, one of the state favorites in 3A.

Robertson fielded wrestlers in just 10 weight classes, with the remainder of the team competing in Pecos’ tournament.

RHS was as high as seventh in the standings going into the finals.

The Cardinals got strong showings from Jose Estrada (4-2 at 170) and Dominic Lucero (3-2 at 152). Johnathan Trujillo, Joseph Paul Griego, J.R. Gonzalez, Diego Trujillo, Malachi Segura and Josh Romero all won at least one match in the two-day tournament, which brought top programs from all classifications to the Cibola campus.

Class 5A wrestling juggernaut Rio Rancho won three weight classes and finished second in two others, piling up 177 team points to take the team championship. Rio Grande, which had six grapplers reach the final four, was second with 167.5 points. Manzano, Volcano Vista and Capital rounded out the top five. The much-improved Jaguars had three individual champions, joining Rio Rancho with that distinction.

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Six West Las Vegas wrestlers — including individual champ Fabian Lujan — finished among the final four in their weight classes on Saturday at the Pecos Invitational.

In addition to Lujan’s title in the heavyweight division, Fernando Lopez (160 lbs.) and Zack Lujan (220) also finished the tourney with victories; both won their third-place matches.

Francisco Duran (120), Julio Vigil (220) and Thomas Salinas (170) all took fourth place for West.

Head coach Joel Luna will take his Dons to compete in this coming weekend’s Trinidad tournament.

Robertson also will wrestle in that tourney.