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Local wrestling teams to grapple with the best at state meet

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Gallup High rebuilds program with four advancing to state

Gallup High wrestling has been down for a few years, but first-year head coach Esco Chavez is trying to build it back to its’ former respected status. The going has been slow, though, as Chavez will admit.

“I had hopes that others (from Gallup High) would get to go to state,” Chavez said. “The individual meet was still pretty fun. It’s a motivational thing as well, a reward for all the hard work these guys put in during the season.”

Only sophomore Brandon James at 106 pounds got the automatic qualification, placing third in Farmington. Senior Kenneth Cheromiah at 126 finished fourth, while senior Miguel Ramirez at 190 and freshman Primitivo Treviso at 113 both finished fifth.         The last three can only hope, and work, that their initial matches will see them come out on top in the double elimination tournament. Of course, there is no guarantee that even the top-seeded will eventually become champion in his weight class

Bears ready to grapple with the best

The Wingate Bears have been working hard all season for the moments they will enjoy Friday and Saturday, Feb. 19-20, at Santa Ana in the State Wrestling meet.

Head coach Lucas Lucio is in his first year at that position, but has been an assistant for two years. He admits that his team is young, and has six girls getting mat-time in the 14 classifications, but the team seemed anxious and excited at the photo session on Feb. 17 for the opportunities all nine face this weekend.

Sophomores Erin Lewis at 106 and Jordan Ashley at 152 were the only two with automatic Qs for the Bears, both coming in third at district. Drawing Wild Cards were: junior Anfenee Mingo at 113; sophomore Desiree Bryant at 120; senior J.J. Long at 138; senior Chris Beyal at 145; Junior Julius Billie at 160; sophomore Stephanie Peterson at 182; and senior Enery Begay at 285.

Their district opponents all consist of tough Northwestern NM schools, led by Bloomfield and Kirtland, but also including Shiprock and Newcomb.

Patriots Q 12 Wrestlers for state meet

The Miyamura Patriots made a great showing in Farmington last weekend and qualified 12 wrestlers for the two-day state meet starting Feb. 19 at the Santa Ana Center. In the process, the team also captured two district titles, A.J. Starkovich at 152 pounds and Gabe Duckett at 170 pounds.

The top three wrestlers at district in each weight class automatically qualify for state, but Wild Cards are also selected based on their winning percentage during the regular season. That particular wrinkle in district enabled Drake Guerrero a trip to state with his older teammates. Guerrero is an eighth-grader at 106.

The other nine all finished third in their weights: Benny Baca at 113; Clayton Tom at 126; Max Aycock at 132; Jeremiah Salaz at 145; Dylan Chavez at 160; Cordell Brown at 182; Max Aguayo at 195; Joshua Ashley at 220; and Nicholas Ashley at 285.

“The boys are excited about going,” said head coach Ken Starkovich. “This may be the largest team Miyamura has ever taken to state. It is for me, but you might have to check with Marvin (Gray, the previous coach) to make sure. This group covers 12 of the 14 classes so hopefully we will do well.”

The entire team of wrestlers showed their support for those stepping up to the next level by coming out for practice on Tuesday, Feb. 16. (Monday was a holiday.)

By Tom Hartsock

Sun Correspondent