Local teams struggle at ‘District Duals Round Robin’


As confusing as the terminology in wrestling are the end-of-season meets. The District Duals Round Robin at Gallup High on Feb. 6 only decided the best team of the five in 1-5A, which is Piedra Vista.

The use of the word “Duals” is a little misleading as each of the five competed against the other four in the daylong process. The meet on Feb. 13 in Farmington will decide which individuals will go on to the state tournament the following weekend.

But it was fun to watch these young warriors of all sizes in one-on-one contact with others of the same build as they maneuvered, grasped, grunted and grappled for the best position possible, trying to avoid the takedown, or at worst, the pin.

Neither team from Gallup fared well against the district opponents from up north, where the sport is as popular as basketball is on the reservation. Aztec, Piedra Vista and Farmington always have numbers of grapplers in the state meet and compete on the mats as well as almost any other school in the state.

Gallup and Miyamura not so much, though it is not because the Bengal and Patriot athletes do not give it their all. Wrestling is much more complicated than the WWE would have everyone believe.

Gallup is rebuilding their program under the tutelage of coach Esco Chavez, who had five individuals absent from the Feb. 6 meet due to illness. The team seemed to be re-starting well as about 40 prospective athletes showed up for the initial meeting, but almost half did not have the standard medical form necessary, thinking they did not need it for this sport.

The numbers dwindled more as the competition grew even fiercer at each weight class as the season began to take a toll with reality.

Those still in competition at this latest meet were Brandon James (106), Primitivo Treviizo (113), Kenneth Cheromiah (120), James Hood (126), Blake Wallace (132), Young Plummer (145), John Gutierrez (160), and Miguel Ramirez (195). Those athletes down with colds, flu, or other ailments were Logan Barber (106), Laurence Thomas (120), Bryant Thomas (152), Dade Lincoln (220) and Sydney Martinez (285).

Season records of each individual were not available.

“Our goal for this year is to build the team, get more experience, and hope to get a few qualified for state,” Chavez stated.

The outlook at Miyamura is optimistic as well, though, they were missing wrestlers in two weights during the latest meet.

“We only lost to Farmington by three points,” said Coach Ken Starkovich. “Those two weights being vacant probably cost us that match.”

Most of the Patriot wrestlers do have winning records for the season, led by A.J. Starkovich at 152 pounds with a 37-1 mark. His only loss came to a 6A state placer from last year. Jeremiah Salaz (145) is 30-8 this season, and Gabe Duckett is 24-11 at 170. Both Starkovich and Duckett were 4-0 at the last meet.

At the other weights, starting with the lightest, are Dylan Chavez (106/21-18), Drake Guerrero (106/21-13), Benny Baca (113), Koby Baca (120), Clayton Tom (126/22-10), Aaron Baldonado (126), Max Aycock (132/22-12), John Alatorre (138), Cordell Brown (182), Max Aguayo (195)m Josh Ashley (220/19-11) and Nick Ashley (285/8-6)

Now it’s on to see who will qualify for the state meet. Good luck to all the students from the two Gallup public schools and also to Wingate grapplers, who will also be competing in their 4A district qualifier.