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Rio Grande rules at APS Wrestling Invite

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This win revealed as much about Rio Grande wrestling as a sneak preview does about a full-length movie.

It told us some, but not everything.

“(We) wrestled well,” Ravens coach Loren Vigil said, “but we’re definitely not at our peak.”

Rio Grande, as expected, rolled to the championship Saturday afternoon at the Albuquerque Public Schools Invitational at La Cueva.

The Ravens had three individual champions and scored 194 points – 42½ more than Manzano and Atrisco Heritage, who tied for second.

Clay Arellano was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament in the middle weights. The Ravens’ sophomore took the 138-pound title, pinning Del Norte’s Anthony Sanchez in 5:05.

“Right now,” Arellano said,”we’re still getting our lineup put together. But we’ve been working hard and getting more in shape every day.”

Brandon Bernal at 106 and Logan Wolfel at 170 also earned titles for Rio Grande, one of last season’s co-state champions in Class 5A.

Volcano Vista also had three champions. Manzano, La Cueva and Atrisco Heritage had two apiece.

The host Bears, who have fallen off the scene in recent years, produced a pair of winners Saturday in Jeff Sotomayor (who slipped past West Mesa’s Marcos Gonzales 4-3) at 132 and Kyle Snelling at 152.

Snelling, a sophomore, blanked Rio Grande’s Loren Vigil 9-0.

“We’ve got a lot of really good young guys on this team,” Snelling said. “So I think we’ll be strong in the next couple of years.”

Volcano Vista (143) and Eldorado (132) rounded out the top five. Eagles standout Logan Gonzales, the 120-pound champion, pinned Rio Grande’s Bobby Hernandez in 60 seconds, and Gonzales was named the outstanding wrestler at the lower weights.

The Hawks’ Angelo Calderon (113) and Nate Sierra (182) won their divisions, as did Mike Budick at 220 with a quick pin.

Manzano’s Anthony Gallegos (126) was later joined by Christopher Collins at 195. Collins was involved in perhaps the day’s best match, a 4-2 overtime victory over Rio Grande’s Leo Maestas at 195 pounds. This was certainly a potential February state championship match preview.

“He was really good,” Collins said of Maestas. “I just never gave up and kept fighting.”

The top individual at the heavier weights was Atrisco Heritage junior James Romero.

Spotting 40-plus pounds to Sandia’s bulkier Jeremiah Thompson in the heavyweight division, Romero – a state runner-up last season – pinned Thompson in 25 seconds.

“I had to wrestle with my speed today,” Romero said. “He’s a strong guy.”

Nate Corrigan of Atrisco captured the 160-pound division easily over Valley’s Jesse Stark.

“We’re gonna be very competitive,” Corrigan said of the Jaguars. “We’re looking very strong, and we look like we could be one of the top dogs this year.”

The 14th champion Saturday was Albuquerque High’s Angel Rivas at 145 pounds. Only half of the divisions were won by No. 1 seeds.

The next priority team event is the Joe Vivian Classic next month. “The Vivian,” Ravens coach Vigil said, “will give us another gauge.”

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