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Belen wins team title at wrestling tourney

Volcano Vista's Richard Govea, left, turns around Valencia's Albert Sanchez in the 160 weight class at the Joe Vivian Classic wrestling tournament Saturday evening at Albuquerque High. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Volcano Vista’s Richard Govea, left, turns around Valencia’s Albert Sanchez in the 160 weight class at the Joe Vivian Classic wrestling tournament Saturday evening at Albuquerque High. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

It was a spread-the-wealth kind of weekend at the Joe Vivian Classic.

While Belen won the tournament, toppling the likes of Manzano and Volcano Vista, 10 schools had at least one individual champion in Saturday night’s finals at Albuquerque High.

The Eagles (214 points) had the team title wrapped up even before the finals began. Senior Nathaniel Martinez at 182 pounds was Belen’s lone bracket winner.

Manzano also had one winner, Isidro Garcia at 120, and finished with 182 points.

Volcano Vista (179.5) was third, but the Hawks led everyone with three individual champions.

Belen’s Martinez decisioned Rio Grande’s Isaac Lopez 4-2 in the championship match at 182, the second time this season the undefeated Martinez (23-0) has beaten Lopez, who is a two-time state champion for the Ravens. Martinez also won head-to-head at last month’s Las Cruces tournament.

Martinez, a senior, has been wrestling only three years, making him a relative newcomer to the sport.

“I can’t even explain it to you,” he said after the victory. “To take something this big is incredible.”

The Eagles had three in the finals, all in the heavier weights. Belen lost at 220 pounds and at heavyweight.

The Monarchs’ Garcia was one of three related Garcias wrestling in the finals. His brother, Isaac J. Garcia, lost at 126 pounds. His cousin, Isaac A. Garcia, was the runner-up at 113.

Manzano continues to show itself as the city’s top program; it also won the Albuquerque Public Schools Invite last month.

“It means a lot, but the goal is not to win the Vivian, the goal is to win state,” Isidro Garcia said. The sophomore improved to 23-0 this season.

David Lopez of Volcano Vista closed out the 145-pound division, decisioning Emilio Marquez of Las Cruces 3-1. Lopez, the top seed, is 25-0 this season.

“After a while, I learned his weaknesses, and I used those against him,” Lopez said. “And I started breaking him down.”

His training partner at Volcano Vista, Richard Govea, demolished Valencia’s Albert Sanchez at 160 pounds. Govea, named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler at the middle weights, won by technical fall, 16-1.

Marcus Santillanes, who also is undefeated, was the third Hawk to win a title, decisioning Sandia’s Mark Gonzales 5-4 at 106 pounds.

In a matchup of state champions, La Cueva’s Kyle Snelling was arguably the most dominant wrestler of the night, pinning Belen’s Gunner Robinson in 86 seconds in the 170-pound division.

“He’s a great competitor. I’m glad I got to see him,” said Snelling, named the outstanding wrestler at the heavier weights. He is 21-1, his only loss coming to a Colorado athlete in the season-opening tournament at Rio Rancho. “I just had to go out there and look for my offense, and whatever happens, happens.”

The longest match, the best match, and the most entertaining match Saturday night were all rolled into one — the crowd-pleasing, 195-pound final between St. Michael’s Xavier Vigil and Manzano’s Carver Dumas.

Vigil finally prevailed, 8-7, when he escaped from Dumas’ grasp six seconds into the fourth overtime.

Other metro-area champions were Clayton Arellano of Rio Grande, who ground out a 7-5 decision over Miyamura’s A.J. Starkovich at 152, and Valencia heavyweight Isacc Lewis, who outlasted Matthew Burguena of Belen 3-1.

Capital and Carlsbad both had two individual champions. The Jaguars’ unbeaten Jose Tapia, a past state champion who won by technical fall at 126, was chosen as the outstanding wrestler at the lower weights.

Eight No. 1 seeds among the 14 won their divisions Saturday.

The Albuquerque Metro Championships are Jan. 30 at Atrisco Heritage Academy. Rio Rancho, Cleveland and St. Pius will join the 13 teams from APS. The Rams and Storm skipped the Vivian this weekend.

The state tournament is Feb. 19-20 at the Santa Ana Star Center.

Joe Vivian Classic

Saturday — At Albuqurque High


1, Belen 214; 2, Manzano 182; 3, Volcano Vista 179.5; 4, Las Cruces 151; 5, Cobre 143; 6, Rio Grande 141.5; 7, Capital 135; 8, La Cueva 134; 9, Santa Fe 131; 10, Carlsbad 123; 11, Robertson 98; 12, Los Lunas 94; 13, West Mesa 90.5; 14, Atrisco Heritage 86; 15, Valencia 85; 16, Bloomfield 75.5; 17, St. Michael’s 75; 18, Sandia 74; 19, Eldorado 70; 20, Cibola 66; 21, Centennial 62; 22, Moriarty 60; 23, AHS 52; 24, Miyamura 51; 25, Farmington 37; 26, Hobbs 27; 27, St. Pius 24; 28, Del Norte 23; 29, Oñate 16; 30, Mayfield 15; 31, Valley 9; 32, Highland 7.

Individual Finals

106: No. 1 Marcus Santillanes, Volcano Vista, (jr.; 26-0), dec. No. 2 Mark Gonzales, Sandia (jr. 20-3), 5-4.   113: Unseeded Lucas Romero, Capital, (sr.; 15-2), dec. No. 6 Isaac A. Garcia, Manzano (soph.; 21-2), 6-3.   120: No. 2 Isidro Garcia, Manzano (soph.; 23-0), dec. No. 1 Eric Morales, Cobre (sr.; 23-3), 9-3.  126: No. 1 Jose Tapia, Capital (jr.; 19-0), tech. fall No. 3 Isaac J.  Garcia, Manzano (jr.; 21-1), 16-0.  132: No. 1 Robert Rodriguez, Cobre (sr.; 27-1), p. No. 2 Dylan Udero, Las Cruces (sr.; 23-2), 4:17.  138: No. 2 Justin Wood, Carlsbad (8th; 21-6), dec. No. 1 Brandon Baeza, Las Cruces (soph.; 22-1), 3-2.  145: No. 5 David Lopez, Volcano Vista (sr.; 25-0), dec. Emilio Marquez, Las Cruces (soph.; 29-4), 3-1.   152: No. 1 Clayton Arellano, Rio Grande (sr.; 20-1), dec. No. 2 A.J. Starkovich, Miyamura (sr.; 25-1), 7-5.  160: No. 1 Richard Govea, Volcano Vista (jr.; 21-2), tech. fall No. 2 Albert Sanchez, Valencia (sr.; 16-1), 16-1.  170: No. 1 Kyle Snelling, La Cueva (sr.; 21-1), p. No. 2 Gunner Robinson, Belen (sr.; 16-2), 1:26.   182: No. 1 Nathaniel Martinez, Belen (sr.; 23-0), dec. No. 2 Isaac Lopez, Rio Grande (sr.; 22-2), 4-2.  195: No. 1 Xavier Vigil, St. Michaels (jr.; 8-0), dec. No. 2 Carver Dumas, Manzano (sr.; 19-1), 8-7, four OT.  220: No. 3 Adrian Flaco, Carlsbad (24-3), dec. No. 1 Estevan Chavez, Belen (jr.; 19-3), 7-3.  HVWT: No. 2 Isacc Lewis, Valencia (sr.; 17-1), dec. No. 1 Matthew Burguena, Belen (sr.; 18-4), 3-1.

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