Horsemen sophomore Jaden Mifsud finishes among the top eight at 170 pounds, with St. Michael’s competing next at Taos High in a Wednesday afternoon dual meet
By Arnie Leshin
As usual, the annual Joe Vivian Wrestling Classic offered top-notch competition, with 32 schools taking to the mats at Albuquerque Cibola High this past weekend.
But St. Michael’s senior Dominic Smith held his own, making it to the podium with a fifth-place finish in the 138 weight. With this, he brought his record to 21-3 that includes 17 falls. In the bout for fifth place, Smith overcame Cibola’s Ernesto Gamboa (and the Cibola fans) with a 7-4 overtime win. A near fall in the third overtime made the difference.
It was the second year that Smith placed at this prestigious meet. In his first three matches this time, he came away with all falls. In the championship semifinals against Belen senior and four-time state 5A medalist, Danny Evens, Evans scored early on a slick five move and took the lead in the first period, Smith did rally, but came up short in an 8-4 setback.
Smith then lost his wrestle-back semis in a down-to-the-wire two-point decision versus Albuquerque High senior Javier Pavia, a returning state 6A medalist. The bout ended with Smith a heartbeat from sending it into overtime with a near takedown in the final stages.
Horsemen sophomore Jaden Mifsud continued his impressive early-season start by coming away one win short of making it to the podium, but did earn top-eight honors at 170 pounds. He pinned his first two opponents on Friday before coming up short in Saturday morning’s quarterfinals.
After scoring with his third fall, this one over Joseph Lujan of Cibola to gain the top eight, he dropped his final match to Capital High senior Lucas McNatt, who placed in last year’s 5A at states, and is also the state high jump champion. Mifsud is now 11-4 with 10 falls.
St. Michael’s next match is Wednesday afternoon in a 3 o’clock district dual meet at Taos High. Saturday, the Horsemen compete at the Belen Duals that start at 9 a.m.