State championship wrestling takes to the mats Friday and Saturday at Rio Rancho Santa Ana Star Center, with Santa Fe High, Capital, St. Michael’s qualifying a total of 26 grapplers. Something new has been added by the NMAA, with the GIRLS 2-day exhibition tournament comprised of 115 entries and representing 38 schools now included
By Arnie Leshin
They will be rolling on the mats and they will be cheering from their seats when the state wrestling championships take the floor Friday and Saturday at the Rio Rancho Santa Ana Star Center.
One new addition, for the New Mexico Activities Association will be hosting its initial girl’s tournament. Same place, same days. This will be the first exhibition staged for the girls, and it will run in conjunction with the annual state meet.
According to weight assessment data, there are currently 115 girls participating. There are eight weight classes — 101, 106, 111, 121, 131, 142, 160, 185 — with eight girls per weight participating in the combined classification exhibition tournament. A total of 38 high schools will be represented.
The first round of the girl’s event will get underway at approximately 12:30 Friday afternoon, with the finals to take place on Saturday afternoon at approximately 1 o’clock. A complete schedule of the girls exhibition tournament and the boys championships can be found on the wrestling page of the NMAA website at www.nmact.org.
Girl’s wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports nationwide and so the NMAA has decided to include it and see if it will increase female interest and participation in New Mexico.
Here, you can go through the Santa Fe schools, Santa Fe High, Capital and St. Michael’s and check out their state qualifiers.
The 6A Demons have qualified an even dozen and returns junior Sammy Martinez, last year’s state 132-pound championship. Santa Fe High, under the guidance of head coach Stephen Burns, finished seventh in the field of 22 schools with 119 points. One of three Martinez’ on the team, he will grapple at 145 this time. The others are senior Isaiah Martinez, the 170 district champion, and freshman Izaak Martinez who finished second in the 106 district final.
Capital had four district winners in 5A, and in 4A, St. Michael’s had two. Santa Fe High also had three others who won district.
Capital, in 5A, has qualified eight and comes off its best-ever finish of second place last year when it scored 172.5 among 22 schools. Returning in quest of another state title is senior Ryan Romero who will switch from 113 to 120, and sophomore Jasper Mares, who took the top spot at 120, but is now at the 126 weight.
St. Michael’s did not have a state champion last season, but return seniors Dominic Smith (138) and Sam Baca (152), with both having third place finishes last year. Both won district titles. The Horsemen placed sixth in a field of 17 schools last year with 65 points.