A best-ever finish for Santa Fe High at the annual Joe Vivian wrestling invitational held on the mats at Albuquerque Volcano Vista over the weekend
Demons place third as seven of their nine grapplers place
By ARNIE LESHIN
Stephen Burns couldn’t have been more explicit about his wrestling team. “Santa Fe High finished third as a team. Best finish by ANY Santa Fe High team EVER!” Spoken like a head coach after his Demons, quietly climbing up the ladder of 6A wrestling, placed third in the weekend’s annual Joe Vivian Invitational on the mats at Albuquerque Volcano Vista.
This is a meet in which many of the state’s top teams are entered. So it was remarkable that Santa Fe High had seven of its nine grapplers place. There was one winner for the Demons, that being junior Isaiah Martinez in the 152 weight where he emerged with a 4-3 decision over Richard Gallegos of Albuquerque Eldorado. There were also a pair of runner-ups. In the 120, freshman Isaac Beltran lost in the final in a major decision 8-0 awarded to Mark Gonzales of Albuquerque Sandia. Then there was Adam Pena losing at 11-6 in the final to Marcos Santillanes of Volcano Vista at 113 pounds.
A third place went to Santa Fe High sophomore Sammy Martinez in the 132 weight. He lost in the quarterfinals, but won in the consolation semis and went from there to take third over Manual Robles of Volcano Vista by a SV 1-3-1 score.
Those that finished fourth for the Demons were senior Ivan Marquez, senior Alex Abeyta and junior Zach Jacquez, the team’s tri-captains.
Marquez lost for third at 126 to Santiago Marquez of Albuquerque West Mesa. Same family name, but still a clash on the mats. Jacquez dropped his 170 third place match via a 4-3 decision to Lano Luna of Belen. Abeyta lost at the 138 weight by an 8-3 decision to Isaac Garcia of Albuquerque Manzano.
Burns hasn’t been head coach at Santa Fe High for too long. He came here from Denver, first serving as an assistant coach for the Demons, and that wasn’t too long ago either. He has linked his experience of coaching the sport in Colorado to Santa Fe High. Each summer, he takes a group of his wrestlers to tournaments in Colorado. It’s a great experience, something new for the program, and it includes activities like white water rafting.
Now Burns has the program improving each time out against tough competition, especially in 6A, where SFHS was aligned to in 2014. He also holds off-season instructions in the Toby Roybal Memorial gymnasium, and he’s been getting more turnouts each year.