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Capital, Santa Fe High, St. Michael’s prepare for Saturday’s respective district championships, with the state tournament the following weekend

The Jaguars take to the mats at 2-5A at Espanola Valley, the Demons in 2-6A at Albuquerque La Cueva, the now healthy Horsemen at 2/5-4A in Tucumcari

By Arnie Leshin 
Arnie Leshin

Saturday will be early rising for the wrestling teams of Capital, Santa Fe High and St. Michael’s as they compete in their respective district championships, with some counting on this to qualify for the state

At 8 a.m., the District 2-5A grapplers include Capital High, Los Alamos, Albuquerque Del Norte, Albuquerque Academy and Espanola Valley at the Sundeviils. The Jaguars are favored to take most of the titles here.

At 9 a.m., they will hold the 2-/5-4A district at Tucumcari, with St. Michael’s, Pojoaque Valley, Taos, West Las Vegas and Las Vegas Robertson in the field. The Cardinals are favored in this one.

Then at 10 a.m., Santa Fe High will be competing in District 2-6A to be wrestled in Albuquerque at La Cueva. Also in the field are Albuquerque schools Manzano, Eldorado, Sandia, La Cueva, and Clovis. The Demons hope for a good showing here.

St. Michael’s comes off a dual meet against Bernalillo and Robertson in Las Vegas, falling to the Cards and turning back the Spartans.

Highlights for the Horsemen came from junior Alex Salazar, 8th grader Daymon Lujan, and senior Dominic Smith.

Competing at the 138 weight, Smith reeled in his 30th win of the season to improve on his 29 scored last season. Salazar, at 113, came up with his first fall of the campaign, and at 120 pounds, it was young Lujan completing the victorious trio.

Smith and fellow senior Sam Baca (152) were the only returning St. Michael’s medalist at state last year (graduated Julian Britten won the 220-pound title). Baca, a four-time state qualifier, now has 29 wins for this season. Both he and Smith finished third in their weight.

Sophomore Karim Perez added a triumph at 195 and then there was junior Toyo Regenold pinning senior Babatunde Okundaye, last year’s state champion from Robertson. This followed Regenold’s win the previous week over the 4A state runner-up from Ruidoso, sophomore Michael Marin.

With injuries and other matters keeping the depth down, St. Michael’s is now all healthy, with all four returning from various setbacks. They are all sophomores, Xavier Archuleta (126), Kaleb Hendon (190), Jaden Mifsud (170), and Maison Oshel at 182. Of the four, Mifsud has been the most impressive when healthy.

Said head coach Tommy Trujillo: “We’ve had some bumps in the road but we’re looking forward to having our lineup back in full and ready to go. This is the best time of the year, and these guys have worked so hard for this, and we intend to make some noise.”

NOTE: Assistant St. Michael’s coach, Robert Smith, contributed to this story.

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