Twelve Taos Tiger wrestlers traveled to the four-corners area for their first tournament of the 2017-18 season to compete in the Bloomfield Invite on Dec. 8.
The varsity tournament, which ran concurrently with a junior varsity event, was dominated by class 5A New Mexico teams, and included traditional powerhouse teams from the region. Taos was one of four class A/ 4A teams and was down two combatants – lacking contestants in the 106-pound and 113-pound divisions. There were a total of 11 teams in the mix.
The top team finishers of the tournament included, Kirtland Central who placed first with 45 points, Pagosa Springs (Colo.) who came in second with 40 points and Bloomfield, which earned the third spot with 36 points. Grants and Miyamura (Gallup) tied for fourth with 30 points apiece and Taos was sixth with 27 points. Other teams in attendance included Gallup, Shiprock, Wingate, Aztec and Newcomb.
Top point-getters for Taos included first-place earners: Diego Valerio in the 126-pound division, Estevan Valerio in the 182-pound division and Dominic “Red” Lopez in the 285-pound division. For each individual first place garnered, the Tigers fetched four points towards their team total. Second-place finishers included Tyler Valencia in the 132-pound division and Jesse Ayala in the 220-pound division – hauling in three points each. Third-place finishers included: Christopher Valencia in the 120-pound division, Jonathon Garcia in the 138-pound division, Dyllan Vigil in the 160-pound division and Clayton Demas in the 195-pound division. Each third place was worth two points. Rounding out scorers for Taos was Alex Totman who placed fourth in the 170-pound division and added one point to the team total. The two remaining wrestlers for the Tigers included Cameron Gonzales who placed fifth in the 145-pound division and Jason Montoya who finished seventh in his respective 152-pound division. Neither result yielded any additional points for Taos.
The biggest shifts on the team this year involve Christopher Valencia who wrestled – and earned an individual state title – in the 113-pound division in 2016-17 and is now in the 120-pound division. Tyler Valencia, who competed in the 120-pound division and finishing third at state last year, has also moved up and is now in the 132-pound division.
The Tigers now head to the opposite side of the state when the travel to Tucumcari to participate in the 2017 Rattler Invite, Dec. 16. Originally, the team was slated to compete in a dual (head-to-head against a single team) in Tucumcari Dec. 15, but a schedule conflict cancelled the event. This will be the last meet for Taos before taking a week off for the Christmas break. The Tigers will resume competition Dec. 29 with a dual in Silver City, Dec. 29, followed by the Silver Invite, Dec. 30.