The Red Mountain Middle School Wildcats registered a team tournament championship at the Los Lunas Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26. The team is comprised of seventh and eighth graders. (Photo: Courtesy photo)
DEMING – It was a fitting ending to the 2018-19 season, according to Red Mountain Middle School Wrestling Coach Mike Hernandez.
The Wildcats traveled to Los Lunas Middle School on Saturday, Jan. 26 and returned home with a team championship trophy. The ‘Cats used a ton of back points and were led by individual champions Carlos Apodaca (115 pounds), Jose Acedo (100), Adriel Porras (140) and Aaron Garcia (170).
The Wildcats finished ahead of the host Los Lunas Middle School Tigers, Cleveland Middle School Storm and Rio Rancho Middle School Rams to lay claim the Los Lunas Invitational Tournament title.
"This was our end of season tournament," Coach Hernandez stated. :These kids came a long way from the beginning of the season. The hard work they put in this past month paid off in the end. We struggled early in the season with roughly 80 percent of our team being new to wrestling, but we put it all together here at the end."
Coach Hernandez heads the wrestling team as a Deming Public Schools After-School Program. The team also encourages sixth graders to participate. Erik Bencomo is a sixth grader who is member of the team.
Seven Wildcats finished runner-up in their respective weight class. Xavier Baca finished second at 75 pounds, Chris Richmond placed in the 90-pound weight class, Manny Lucero posted his runner-up finish at 135 pounds, Sef Lucero placed second in the 145-pound weight limit, Ian Ortiz finished second at 152 pounds, Marcos Ramirez placed at 160 pounds and Matthew Garcia was runner-up at 182 pounds.
Back points in youth wrestling tournaments can be a major factor in determining team scores. Third-place finishers Xavier Almanza (105), Jose Ordonez (125), Victor Fernandez (130), Rocco Farrano (152), Timothy Sanchez (195), and Uriel Rodriguez (heavyweight) battled back in the consolation bracket to collect those valuable team points.
Erick Gil took on the field at 220 pounds and placed fourth to add to the ‘Cats back points.
A group of Wildcats who competed with Wildcat Pride were: Jojo Mesa (80), Sebastian Fitzgerald (100), Diego Paz (110) and Arnold Carrillo (120).
Carlos (Litos) Apodaca was voted as the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler in the middleweight division.
Carlos (Litos) Apodaca was selected by a panel of tournament coaches as the tournament’s most outstanding middle weight wrestler. Apodaca pinned all his opponents in the first period.
Coach Hernandez and the RMMS wrestlers were assisted this season by coach Coach Carlos Apodaca.
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (ext 2606) or firstname.lastname@example.org.