Santa Fe High wrestling team will be competing in 6A state championships this weekend at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho
Capital High senior Jose Tapia is up for his fifth state championship in 5A at Santa Ana Star Center this weekend
St. Michael's senior Julian Brittain, at 220, brings 23-2 record in 1-4A, Santa Fe High freshman Isaac Beltran, at 113, is 34-7 in 6A
By ARNIE LESHIN
It might appear to be in error, but the lone undefeated wrestler in 1-4A is Javier Tapia, now a sophomore at Pojoaque Valley.
If he sounds familiar, he's the same grappler who won the state championship while a freshman at Capital High. Why did he transfer and leave his older brother, four-time state champion Jose, as a Jaguar, is not important. What is is that he's undefeated in 34 matches at the 152 weight, 20 pounds more than last year.
Last season, he went 22-3 as he and Jose, now a senior, came away with state titles. Now, after winning district, he's on track to win again.
Same with Jose, who is 33-2 at 138 after losing only twice until now (on forfeits) since 8th grade. He was 33-0 last year and came into this season 116-0 over the last three years, and 137-2 since 8th grade. Now he's in quest of becoming the sixth one in the state with five championships.
The brothers will no doubt meet up at the weekend state championships at the Santa Ana Star Center, but not on the mats for Capital is in 5A. The Jaguars, who finished their best-ever third last year, have qualified 13 for state.
In 6A, Santa Fe High has qualified 10. In 1-4A, St. Michael's has qualified seven.
For the Horsemen, senior Julian Brittain has the best chance at winning state. Injured late last season, he never made it to state. Now he owns an impressive 23-2 record in the 220 weight and should be among the top seeds. His main competition could come from Las Vegas Robertson junior Juwan Jacobs, who is 17-1.
Then there's junior Dominic Smith at 138 pounds. He, too, should receive a high seed after compiling a 33-8 record, and he, too, could get a genuine challenge from Robertson senior Jonathan Trujillo, who is 37-1.
Brittain was the lone St. Michael's winner at district. Smith finished second.
Santa Fe High qualified in 10 of the 12 weights. It had district champions in freshman Isaac Beltran at 113, and senior Alex Abeyta at 138.
"Zach Jacquez, a senior, made it in as a wild card," said head coach Stephen Burns. "He lost in the third place match at 182"
Sophomore Benjamin Marino qualified with a 10-12 record as he took third at 195.
"We bumped him up," Burns said, "from 182 pounds."
As for Beltran, he enters with a 34-7 mark and Abeyta at 36-12. At districts, the Demons also had a pair of runners-up, four who placed third, and two coming in fourth.
Unlike 1-4A, 6A has landed four unbeatens in the finale. They are Carlsbad freshman Alex Wood going 30-0 at 145, Volcano Vista senior at 29-0 in 160, Hobbs senior Dylan Kuhn winning 26 times at 220, and a 20-0 record for his senior teammate, Caleb Beaird, in the 170 weight.
As for Capital, it hopes to take a further step and land in one of the top two spots. It brings junior defending champion Ryan Romero at 113, and Jose Tapia in quest of being among the unique six who have won five titles.
The Jags also have a shot at state in senior Alex Wisdom, who is 38-3 in 132. Then there's freshman Jonathan Romero at 106 pounds and with a 31-8 record.
Two other Capital wrestlers, juniors Esteban Sanchez (126) and Lucas McNatt (182) made it in as wild cards.
One 5A grappler comes in undefeated, and that's Roswell Goddard senior Andros Villa, 27-0 in the 195 weight.
Meanwhile, Jose Tapia has hopes of joining the five-championship list that features Anthony Jukes of Piedra Vista (2011-15), Rico Montoya of Robertson (2011-15), Koery Windham of St. Michael's (2010-14), Daniel Martinez of Robertson (2007-11), Max Ortega of Rio Rancho (2005-09), and Michael Scott Owens of Carlsbad (1999-04).
Former St. Michael's standout, Jesse Martinez, won four times from 2009-12. Three-time winners include Santa Fe High's Jose Tapia (1996-98) and Javier Posa (1988-90), as well as former Horsemen, Adrian Montoya from 2010-12.
St. Michael's, when in 1-3A, won eight state titles. Santa Fe High and Capital still seek their first.
The competition begins Friday at 9 a.m. The quarterfinals and consolation round is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, the start is again at 9, with the consolation rounds and championships to get underway at 1:30.
1-4A: ST. MICHAEL'S: (106) Xavier Archuleta; (138) Dominic Smith; (145) Sam Baca; (160) Jaden Mifsud; (182) Karim Perez; (220) Julian Brittain; (285) Shawn LaVe.
5A: CAPITAL: (106) Jonathan Romero; (113) Ryan Romero; (120) Jasper Mares; (126) Esteban Segura; (132) Alex Wisdom; (138) Jose Tapia; (152) Abel Barrazas; (160); (170) Daniel Guerra; Jacob Jiron; (182) Lucas McNatt; (195) Julian Sanchez; (220) Manuel Carrillo; (285) Joseph Jiron.
6A: SANTA FE HS: (113) Isaac Beltran; (120) Adam Pena; (126) Ivan Marquez; (132) Sammy Martinez; (138) Alex Abeyta; (145) Mario Mendiola; (152) Isaiah Martinez; (182) Zach Jacquez; (195) Benjamin Marino; (220) Isiah Vargas.