Deming High Wildcat wrestlers carry confidence into state tournament at Rio Rancho, NM
Junior Wildcat Jesse Daniel Perez (top) is seeded No. 2 in the 145-pound weight class at the state tournament.
(Photo11: Headlight File Photo)
DEMING – With four District 3-5A champions headed to the New Mexico Class 5A State Wrestling Tournament on Friday, Deming High Coach Phillip Almanza is looking deeper than the four contenders.
“We have built a tradition of winning in the smaller class and we want to step up as contenders at the next level,” Almanza said.
The Wildcats have been a force to be reckoned with in the smaller Class 5A. Now in the large schools 5A class, Coach Almanza is dealing with a young varsity that will have to grow up into the big school’s competition.
Half of the Wildcats are making their first trip to the state tournament that will be uncorked on Friday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. Six ‘Cats have been there before and are expected to challenge in their respective weight brackets.
Heading the list of Deming hopefuls will be junior 145-pounder Jesse Daniel Perez. Perez stand 26-3 on the season and is the defending District 3-5A champion in his weight class. He will be seeded No. 2 in the 16-man bracket.
“Seeds are everything at this level, but you still have to stay focused and at the top of your game,” Coach Almanza said.
Senior Marco Martinez enters the 152-pound limit as a district champ. He sports a 26-9 record and will be seeded No. 5 in his respective bracket. “Marco has to stay aggressive and take the first shot,” Coach Almanza said.
Eighth grader Carlos Apodaca reaches the state tournament for the first time. He is a district champion at 106 pounds and brings a 2-0 slate after being called up from the Red Mountain Middle School program. Apodaca is no stranger to tournament wrestling. He carries eight state youth titles under his belt. “This will be a learning experience for Carlos who has a bright future ahead of him,” Coach Almanza said. Apodaca is seeded 12th.
Senior Wildcat Manny Carrasco (top) takes on the 126-pound bracket at the New Mexico Class 5A State Wrestling Tournament this weekend at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM (Photo11: Headlight File Photo)
Senior Manny Carrasco is a quick starter on the mats, according to Coach Almanza. He will take on the field at 126 pounds and enters as a district champion. At 21-6, Carrasco likes to swarm his opponents. He will be the No. 7 seed in his weight class.
Freshman Davy May could have the biggest challenge of all the ‘Cat wrestlers. He will meet arch rival freshman Avery Atma of Las Cruces High in Friday’s preliminary round. Atma defeated May for the district title. The two have met three times this season with Atma claiming two victories. “These two have battled all season long,” Coach Almanza said. “This could the match of the day.”
May is 23-9 this year and Atma checks in at 24-5.
Freshman Damián Sanchez will be the heavyweight hopes for DHS. He is 18-11 on the season and was given a wild card bid due to the fact illness kept him from qualifying for state at the district tournament last weekend.
“If Damian is healthy and wrestles smart, he could upset some people in his bracket and have a shot,” Coach Almanza said.
Action at the state wrestling tournament gets underway Friday morning with consolation rounds later that evening. The championship rounds will begin Saturday morning.
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (ext. 2606) or email@example.com.