Ruidoso shows growth at State

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso's Dyllan Morgan, right, grapples with Tristian Martinez of West Las Vegas, Feb. 17, during the 106-pound third-place match at the Class 4A/1A State tournament at Rio Rancho.

RIO RANCHO – Ultimately, there may have been a bunch of disappointment for all the boys wrestling at the State tournament for Ruidoso this year, but coach Andy Olive looks at this season’s accomplishments with a lot of optimism.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Connor Jameson, bottom holds on to the leg of Elijah Wildenstein of Moriarty, Feb. 17, during the 152-pound third-place match at the Class 4A/1A State tournament in Rio Rancho.

“You could say it’s disappointing because these guys didn’t place higher than they did,” Olive said. “But they got a medal, and that medal will give them more criteria for next year’s State tournament. That’s a huge positive, and the kids need to keep their head up and fuel that fire for next year.”

Ruidoso brought six wrestlers to the Santa Ana Star Center, five got to day 2. But outside of Sharon Minnix – who won a State title during the girls exhibition tournament – every Warrior lost on Saturday.

That’s not to say they didn’t earn medals, it just meant that everyone’s final match of the day was a loss.

Dyllan Morgan, Connor Jameson, Ethan Belin and Mikey Marin all fell in their first match of the day, placing every one in the consolation bracket.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Ethan Belin, left, faces off against Tucumcari’s Kaleb Hayes, Feb. 17, during the consolation semifinals of the Class 4A/1A State tournament at Rio Rancho.

Morgan was later able to turn in a victory over Pecos’ Christophe Ortiz to get to the third-place match at 106, while Jameson defeated a different Ortiz – Simon of Tucumcari, to earn a spot in the third-place match at 152.

Both lost those last matches, but both still earned a fourth-place medal.

Things didn’t go as well for Ethan Belin at 220. After a season in which he bested every wrestler at his weight class in his district, he fell to Silver’s Isaiah Sanchez in the first round, the had to fight his way through the consolation bracket.

He defeated Wingate’s Dominic Clyde on a 2-0 decision, then won by forfeit over Robertson’s Michael Garcia to get to the semifinals.

But his match against Kaleb Hayes of Tucumcari was a letdown, as he fell by pin in the third period, trailing 6-0.

Heavyweight Mikey Marin had probably the most disappointing weekend, coming in as the defending State runner up and eventually falling in the consolation semifinals.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Riuidoso heavyweight Mikey Marin, top, holds down Cobre’s Reagen Arsola, Feb. 17, during the consolation semifinals of the Class 4A/1A State tournament at Rio Rancho.

It’s not like anything was certain for Marin in the weight class – it was stacked from top to bottom with terrific wrestlers.

But his opponent in the championship semifinals – Silver’s Benito Sierra – is someone he had faced and defeated before in the district tournament.

Sierra seemed to figure out Marin’s moves, getting a takedown every time the Warrior shot in for a hold.

Marin would eventually get an escape, but he was trading one point for two every time and eventually fell 12-5.

His consolation semifinal match against Reagen Arsola of Cobre was much closer – scoreless through the first period, in fact, and tied at 3-all after the second frame.

But Arsola ended having the better moves and went on with an 8-3 victory.

Sure, it was disappointing all around, but almost every one of these wrestlers will be back next year – Belin is the only senior of the group.

“To make that next step, they’ll have to do everything they can to get back here next year,” Olive said. “They have to ask themselves if they did everything they could to get here and get better. If they didn’t, they have to come back and do more.”

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