By William Thompson
Rattler wrestlers are confident about their ability to do well in the district tournament today at Rattler gym.
Regardless of his achy shoulder, senior Michael Baca said he will win his weight class in the tournament.
“My shoulder is a little sore,” Baca said, “but I will win first and our team should place at least second in the tournament,”
Baca was second in the 160-pound class at a recent tournament in Ruidoso. His coach, Eddie Encinias, said Baca should have won.
“He separated his shoulder at the beginning of his last match,” Encinias said. “Brian Lopez finished second at Ruidoso in the 189-pound class and our heavyweight Justin Garcia was third in his weight class. I think those guys could have won.”
The Rattlers finished sixth out of 12 teams in Ruidoso and earlier in January they finished sixth of 16 at the Rio Hondo tournament in Roswell. Encinias said his wrestlers always face tough competition.
“We are the smallest wrestling school in the state,” Encinias said. “We are class 2A, everybody else is 3A or higher. We got in a lot of good mat time against 4A and 5A schools in the past three tournaments.”
Encinias singled out Alberto Navarro’s second-place finish in the 125-pound class at Ruidoso.
“Matt Garcia did an outstanding job for a rookie,” Encinias said. “Jacob Ramirez, Wesley Martinez, Nathan Martinez and Ben Arenas each placed at the tournament in Ruidoso.”
Encinias said Justin Garcia, Baca and Lopez each have a shot to do well in the state tournament. Lopez agreed with his coach.
“I haven’t been pinned yet,” Lopez said. “I didn’t have any losses in our first four tournaments.”