by Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Rattlers wrestling team finished the season with three members in the top five at the state tournament.
Rattler seniors Raymond Jimenez and Michael Fazekas each placed third place in their weight class and Wesley Martinez placed fourth on Saturday at the state tournament in Rio Rancho.
On Monday, several Rattler senior wrestlers turned in their gear for the last time to wrestling coach Eddie Encinias.
“I am really proud and appreciate all that the wrestlers have done this season.” Encinias said. “This team worked harder than any team that I have had. They pushed themselves to a new level.”
After senior, Michael Martinez, checked in his gear, he thanked Encinias for two great years of wrestling. Encinias said he appreciated Martinez’s hard work and wished him well in his future endeavors.
Following the exchange, Encinias said, “It is a tough time for these seniors. It is a hard time for me as well. You start out the season with such excitement and when it comes to an end you really hate to see it go.”
“It is hard for the season to end the way that it did,” said senior Wesley Martinez. “I wanted to accomplish a lot of things in my final year. Wish that state would have gone better but I know that I did my best.”
The Rattlers wrestling team will be losing four seniors next year but Encinias is already looking forward to the next time the wrestlers hit the mats.
“We will have 10 returning wrestlers next year and a lot of our younger guys got some great experience this year,” Encinias said. “I know that the younger group will step up to be leaders and look forward to the new recruits coming in next year.”
“I am looking forward to seeing how everyone has developed and to working on improving my skills,” said junior Ryan Fought. “It will be my last year so I want to concentrate on winning state.”