By Thomas Garcia
QCS senior writer
A long holiday break should not affect the Tucumcari Rattlers wrestling team as they prepare for the St. Michael's tournament.
"We got right back into it on Monday," said Rattlers head coach Eddie Encinias. "The team has a great recuperation time."
Encinias said the team had a strong performance before the holiday break at their home tournament.
"We had nine medalists in our tournament," Encinias said. "It was an open tournament, if it had come down to points it would have been between us and St. Michael's."
Encinias said two Rattlers, Esteban Martinez (182 pounds) and Mario Chavez (192 pounds), won their divisions.
"This tournament was a good measuring stick with all of the 3A teams," Encinias said. "We had over 320 matches, the most we have had in the past five years."
Martinez said the tournament gave him a chance to see some of St. Michael's competition.
"This weekends tournament will help me know what to expect come state," Martinez said. "The one tournament I am looking forward to is Robertson."
Encinias said he expects a strong performance from all of his wrestlers. He said one, Timmy Skinner, (132 pounds) finished third in their tournament, though he should fare better at St. Michael's.
"I am going to be a lot more confident," Skinner said. "I had the chance to work on some things and know now what I need to do to be able to finish."
Encinias said the team is ahead of schedule when it comes to conditioning.
"I am more enthused about where the guys are now compared to a year ago," Encinias said.
Encinias said he still plans to go up a level on their conditioning. He said the team knows and expects a rise in the tempo.
"With all the work we have done, the team is ready and expects an increase in difficulty as the season progresses," Encinias said. "I tell them, 'believe you can finish strong.' "