Rattlers bound for state

Thomas Garcia

A dozen Rattlers are set for the state wrestling tournament this weekend in Rio Rancho.

Tucumcari is one of two 2A schools that competes in the 3A class, and have trained with 10 pre-tournament meets.

“I am proud when you qualify the whole team,” Tucumcari coach Eddie Encinias said. “It is something special.”

The state tournament is set for Friday and Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center.

Encinias said the team has been competing since mid-November for every weekend except for the Christmas break. He said as the season progressed the team took it upon themselves to get better.

“This sport is one for those students who are dedicated,” Encinias said.

Encinias said last week at district the team should have been in the hunt for the championship, but had several kids that were hurt and/or sick.

“While they could have packed it in they sucked it up and finished only six points behind second-place West Las Vegas,” Encinas said. “We are going to surprise a lot of people in state.”

Wrestlers advance to state by placing in the top four in their weight class during the district meet.

“We are going to expect anything and continue to wrestle as hard as we have been all season,” said team member Augustin Sandoval. “He said the entire team knows the matches are only going to get tougher.”

For the seniors this is their last chance for state gold.

Esteban Martinez said come match time on Saturday he is going to go hard and non sto.

“I am going to leave it all on the mat,” Esteban said. “I’ll just let my training say it all win or lose.”

Chris Apodaca said all of the hard work and conditiong is going to pay off come this weekend.

“We have the best conditioning in the state and it will show this weekend,” Apodaca said.