Wrestlers finish season with two-time state champion

The Tucumcari Rattlers finished their season with a two-time state champion and four additional wrestlers placed at 3A state title matches Saturday in Albuquerque.

QCS Photo: Thomas Garcia

The Tucumcari Rattlers Wrestling team had nine wrestlers compete at state competition in Albuquerque Friday and Saturday with five placing. Above: runnerup Rudy Vallejo, state champion Augstin Sandoval, Breysen Billings runner up, Timmy Skinner fourth place and not pictured Dillon Wood fourth place.

Rattlers head coach Eddie Encinias said there were a lot of upsets in the tournament. In fact, he said, the 3A and the 5A were probably the most contested state tournaments on the weekend tournament.

Senior Agustin Sandoval won his second state championship at 152 pounds, defeating Tim Matthews from Silver City.

"I leave on a good note," the soon to graduate Sandoval said. "I didn't fold under pressure and all the hard work paid off."

Encinias said how hard the team works measures the success of a season and he is proud of all of his wrestlers.

"We could have had a few more placers in state. Dillon Wood had a hard loss in the semi-finals," Encinias said.

The 220-pound senior Rudy Vallejo and 285-pound junior Breysen Billings placed second in the state with just the second year of wrestling for the Rattlers under their belts.

"I wish I would have wrestled all my years in high school," Vallejo said.

Billings said he will work harder next year to win the championship, though one regret is he will not get a chance to face Andres Blea, this year's state champion, who is a senior.

Fourth place junior Timmy Skinner said he would work harder to finish higher next year at the state tournament.

Encinias said there is a lot to look forward to for next season "as we will have two of the five placers returning and a strong group of kids coming up."

Encinias said he owes a lot of thanks to assistant coach Donnie Garcia for the season success and the team managers Jayde Arguello and Nina Moulton.

Encinias said each year his is impressed with the hard work and dedication each of the members of the Rattlers wrestling team put into the season.

"When you have a great bunch of kids, who work hard and want to succeed, it makes coaching a breeze," Encinias said.

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