A season of competing in nine tournaments and more than 30 matches is preparing the Tucumcari Rattlers wrestling team for the challenge of qualifying for the state District 2, 3A tournament.
The tourney is Saturday at the Snake Pit.
“The guys are fully aware that on Saturday if they don’t give their absolute best and qualify…the season is over for them,” said Rattlers head coach Eddie Encinias.
Encinias said this is what the Rattler wrestlers have been pushing themselves for all season long as they improve their conditioning and technique. He said the tournaments and matches the Rattlers have competed in throughout the season have helped them to improve on their skills.
The district tournament the Rattlers are hosting also features wrestlers from Pecos, Robertson, Taos, Tierra Encantada and West Las Vegas.
Encinias said this year, every school in the district has solid competitors throughout weight classes. He said there is no easy team to beat and with the high level of competition, there is no guarantee that any wrestler will qualify.
Encinias said that in the past, the Rattlers have been well represented at state competition qualifying as many as seven in a single competition. This year, however, the tough competition may lower that number.
Encinias said he is confident in his wrestlers. They have been responsible for their own development and have driven themselves to be better each time they step out onto the mat, he said.
“As I have said in the past, these guys put all the work in. I’m just the coach,” Encinias said.
The Rattlers did not compete last week and have been limiting their time on the practice mat, allowing their bumps and bruises to heal before the district tournament, Encinias said.
Encinias said if he asked his team if they wanted to compete last week in a tournament, they probably would have said yes. He wanted the Rattler wrestlers to rest, so they can give their best in front of a home crowd as they fight for the state tournament.
The District 2 3A tournament begins at 9:30 a.m.