Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Pair of champions


December 19, 2018

Ron Warnick

Tucumcari's Rod Dunlap, left, rejoices after the referee declares him the winner Saturday of the 145-pound championship match of the Rattler Invitational in Tucumcari. Dunlap defeated Espanola Valley's Edgar Sanchez 7-2.

Two members of the Tucumcari wrestling team won championships and a third finished runner-up during the 18-team Rattler Invitational on Saturday at the Snake Pit.

Rod Dunlap, wrestling at 145 pounds, defeated Edgar Sanchez of Espanola Valley in a 7-2 decision in the title match. Teammate Joe Martinez, competing at 152 pounds, dominated Emilio Lopez of West Las Vegas by a 14-1 score in his championship bout.

Tucumcari coach Eddie Encinias said he wasn't surprised by Dunlap and Martinez winning titles during the sprawling event, which featured three wrestling mats with near-continuous action in front of hundreds of spectators.

"They did what I expected them to do," Encinias said of his two winners. "They're good technicians. They don't muscle guys; they wrestle guys."

Tucumcari's Kaleb Hayes, wrestling at 220 pounds against Robertson's Javier Mares, was leading late in his title match but lost 4-3 in the final seconds after Mares scored a takedown.

Encinias said Hayes made a tactical error late in the bout.

"In wrestling, one wrong move can beat you," Encinias said. "You've got to stay consistent and stay aggressive. You gotta wrestle hard all the time; you can't just wrestle just to survive. Surviving will get you beat."

When asked how his Rattlers team performed during the event, Encinias answered: "Satisfactory."

"We still gotta be good," the coach said. "We're almost there. But I don't want them to be great right now. I'd rather be great in February (during the postseason). It's a long season, and when it's all said and done, most of our guys will be in the state tournament."


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