Talon News - Good Local News

By Rashel Korte


Team brings home 32nd State Trophy


February 24, 2017

Tonya Stinson

Tigers receiving 3rd place team trophy at State Tournament

Aztec Tiger Wrestling finished out their season strong, bringing home the school's 32nd State trophy and numerous individual state placings. Since the program's beginnings in 1956, Aztec Wrestling has won 32 top three state trophies. The first state trophy came in 1959 with a third place, their first state win was in 1963. Of the 32 state trophies, 16 have been state champions with 105 individual state champions. These 105 champions are the most of any New Mexico school and additionally, ranks high nationally.

This year saw the Tigers win third in the state, with numerous individual placings. While they took 14 competitors to state, six placed in the top five. Cody Candelaria was NM State Champ, Austin Littlefield was NM State Champ, Josiah Griego was State Runner-Up, Dominic Dufur was State Runner-Up, Garrett Birzer came in 3rd, and Hunter Medina came in 5th. An extremely strong team effort put the Tigers 15.5 points ahead of the fourth place team, Valencia.

The team had three goals going into this season: win district, have an individual state champion, and bring home a state trophy. The Aztec Tiger Wrestling was able to accomplish all of their goals this year.

Jesse Hankins, Prime Time Pics

Cody Candelaria looks to the coaches for advice during his match

The goals for next season is to win the state championship.They are on the right track for this goal as they only have one senior graduating, CD Simkins. The rest of the team will remain together for competition next season. The Tigers Wrestling final, and long term goal, is also well on its way. For some time now the wrestlers have been trying to raise $200,000 to build a new Wrestling room. Currently both the middle and high school, 145 kids, are practicing in a 50x60' room. The room they are looking to build will be 100x50', and open to the entire community. So far they have raised $110,000 and will be breaking ground this year. The new Wrestling room, once built, will be entirely community funded and community accessible. "The new Wrestling room will be built on the south side of the auxiliary gym at the high school," Coach Stinson said. Much of the Tigers success can be attributed to the fact that they have only had 7 head coaches in the 61 years there has been a Wrestling program. The coaches are able to build both a strong community and student relationship. Whatever the Tiger Wrestling has been doing, it's working. "Life can be hard and many lessons can be taught, and some were learned this weekend on the mat, and only time will tell just what has been instilled, and that is the beauty of high school wrestling," Stinson said. Congratulations to the Tiger Wrestling and keep making Aztec proud!


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