SAN LUIS VALLEY—For the fifth straight season, the San Luis Valley is looking to bring home a state wrestling team championship.
In 2009 and 2010, the Centauri Falcons won back-to-back Class 3A titles while in 2011 and 2012, the Mean Moose brought back state championships.
Once again, Class 3A appears to belong to the San Luis Valley.
The Centauri Falcons enter the 2013 portion of the season ranked No. 1 in Class 3A according to Tim Yount’s On the Mat rankings. In the 2012 portion of their schedule, the Falcons had a strong showing in one of the most prestigious tournaments, the Old Chicago Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament.
Centauri finished in a tie for seventh place, but they did win the small school trophy for being the highest placing Class 2A or 3A school.
The Falcons have five wrestlers that are currently ranked in the top four of their respective weight classes. They inlcude, Jason Buhr (No. 1) at 152 pounds, Micah Keys (No. 1) at 160 pounds, Jareb Aziz (No. 2) at 182 pounds, Greg Martinez (No. 3) at 285 pounds and Ethan Coombs (No. 3) at 126 pounds.
The Falcons open up 2013 with their Intermountain League schedule with a dual against Bayfield on Friday, Jan. 11 before they compete in the Pagosa Springs Classic on Saturday, Jan. 12.
On Jan. 17, Alamosa will play host to one of the biggest IML rivalries as the Falcons look to win the 2013 showdown. They will then make a huge statement at the Centauri Classic Tournament on Feb. 2nd. They will host the Monte Vista and Pagosa Springs Pirates, Trinidad Miners, Buena Vista Demons, Florence Huskies, Gunnison Cowboys, Olathe, Rocky Ford Meloneers and Hotchkiss Farmers. The tournament is a duals tournament.
Alamosa enters the 2013 portion of the season ranked No. 4. Last season, the Mean Moose graduated some of their heavy artillery and point scorers and have yet to find solid replacements. Included in that graduating class are all the wrestlers that made it to the finals: Zach Mahaney, Brandon Bertsch, state champion Dakota Curtis and state champion Pablo Ortiz. Chris Reveles also scored some points for the Mean Moose and graduated last season.
Alamosa does return the Kelley brothers, Tel and Kole. In fact, Tel is ranked No. 2 at 106 pounds while Kole is ranked No. 3 at 132 pounds. In addition, Neff Malouff, who is ranked No. 2 at 120 pounds, returns to the team. Nick Jones is ranked No. 4 at 195 pounds and looks to help the Mean Moose prepare a counter attack.
In an earlier interview with Alamosa Mean Moose head coach Gary Ramstetter, who is in his 29th season, the Mean Moose do have some wrestlers who are still filling in places and are looking like they are ready to compete, including Pablo Villarreal, who has never wrestled before in his life.
Unfortunately for the Mean Moose, their trip to the nation’s biggest tournament was not their best showing at the Reno Tournament of Champs as they finished down in the 40s. The Alamosa Mean Moose opened the 2013 portion of their season last Friday when they traveled to Peoria, Ariz, for a tournament. The 2-day tournament is followed by a dual on Thursday, Jan. 10 when they take on Pagosa Springs in IML action. They will then be down at Rio Rancho, N.M. before their rivalry dual with the Falcons.
The Moose will then host their home tournament on Jan. 19.
The other Valley school that does battle in the 3A ranks is Monte Vista. The Pirates enter the 2013 year ranked as the No. 7 team in Class 3A and have two wrestlers ranked in the top four.
Most notably of the two ranked wrestler is Diondre Garcia, the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 106 pounds. Last season, Garcia made it to the championship bout before falling in a heartbreaker to take second place.
The other Monte Vista grappler that is ranked is Simon Schaefer at 170 pounds. The Pirates will have their hands filled the weekend of Feb. 15 as they will be hosting the Regional Tournament in their newly remodeled gym.
The Del Norte Tigers lead the Valley’s Class 2A charge as they are the only ranked team entering 2013.
The Tigers are ranked No. 5 behind two ranked wrestlers. Austin McDonald leads the team as he is ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds while Shawn Beiriger is ranked No. 2.
Beiriger has led the team in two different tournaments in the first half of the season by being named “Outstanding Wrestler” in two different tournaments including first place at the John Mall Tournament in which every wrestler finished in the top 6. Center is next in line with two ranked wrestlers in Jose Angel Chavez, who is ranked No. 3 at 120 pounds and Jeremy Moreno who is ranked No. 4 at 126 pounds.
The Valley’s only other ranked wrestler is Sargent’s Zach Morgan, who is ranked No. 3 at 220 pounds.
The Antonito Trojans look to come as an emerging team in the next few weeks. They had a successful start to the season when they won the Sargent Farmers invitational in November.
Centennial, Mountain Valley and Sangre de Cristo also field smaller teams, however, results have not been reported.