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Coyotes looking for more accolades

In this Feb. photo, Roswell’s Nathaniel Sanchez gets ready to throw his Deming opponent during the district duals tournament at Goddard High School. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

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The Roswell High Coyote wrestling squad had their best finish in school history during the 2016-2017 campaign. The Coyotes finished in 5th place at the state 5A wrestling championships while placing six individuals – five in the finals with one state champion. The Coyotes hope to top that with an even higher finish for the 2017-2018 year as they eye a top-three finish and one of the coveted state tourney trophies.

With the return of virtually the entire team – including four state placers – second year head coach Jesse Boggs believes that winning the district title and the high finish in state are definite possibilities.

“Last year, I kind of viewed my role as the head coach to be more of the bumpers in a bowling lane or the guardrails on the road; in a sense, just giving direction and stability and a sense of repetition and order,” stated Boggs. “Last year, it was more just guiding those seniors and the others to achieve what they were already building towards. This year, it’s more of a lot of groundwork and setting up things of how we want it to run. There is lot more applying of my philosophy as a head coach and what I want to accomplish with these kids. It’s what we need to do for the future of this program to be successful.”

Last year, the Coyotes finished in 5th place with 133 points while Belen ran away with the title to the tune of 211 points. The Coyotes placed five in the finals from weight class 160 – 220 and return three of those five.

“Last year was a blast to coach and to do that – to place fifth at state as a team,” stated Boggs. “This year I really think we have the pieces together to put in the hard work and to be even better. Top three is not unrealistic. It would take a lot of hard work to knock of one of those four teams that finished ahead of us last year, but we do have the resources and numbers to do so.”

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One of the key pieces to attaining that attainable goal is senior Alphonso Sanchez who finished 20-4 while placing second at 195. All four of those losses was to graduated Andres Villa of Goddard (who is the varsity starter at 184 for Oklahoma City University this year). “I’m looking for him to be that stand out guy. Last year, it was him and Villa the whole way and we were always a step behind him, but this year 195 is wide open for us to take.”

Gabe Najar was the runner-up at 170 in his junior year and looks to win state this year at either that weight or at 182. Najar finished 32-4 after dropping his finals to Lano Luna of Belen who also returns for his senior year. “We’re going to see where he best fits – 182 might be ideal but we’re trying to see where Robinson (Rowdy, of Belen) and Luna might land at. I think Najar is better than both of them, but you always want to give your guy the best chance at state.”

Christian Sanchez took the state championship at 220 and looks to repeat that performance for his senior campaign. “He’s looking real good. I was worried he might come in with the “been there, done that” mind set, but he doesn’t seem to have that. He needs to stay focused to try and win that second title.” Boggs was a three-time state champion himself.

Travis Alarcon hopes to become a three-time state placer at 145. “He is really pushing to achieve what he is (capable of). If he gets his head in right place, he will really be able to do well this year.”

Coach Boggs is hoping to see some other returners step into roles of winning and placing throughout the year. Eddie Macias went 10-11 at heavyweight as a junior and could place this year. “Eddie is just an ox. This year, I am excited for him and I can focus on building him up as that is my specialty. I think we can get him to place if we can teach him some key moves to go with that strength.”

“Jaymon Cherinko is coming back at 106 and he has a chance to do well this year. At the light weights, we have a lot of guys that love to compete and that really helps our team this year.”

The expectations are high this year for Roswell High. Coach Boggs state that his team should be the prohibitive favorite in the district – over Goddard and Deming. In state, Belen and Aztec look loaded again this year, but the Coyotes could sneak past Valencia and Los Lunas into the top three.

Coach Boggs believes that the lofty goals can be attained with the 1% rule – “try to get better by 1% every day..that is one of our mottos and we follow it every day.” He added, “I would like to thank the Blaze Nunez Memorial Fund for giving to our program. That really helped us to secure a lot of the equipment and consumables that we need for the year. And, to Richard and Karla Chase who gave a big donation as well.”

The Coyotes open the season Dec. 9 at the Jaguar Invite at Capital High School in Santa Fe.

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