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Young Rocket grapplers looking for medals

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In this Feb. photo, Goddard junior Luis Mata wraps up his Santa Teresa opponent during the District 3/4-5A duals tournament at Goddard High School. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

The Nick Archuleta era has officially begun at the Goddard High wrestling room. The longtime assistant has taken over the head coaching reins from longtime coach Jaime Martinez and is looking to take his young team to many victories this year.

“Actually, it’s going pretty smoothly this year,” stated Archuleta, a 2007 Roswell High graduate where he was an all-state wrestler himself. “I thought it would be a little bit of a rough start to try and figure things out, but it has been going really smooth. I thought we just kind of fell into where we left off last year – right into rhythm from all the years of experience I got with coach Martinez.”

The Rockets wrapped up the 2017 campaign with a 10th place finish at state with 86 points and four state placers. Three of those state placers have graduated, but the cupboard isn’t totally bare heading into the 2018 season.

“We actually have a couple of guys that are returners so I have a good feeling about placing a few for sure, and the other guys are working real hard, so we could have more of course (place at state),” said Archuleta.

The main cog in the Rocket engine this year should be senior Jeremiah Esparza, the lone returning state placer, at 152. As a junior he finished in 5th place with a record of 30-16.

“We also have Jeremiah Garcia, who is a returning state qualifier (and district champ) and is going 145,” continued coach Archuleta. “Jean Cockrell is very good and has wrestled before. He’s going 160 as he won his spot over Ryan Alva, a real tough freshman. We got Mike Luiz (who finished 20-17 as a freshman) at 138 and is showing real good promise and is really hanging tough with our seniors. At 170, we have Fernando Rubio, a freshman. We have Fabian Atenzio who has shown some real good progress at the lower weights. Also, Daniel Mendez who won his spot 106 in the wrestle-offs. He has wrestled youth and placed in state for youth. We have Zach (Ingersoll) who is a ninth-grader at 195. He’s really strong and aggressive. We have Seth Diaz at 182…Diaz is a returning state qualifier who was 14-19 at a tough weight class last year.”

Coach Archuleta states that they have four 8th-graders working hard on the team and the future looks good for Rocket wrestling.

Coach Archuleta looks at Belen to repeat as state champs for 5A. “They have the tendency to squish everyone like bugs,” he stated laughing. “They just have a real good program. In the district, for sure, Roswell high has the studs there, but in certain weight classes, we have some studs. They have really strong heavy weights and we have the middle weights.”

The Rocket JV team hosts the Rocket Open this Saturday at 8:30 a.m. while the varsity starts Dec. 9 at the Jaguar Invite at Capital High School in Santa Fe.