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Nick Archuleta doing what he loves

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Nick Archuleta (Submitted Photo)

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Nick Archuleta began his first year as a head coach this year when he took over the Goddard wrestling program. He is enjoying the experience as a head coach and has been enjoying being involved in the sport since he began doing it in 2003. Since starting as a scrawny Roswell High freshman that cried a lot and in need of a mentor, he has matured into a tough, nurturing head coach that is now the mentor to many young men both on and off the mat.

Coach Archuleta got involved in the sport from his late brother, Robert Jr. “He dragged me out…I didn’t want to go. This was during the pre-season of my freshman year at Roswell High. Robert was a junior at the time. He was 160 and I was at 119 (lbs).”

Archuleta had a rough start to the sport that he didn’t want to join. “It was really tough. I got a nickname of ‘nicky-poo’ because of all of the crying I did. But, the only partner I had throughout both my freshman and sophomore year was Chris Esparza and he was a back-to-back state champion. So, he put me through the meat-grinder….but, it made me better faster than normal.”

Better was an understatement as the crying ended and so did the lack-luster nickname as the wins started to pile up. Archuleta came into his own during his junior year as he placed 6th in state at 135 lbs (he weighs 220 now). “I placed quickly without any type of youth experience.” He also became one of the few athletes to record a win over 5-time state champion Jake Martinez of Robertson when he pinned him at the Cardinal Classic that year.

With his junior year being a peak, his senior year became a valley during the wrestling season that saw him ranked very high at the beginning of the year. “I got a call at a tournament early in the season and found out that my girlfriend was three months pregnant. So, I kind of lost focus in a lot of things and started to focus on getting my life straight and staying on a straight path.”

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While Archuleta realized that participating in wrestling was something that was not a priority, he did realize that raising and providing for a young child was something he wanted to do well, so he put all of his efforts into that. He did not place his senior year, but fatherhood gave him some better perspective on what really is important.

Archuleta has always had jobs through high school and tried college – three semesters at ENMU-R – but following graduation he really started to make ends meet with his job at VIF Drywall working for Israel Villa.

Ironically, through his job is how he got back to the sport he loved. “Basically, I stuck to my 40 hour job and that position helped me to get a house by the time I was 20. The advantage I had had was Israel’s son, Andres. My boss’ son was in wrestling (in the junior program), so I was allowed to leave work early at three to take him to practice and work with every day.”

He continued, “so, after Andres and the juniors, Coach (Chris) Rottman asked if I wanted a job at Roswell High – I think it was around 2010 – and it went from there.”

Eventually, Archuleta did two years of officiating and then returned to the coaching scene when “I got a call from Coach (Jaime) Martinez because he was looking for an assistant when (Robert) Bolanos ended up getting the head job at Roswell High. So, I stuck with him for four years.”

Incidentally, Andres Villa ended up winning the state title in 2017…with Archuleta in the corner coaching him just like he did all those years prior in the junior ranks.

Archuleta is now focusing on becoming a better coach and keeping the tradition of winning alive at Goddard High…and helping the junior program. Archuleta really enjoys the job of coaching at all ages.

“It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy it. I know a lot of people are skeptical of wrestling, but as soon as they join they are just going to love it and stick with it (in some way) forever or they hate it and leave. I was the guy that came in and just fell in love with it. I can’t get enough of it. Another part of my motivation is that I have two boys – one of them is ten and one is three. My ten-year-old has wrestled for four years and he placed at state (in the juniors). I would like to see him in his career with me being the head coach still while he goes through high school along with my youngest as well.”

Coach Archuleta’s coaching extends beyond the high school ranks as he helps oversee how the junior program (Team Invasion) is running. He can’t officially coach in-season with them do to NMAA rules, but he does have to help oversee the program due to RISD rules as the program is run out of the Goddard wrestling room. “The last year I was the assistant here, I was the head coach of the youth program and we had a pretty good team – we had about 40 kids come out. That was a lot of fun and, of course, I got to coach my kid, a good motivator. I have a bunch of fathers that I wrestled with that have their kids in the program.”

Archuleta has a long list of mentors that have helped him throughout his time living, coaching, and working in Roswell. “I have been real lucky to have a few. It all started obviously with my dad, Robert Sr., pushing me through. And, from there it was Coach (Robert) Hernandez who was my first wrestling coach and then coach (Micah) Trujillo and coach (George) Aho and coach Murrojo and then Coach Rottman. They have all been there through some part of my life.”

He continued, “from there, it went to my boss, Israel Villa, because I started to work for him and he took me under his wing. He’s the one who helped me get my house together. He taught me a different way in the business world. He made me a lot smarter in that area. Jack Salsman was another one who taught me how to run an office to start with and, most recently, it was coach Martinez. Working alongside him on the mat he has a lot to offer experience-wise.”

Coach Archuleta hopes to accomplish a lot through the sport of wrestling. “I really hope to keep the program going the way coach Martinez had it. I want to keep his legacy going…trying to keep the state placers coming and just pass down the knowledge to keep the wrestling community alive – both at Goddard and at Roswell High. I would like to see a lot of my friends and family’s kids go through these two programs and do well. I would like to see my two boys do better than I did.”

Archuleta is well on his way to keeping the program alive at Goddard and ensuring that his boys will do better than him…which will be difficult as he accomplished so much. “Nicky-poo” is now helping grow the sport that he did not originally want to do.