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Coyote wrestler heads to Iowa

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Shawn Naranjo Photo In the front row L-R: Shandie Najar (mom), Gabriel Najar, Louis Najar Jr. (dad). Back row L-R: Louis Najar (Grandfather), Justyce and Miah Najar (sisters), Jesiah Najar (brother), and RHS wrestling coach Jesse Boggs. Gabe signed to wrestle at Iowa Western in the fall.

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Gabriel Najar’s grandfather, Louis Najar remembers when the youngster started wrestling as an eighth grader and getting frustrated of being beaten. There was a senior wrestler from Cobre High School, located near Silver City, that defeated the younger Najar in easy fashion during a match.

The elder Najar then took his grandson to the state wrestling tournament and that same wrestler from southwestern New Mexico mowed through the competition claiming his third state title. The grandfather told Gabriel to be hungry, humble and focused. That advice has paid off as Gabriel will be taking his game to Council Bluffs, Iowa, later this year.

Recently, he signed a national letter of intent to compete in the squared circle for Iowa Western University. Last winter, the Reivers came in fifth at the National Junior College Athletic Association wrestling tournament.

Najar was surrounded by family and his coaches when he made the commitment to attend IWU. He will compete in the 184-pound class and during his time as a Coyote grappler, Najar had many accomplishments.

During his sophomore year, he went to state ranked No.14 and when the competition ended, he received a third-place medal. He returned to state in his junior year and came in second. This past winter, his goal was to be the top wrestler in the 182-pound division. That measure was accomplished as he won the title.

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Coyote wrestling coach Jesse Boggs was proud of Najar who won the team’s leadership award during his junior and senior seasons. Najar is also Boggs’ first wrestler to be awarded a scholarship.

“There is too much to say about our captain for the last three years,” Boggs said. “He is my first high school wrestler to sign on as a collegiate wrestler. He is a great first example and will thrive at the next level. I look forward to his success and future.”

Not only did Najar leave his mark on the wrestling mat, he also left it on the football field. Coyote assistant football coach Art Bolanos was also on hand when Najar made the commitment to wrestle for the Reivers.

“Gabriel has always been a leader and not a follower throughout his career at RHS,” Bolanos said.

While wearing a Roswell High football uniform, Najar was a threat in the backfield rushing for 1,938 yards on 336 carries and scoring 25 touchdowns. He also had 12 receptions for 137 yards and scored one touchdown. His career ended with 2,120 all-purpose yards. He was a two-time all-state running back.

On the defensive side, Najar had a total of 10 solo tackles and assisted on 20.

Najar also received the Fighting Coyote Award from his teammates and is the most prestigious award given by the RHS football team.

Father Louis Najar Jr. is proud of his son, even though the family will now be traveling 14 hours to see their son in action. They’re confident he will succeed.

“It’s time to take another step in manhood and make it on his own,” Louis Najar Jr. said.