In just his third year at the helm, Roswell wrestling coach Jesse Boggs knows what it’s like to transfer his hunger to succeed into his wrestlers. His first season, he had five wrestlers place in the state. Last season, he had three wrestlers do the same.
This is a new season with a young team trying to replace the likes of Gabe Najar, Eddie Macias and Christian Sanchez from last year, to name a few. What the former academic All-American wrestler is looking for in his wrestlers is 1 percent. That 1 percent is the desire to get better in every aspect of their wrestling every time they hit the mat, whether that be in a match or in practice.
What Boggs is trying to do is instill — in his young team filled with some eighth-graders and freshmen — that 1 percent philosophy. What that means is the desire to get 1 percent better at technique, conditioning and wrestling. The average of his team is sophomores this season.
“I want our guys to get 1 percent better every day,” Boggs said. “To do that, it is going to require something of them, and that means they have to push themselves. By the time state rolls around, they are going to be that much tougher. I tell my guys that if you’re wrestling, that winning comes with it.
“My expectations,” Boggs said, “is for these guys to progress and to take 12 guys to state this year. We’re in a tough district but we can take 12 guys to state.”
Roswell district this year with reclassification includes Hobbs, Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Roswell.
Boggs feels that if his wrestlers can incorporate that 1 percent desire to do the work and get better, by the time district and state roll around, his team will be in the hunt to win titles. Boggs knows to get that attitude, it has to be athletes in the program that were drivers and winners, so his wrestlers know what it looks like and have seen victory from standing atop a podium at the highest levels. Boggs counted on having the strong senior leadership of Michael and Nicholas Hernandez in his first season. His message then, as now, was to have a pace pusher.
Boggs would know because he was a three-time state champion at Deming in the heavyweight division, winning titles in 2003, ‘04 and ‘05. Then he earned a scholarship to Dana College by placing eighth in the nation at Senior Nationals to become an All-American. In college at Dana, he was part of a team that won the national championship. Boggs transferred to New Mexico Highlands where he was a two-time All-Academic All-American.
On Saturday, Roswell wrestled in the Pinto Duels. It was a 12-team, four-pool event. Roswell wrestled the four teams in their pool and where they finished allowed them to be placed in a bracket with a chance to wrestle for first place.
The wrestling match was highlighted by Roswell’s Xavier Hernandez, Jaymon Cherinko and Nathaniel Sanchez, who all went undefeated in their weight class Saturday. Roswell finished fourth overall against 12 teams.
Roswell’s first match was against Moriarty where they won, 45-35. Heavyweight Rubio Nichols pinned the heavyweight from Moriarty whom he had lost to earlier in the season.
Next, Roswell wrestled Los Lunas junior varsity and won, 40-33, as Nathan Sanchez pinned his opponent.
“He’s really improved,” coach Boggs said. “He’s come along way. He started out as an eighth-grader at 108 and now as a junior, he wrestles at 152. He’s put on the weight and a lot of muscle, which is really good. In his match, he exhibited takedown prowess. “He wrestled really well and showed great finishing skills. He has improved his strength and his ability to shoot.”
Boggs has been impressed with eighth-grader Kelvin Alarcon. Boggs likes that he is not afraid to wrestle.
In Roswell’s next match, they faced Socorro, where the Coyotes fell just short, losing 45-30. Roswell was missing three weights out of the 14 that were eligible to compete. Since they had no one to wrestle, they had to give up 18 points, which cost them the match in the end.
Roswell then wrestled Robertson and bounced back, 34-21. Dominic Sedillo got a pin for the Coyotes. In the last match, they wrestled Manzano and lost, 30-24.
Once again, the missing weights hurt the Coyotes. Canaan Peralta bumped up in weight class to 182 instead of his usual 170, helping out the team on the day Roswell went 3-2 as a team.
“It is a good place to be in January,” Boggs said. “Right now we want to fix the small things that are wrong. It’s about fine-tuning and getting in shape and making it so that it is obsolete when February comes along. There is some learning that is taking place right now. We are at the beginning of the downhill part of the season because it is finals in February. We go to district and state.”
In his first season, Boggs was trying to instill his philosophy. In that year he wanted to establish discipline and guidelines for his talented wrestlers. He felt like they needed his calming influence that year. Now, he’s trying to build his philosophy into becoming better men and pushing themselves to try to do better.
“Even though we’re young,” Boggs said, “it is exciting to watch them grow. I would like to see us place in the top five this year at state. I love that wrestling is individual and it is up to each of the boys when they get on the mat. As a coach, I have to push them as hard as I can, but it comes down to them and that’s internal. In wrestling, you’re not letting your coach or team down — you’re letting yourself down. I try to get our guys to get that mindset.”
Roswell has seven more wrestling matches before district. They will have a triangular meet with Goddard and Belen on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.