Home Sports Local Sports Goddard wrestling’s quest to return to the top

Goddard wrestling’s quest to return to the top

Goddard had three wrestlers place during the Class 4A state tournament on Thursday. From left: Hector Salvarrey (160 pounds) placed fourth; Devin Spicer-Lucero (285) placed third; and Aidan Werts (170) placed sixth. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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This has been an unusual year to say the least. Nothing has been the same. Not any sport, but at least there are sports this year and championships to contend with. The New Mexico Activities Association has crammed a year of sports in three months. Goddard and Roswell have withstood a lot of emotions to get to this point of their season.

Goddard would have several wrestlers improve on the season. Wrestlers Esmeralda Meraz wrestled at 113 pounds and Kylee Sisneros at 145 pounds, and both 8th graders took fourth place in the district match held at Socorro High School.

On the boys’ side, district runners-up were Garret Langley, a freshman who wrestled at 145 pounds; Julian Morando, a sophomore who wrestled at 152 pounds; and another sophomore, Hector Salvarrey, competing at 160 pounds. Junior Pablo Zaragoza wrestled at 182 pounds, senior Julio Flores battled at 195 pounds. In the heavyweight division, sophomore Devin Spicer-Lucero hit the mat at 285 pounds.

Aidan Werts, a 170-pound sophomore, was the lone district champion for the Rockets. It took him overtime to secure the victory. Goddard competed in a district that included Chaparral, Santa Teresa, Ruidoso and Silver City.

Building on the momentum of district, the Rockets were ready for their toughest battle of the season. A test to end all tests. The state championships held on Thursday.

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Goddard head coach Nick Archuleta, in his fourth year, decided to focus this season on conditioning and did a lot of cardio. “We noticed all season long,” Archuleta said, “how our athletes were able to go the extra mile when it came to conditioning.”

Archuleta said conditioning might see like a normal priority for wrestlers, but with the season reduced to half of what it normally is, conditioning was going to play a factor in how his team did at state.

The team heading into state was hoping they could have placers. With a young team of one senior, one junior, three sophomores and one freshman, there was optimism going into Thursday.

After a grueling day of matches, Goddard looked like the programs of old. They had three placers with heavyweight Spicer-Lucero placing third at 285 pounds, Salvarrey finishing in fourth place after not placing last year, and Aidan Werts in sixth place.

Werts made it to state last year as a freshman but didn’t make it to the second day. He felt good placing as a sophomore. The thing he changed this year was his intensity and attacking on the mat. After Werts was guaranteed a match to place, he ran and threw himself into coach Archuleta’s arms.

“It feels really good,” Werts said. “All of that hard work and effort put into this year. I was determined to place this year and after I did that, I was excited. I plan to work on my shooting and takedowns for next year.”

Salvarrey was ecstatic after he defeated his opponent. That match let him know that he would wrestle for nothing less than third or fourth place.

“It feels great, honestly,” Hector Salvarrey said, “I put in a lot of hard work during the season and to come out and place, it feels great. It feels surreal to actually place as a sophomore.”

Salvarrey said he didn’t make it to state last year, and his goal for next season is to place again.

A jubilant Spicer-Lucero said he dyed his hair purple on top on Tuesday night. He wanted to dye it another color but was afraid it would turn green. Dying his hair different colors is something he has done since last wrestling season, when he wrestled as a freshman.

For Spicer-Lucero to come so far shows how much he has grown as a wrestler and the dedication he has put into it. In the match for third place, he came out aggressively and threw his opponent around the mat before beating him in the second round. One of the keys to his turnaround is that he is another year older, and the work he put in on bottom and top control.

Spicer-Lucero said his main strength was top control. Next year he has moved the bar up. He said he wants to finish first or second. “That was my goal,” Spicer-Lucero said, “my goal was to get top three in the state this year. That’s exactly what I did.”

Archuleta said the season has been going great, even though it was short. He said that his young wrestlers are starting to get up in age to where they are starting to place, and their hard work is starting to show. Last year Goddard had one placer and this year, they have three.

“I’m excited,” Archuleta said. “Next year we have a lot of returners and a lot of strong returners. We have our young athletes that are coming up soon. We lose one senior, and we should be ready.”

Goddard’s Esmeralda Meraz and Kylee Sisneros lost in the consolation round.

RDR Sports will have photos and a story on how the Roswell Coyotes fared at state in a future edition.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.

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