Pueblo Wrestling competed in the annual TUSD William Bell Tournament on December 2nd & 3rd. They finished 3rd as a Team and went 7-1 overall. Here are the dual results:
Tucson 33-40 (Lost)
CDO 37-34 (Won)
Desert View 39-32 (Won)
San Manuel 60-18 (Won)
Catalina 75-0 (Won)
Nogales 67-12 (Won)
Santa Rita 72-6 (Won)
Salpointe 45-25 (Won)
Here are the individual results:
Cesar Labrado was 3rd @ 106
Juan Campista was 5th @ 113
Nick Gallegos was 5th @ 120
Brian Lujan was 1st @ 126 (Champion)
Fernando Esquer was 5th @ 132
Sammy Sierra was 2nd @ 145
Zack Espinoza was 6th @ 152
Juvanny Esquivel was 1st @ 160 (Champion)
Dominick Carrillo was 2nd @ 170
Billy Bertsch was 2nd @ 182
Omar Ibanez was 3rd @ 220
After 25 years as Pueblo’s Wrestling Coach (2 as an assistant under John Mulay), Steve Lopez decided to step down at the end of the 2015-2016. With our wrestling season starting today, we want to show how much we appreciate his service & dedication to our school by publishing an interview we conducted with him on June 3, 2016.
Q: What motivated you to get into coaching?
Coach Lopez: I wanted to coach because I loved the sport of wrestling and what it taught me.
Q: Can you share some of your first memories of coaching at Pueblo?
Coach Lopez: I remember that it was hard. Teaching and motivating kids was hard but yet fun. You get closer to your athletes than you do in any other sport.
Q: Can you explain your coaching philosophy?
Coach Lopez: My philosophy is and will always be, get [the kids] to trust you and like you, then love the sport, then they will move mountains for you.
Q: Can you share some your highs & lows as a coach?
Learning how to coach, being patient, losing and losing bad at times and the kids being disappointed at you for no reason, those were some of the lows. Having a string of successes, wining multiple region titles and a state title & coaching my son would have to be up there as highs.
Q: Please share some of your most memorable moment(s) of your coaching experience?
Coach Lopez: Winning a state title and my son being a part of it. Coaching a bunch of fine young men and still having some of them in my life as I have grown older.
Q: What will you miss most about coaching especially the start of next season?
Coach Lopez: I will miss the grind. Hanging out everyday with these boys and motivating them and encouraging them to do their best. Telling them they will be better young men for doing this, participating in the hardest sport.\
Q: How did you know it was time to walk away from coaching?
Coach Lopez: I knew it was time because we have the guys here and in place to take over and are poised to do a great job. No better place to leave [program] in the hands of other former Pueblo Wrestling State champs who love the sport.
Q: Any advice to future coaches here at Pueblo?
Coach Lopez: Continue to motivate guys to do their best and never give up.
Q: Is there anyone you want to thank for their support of your coaching career or the program?
Coach Lopez: Thank you to Dr. Richardson for hiring me at first, Mr. Nuñez who supported me for many years, Frank R. for always supporting me in every way possible, Ms. Rimmell who supported us from start to finish, and many teachers and administrators who were always there. You have always been a fan and have supported the wrestling program. For that I am indebted to you. Ms. Boone has always been there to support. So many, many people…
Q: How will you spend you free time now?
Coach Lopez: I will probably volunteer and help. I will spend more time with my family and my new granddaughter Callie, working on my Lowrider and just enjoying my time.
On behalf of the entire Pueblo Family: Thank you Coach!
This past weekend, the Warrior Wrestling team participated in the TUSD William Bell Wrestling Tournament.
As a team, Pueblo ended up with a 5 win, 3 loss tournament record, which was not bad considering we fielded only 10 out of 14 possible wrestling weight classes. Pueblo ended up in 7th place out of 15 teams and qualified 6 wrestlers for the individual mini- tournament. In this part of the tournament, we finished in 4th place with those 6 wrestlers.
We are very proud of the performance these young men gave and are anticipating an excellent season, especially when we get back some key wrestlers in January. Sadly, Anthony Montiel dislocated his shoulder and will not be able to continue. He was undefeated in his 4th match when it happened and ended up with a 3-1 record.
Congratulations to following wrestlers:
220- George Majuta (Jr)
195- Miguel Moreno (Jr)
285- Ares Benitez (Jr)
113- Nick Gallegos (So)
The other young men who also wrestled and did well are;
126- Matt Luna (Jr)
145- Lazaro Tovar-Fimbres (Jr)
152- Billy Bertsch (So)
170- Anthony Montiel (Sr)
Pueblo Wrestling traveled to Nogales for a wrestling match. Last year it came to the final match where our heavyweight had to pin his opponent in order for us to win by 1 point, which he did. Two weeks later Nogales returned the favor by beating us soundly at the William Bell Tournament.
We have a young but very promising team this year, so we were confident, but still untested. We also didn’t have our 106 and 113 pounders, who won’t be able to wrestle until this Friday.
Right away, the score was 12 to 0 because of the 2 forfeits. The next match at 120lbs, was Christian Felix, who pinned his opponent in :52 and gave us 6pts. Michael Laborin won his next match by forfeit, tying the team score at 12 to 12. Team Captain Mark Martinez made it 18 to 12-Pueblo, with pin in 1:23. Freshman, Anthony Rivera showed promise, but suffered his 1st defeat, and the score was now tied again at 18 to 18. Seasoned wrestler Ruben Rendon was awarded a forfeit at 145lbs, making the score 24 -18 Pueblo. Senior, Jonathan Valencia then made it 30 to 18 by pinning his opponent with 3 seconds left in the match at the 152lb weight class. Christopher Tequida, who is a first year wrestler and has a lot of potential, faced a state placer and lost in the 2nd period to experience. The score at this point is Pueblo 30, Nogales 24.
With 5 matches remaining and 30 points available for the taking, the outcome was still in doubt. Sophomore Anthony Montiel and 2nd year wrestler, pinned his man in 4:21 seconds to increase Pueblo’s lead to 36 -24. At 182lbs, First year wrestler David Henriquez wrestled to a 10-10 tie, but lost in the overtime period by two points making the score Pueblo 36, Nogales 27.
With 3 matches remaining and two of our wrestlers being first timers there was still a little doubt as to the outcome, but Lawrence Michael pinned his opponent in 3:06! Pueblo 42, Nogales 27. At this point, there was no possible way Nogales could catch us. Sean Berube won at 220lbs by forfeit and Senior Nick Rojas, pinned his man in the 2nd period to arrive at our final score of 54 to 27!
If Alvaro Gallego could eat anything, he’d probably stop by McDonald’s or Burger King, grab a couple of cheeseburgers and a bag of french fries and enjoy a hearty meal with his friends.
But, that’s not happening anytime soon.
For now, it’s oatmeal in the morning, a few pieces of chicken for lunch and vegetables for dinner. Oh yeah, he also has a few cups of water with his meals.
“I really miss the fast food,” Gallego said, laughing. “And to make it worse, my friends always eat it right in front of me.”
Gallego, a senior at Pueblo, will get his burgers and fries soon enough.
First, there’s a state championship to win.
As a junior, Gallego went 35-4 and finished second at 103 pounds in the Division II state meet. This year, he’s chasing a state title at 106 pounds and closely monitoring his diet to stay in his weight class.
He’s already 29-0 this season and has won championships at the William Bell Invitational and the Phoenix Moon Valley Invitational.
“Right now, I haven’t lost yet and I’m just trying to get better each match,” Gallego said. “An undefeated season and a state championship would be the perfect way to go out.”
Here’s a closer look at Gallego’s road to becoming one of the top wrestlers in the state.
Memories: Gallego first stepped onto a wrestling mat as a fourth-grader and finished second in state his first full year. He was hoping for a first-place finish as a fifth-grader but instead had a disappointing season and he quit wrestling after the season.
Quotable: “I really liked the sport. But, I started losing in fifth grade and didn’t do well at state and didn’t want to do it anymore. I felt like I had dedicated myself to wrestling and it ended horribly. I was mad and had the mentality that I didn’t want to do it anymore.”
Big finish: Gallego took seventh at state his fifth-grade year before walking away from the sport.
Memories: Still upset with his finish in fifth grade, Gallego didn’t wrestle or play any sports in middle school. Instead, the fun-spirited Gallego hung out with his friends and focused on doing well in school.
Quotable: “I thought I was too cool for sports. I wanted to be the cool guy, so I just did nothing.”
Big finish: Gallego was in touch with Pueblo coach Steve Lopez by the end of his eighth-grade year and knew he was ready to get back on the wrestling mat as a freshman in high school and wrestle for Lopez and the Warriors.
Memories: Gallego wrestled junior varsity his freshman season because he “was only 70 pounds and wasn’t allowed on varsity yet.” He got his weight up to 86 pounds as a sophomore, his first year on varsity, and eventually 103 as a junior, when he broke out with his 35-4 season.
Quotable: “They just told me to keep eating and I’d get there sooner or later. They had me lifting weights and working out and I gained about 10 pounds each year. It seemed like I would eat whatever I wanted and still wouldn’t gain any weight. Now, that I’m there, I have to control it.”
Big finish: As the No. 2 seed at 103 pounds, Gallego took out Nogales’ Juan Dorame in the semifinals, before dropping a 9-7 decision to Moon Valley’s Mikah Trejo in the finals.
Memories: Gallego was named the wrestler of the tournament at the William Bell Invitational one day after his grandmother, Olga Rosales, passed away. Gallego wrote her name on his headgear during the final day of competition and dedicated the tournament win to her.
Quotable: “It’s been a great year so far, but it’s all about state. My mom has never seen me wrestle in person. She only watches the videos and still gets nervous even though she knows I win. So, I really, really want her to come to state this year and hopefully she can watch me win a state championship.”
Big finish: That’s still to be determined. This year’s Division II state meet in Prescott Valley is set for Feb. 10-11. Gallego, ranked No. 1 in the state at 106 pounds by Azwrestler.com, will likely be the favorite in his weight class.
This past weekend, the Wrestling Warriors competed at Cholla High School for the annual TUSD William Bell Invitational. Pueblo has won this tournament for the past 9 years, but that streak came to an end on Saturday. Our wrestlers had the heart, but our youth and inexperience showed. Nevertheless, there were some bright spots!
Alvaro Gallego & Gabe Estillore were champions in their respective weight class, keeping alive, their goal to become State champions! Alvaro was also chosen as the Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament at 106 lbs. Geo Armendariz & Vinson Herrera also did well finishing 2nd & 3rd, respectively.
Also placing 5th in the tournament were Ruben Rendon (132), Luis Laguna (145), Andres Valles (195) and placing 6th were Anthony Montiel (152), & John Grijalva (220).
Congratulations go out to these young men and thank you for the awesome ride this past decade!