After a one-year hiatus due to Covid, the Lady Pintos Round-Robin wrestling tournament and the Pinto Duals tournament returned to Moriarty on Jan. 7-8, respectively.

Moriarty’s boys came out on top in the Pinto Duals tournament with 10 schools competing. Moriarty’s girls placed fourth in the seven-school Round Robin tournament.

During the Jan. 8 duals, Moriarty’s grapplers cruised through their first four rounds, beating Socorro, Eldorado, Gallup, and Pojoaque to set up a showdown with Las Vegas’ Robertson Cardinals for the championship.

Through the first few matches of the finale, Moriarty and Robertson were in a standoff. Moriarty’s Jaden Astorga-Bohanon, at 160 pounds, pinned his opponent in the first period. Robertson responded with a couple of pins to even things up.

Midway through the dual, in the closing seconds of the third period of his match, Amare Gonzales, a 182-pounder, flipped his opponent, got the pin—along with a roar from the home crowd—and the momentum shifted to the Pintos.

“I knew I had to push through and come up with the win,” Gonzales said. “I had to be the bigger dog.”

Moriarty’s head coach, Tim Means, echoed the canine accolade.

“Amare’s a dog, he doesn’t stop fighting,” Means said. “That was the game changer there, to get the momentum in our favor—once you get the momentum, you keep it.”

Asaiah Kamplain and Cody Helms followed with pins, David Vaquera went the distance in his match and won on points, and the Pintos won their home tournament for the first time since Means took the helm.

“Yeah, we beat a good team in Robertson, they’re very tough,” Means said. “We did really well, I think this is a good starting point.”

“It was pretty cool, I had a blast,” added Kamplain, a 195-pounder who won the 2021 Class 4A state title in the 220-pound weight class. “Always fun to get a pin in front of the home crowd.”

In the Jan. 7 girls Round-Robin tournament, the Lady Pintos were hampered by injuries but won three first-place awards that helped power the team to a fourth-place finish.

The Lady Pintos came into the tournament missing Cora Zeisloft, one of their top wrestlers, who suffered an ankle injury last month.

During the tournament, Molly Apodaca hurt her leg during an early match.

Moriarty’s Mia Saiz during the Lady Pintos Round-Robin wrestling tournament, Jan. 7, 2022. Photo by Ger Demarest.

“I got stuck in a bad position and jacked up my knee,” Apodaca said. “I still won the match, but I was in so much pain I just couldn’t finish.”

Moriarty’s three girls who won first-place medals were Alana Garcia, Jolie Chavez, and Lydia Gabaldon.

“It feels so great,” Garcia said.

“She absolutely killed it,” Moriarty girls head coach Brenda Gonzales-Means said about Garcia, adding, “Jolie was awesome. Lydia, she’s a freshman, first year wrestling, she’s also doing awesome, and I believe Molly would’ve won a first-place medal. The girls are showing improvement every time they step on that mat.”