Moriarty High School’s boys wrestling team hosted four other schools on May 7 for the Moriarty Quad meet.
Last month the New Mexico Activities Association briefly pumped the brakes on the start of the already-postponed high school wrestling season due to Covid-19. Since last year, the NMAA has classified wrestling as a high-risk sport due to the possibility of exposure to respiratory droplets during the close contact inherent in wrestling.
But the NMAA pushed forward and gave the green light—and high school wrestling is underway.
In last week’s Moriarty Quad meet, each high school that competed—Gallup’s Miyamura High School, Gallup High School, Belen, Socorro, and the host Pintos—wrestled against the four other schools in three-round matches.
All competitors adhered to the NMAA’s Covid guidelines—masks were worn throughout, and competitors shared a congratulatory fist bump after each bout instead of the customary handshake or hug.
The Pintos came up a little short in their opening matchup against Belen, as several Moriarty wrestlers got pinned in the first period of their matches.
“We need to be a little more disciplined,” Moriarty head coach Tim Means said. “It showed in that first match against Belen, 100 percent.”
A few of Moriarty’s grapplers made it through their three rounds against Belen before losing on points.
But one of the bright spots in the first match was Asaiah Kamplain, competing in the 220-pound weight class, who took down his Belen opponent to capture the Pintos’ first win of the night.
Moriarty fared a little better in its match against Miyamura. The Pintos also had good showings against Gallup and Socorro.
Against Miyamura, Kamplain secured his second pin of the night. Moments later, Moriarty’s Nick Sanders, in the 285-class, handily pinned his opponent in 22 seconds.
“I think I did all right,” Sanders said about his performance, noting that he’s wrestling with a sore ankle and doesn’t feel like he gets enough oxygen wearing a mask while competing. But he added, “All in all, it was a good day.”
The Pintos dialed it up a notch in their matchups against Gallup and Socorro.
Branden Fowner, at 113, took his opponent down in 15 seconds for his first pin of the night, and then followed that performance by pinning his Socorro opponent.
“It was amazing, that’s for sure,” Fowner said about following his first two losses with convincing pins. “It was unexpected but, you know, wrestling’s a charter of the unknown, anything can happen. I was a little sluggish at the beginning, that was definitely on my end, but as soon as I picked up the pace, I was wrestling good matches. To finish on some pins was the best way I could’ve ended the night.”
Kamplain got his third pin of the night against a Gallup opponent, and then with no one from Socorro in his weight class, he won his final match by forfeit to stay undefeated on the season.
“I feel like I did great today,” Kamplain said. “Against the Gallup kid I felt like I coulda done some moves a little better, but other than that, I feel like I wrestled pretty solid.”
“Asaiah’s one of our work horses and he sets the tone for us, absolutely. He’s our team leader,” Means said about Kamplain.
Means added that the team is missing some wrestlers, and that affected the team’s performance. He also said he has a few grapplers who are brand new to the sport.
“We have a lot of green kids who are wrestling to their skillset right now, so I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Means said, adding, “All in all, I thought they took a whooping in the first match, but they came back, licked their wounds, they got back to basics and they wrestled their butts off all night to be honest.” Means’ wife, Brenda Gonzales-Means, coaches Moriarty’s girls wrestling team. The girls squad competed at Socorro on May 8, and travel to Aztec on May 14 for the Annual Aztec High School Girls tournament.