After he defeated the defending state champion to win the state title in the 195-pound weight class at the 4A boys state wrestling championships Feb. 18 at the Rio Rancho Events Center, Moriarty senior Asaiah Kamplain celebrated with an impromptu takedown of his coach, Tim Means.
Kamplain then headed straight to the medical staff to check out his mouth. Near the end of Kamplain’s championship victory, his opponent, Los Alamos’ Teke Nieto, inadvertently headbutted him.
“His head came up a little too high and it went straight into my mouth,” Kamplain said, as a trickle of blood surrounded his front upper teeth. “This one’s a little loose.”
Kamplain cruised through his first three rounds to make it to the final medal round against Neito.
Kamplain had beaten Nieto twice before—once last year and again two weeks ago at the district tournament—which he said gave him “a little boost of confidence.”
In the 195-pound championship round, in the center of the floor at the cavernous arena, Kamplain gave the Moriarty fans plenty to cheer about.
Kamplain and Nieto grappled through a scoreless first period. Nieto grabbed a brief 1-0 lead early in the second period before Kamplain scored a takedown. The score was tied 2-2 at the start of the third period but a minute later Kamplain made an escape move to grab the 3-2 lead. Despite the headbutt to his mouth a moment later, Kamplain held on to capture the state crown with a 3-2 decision victory.
“I just told myself to go out there and wrestle your hardest, keep the points up,” Kamplain said. “I kept moving around and I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna win this.’”
After getting cleared by the medical staff, knowing that he just completed his high school wrestling career as a two-time state champion—he won the state title last year in the 220-pound class—Kamplain added, “I just wanna enjoy the moment, go be with my family and just, you know, take it all in one step at a time.”
Kamplain finished the season with a record of 34-2.
Three members of Moriarty’s boys’ team, David Vaquera (126 pounds), Andres Lopez (132 pounds), and Jonathan Valdez (120 pounds), all placed third in their respective weight classes.
All three got pinned in the semifinals but bounced back in the consolation rounds to advance to the finals.
In the finals, Vaquera pinned his opponent, Alex Coker from Albuquerque Academy, in 22 seconds.
“David Vaquera with a 22-second pin on a kid who beat him earlier in the season by a pin, he just really put a stamp on his senior year,” Means said.
Valdez won his final round on points with an 8-1 decision. Lopez’ final round against an opponent from Bloomfield was a nail-biter. Lopez took an 8-2 lead into the third period, but the Bloomfield wrestler stormed back to tie the match 8-8 with :30 to go. Lopez scored two points with :05 left to win by a 10-8 decision.
“That was a fun match,” Lopez said.
Two other Moriarty grapplers, Jake Herndon (170) and Amare Gonzales (182), placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
“We got to the semifinals and just got spanked, so we had to lick our wounds, come back in the consolation, and everybody flat out stepped up. I couldn’t be more proud of the fight these kids put forward and where we ended this tournament,” Means said, adding, “This is going to be a solid, solid program in the next couple years and we’re already making noise now.”
Two members of Moriarty’s girls’ team qualified for the girls’ state championships on Feb. 19 at the Rio Rancho Events Center and both took home medals. Jolie Chavez (100 pounds) won her first two rounds to advance to the championship round before coming up short, taking home a second-place medal. Molly Apodaca (126) won her first match, lost her second match but rebounded to win her third match for a third-place finish.