With regular season play entering the final two weeks of the regular season, conference matchups carry even more weight and our San Luis Valley update gets you caught up on the most important results. The same for wrestling as those competitors take part in the regional tournaments this week with qualifiers heading to the state meet the following week.
Our report is presented each Wednesday by State Farm Agent Torben Walters and Stone Farm Supply.
The Centauri Falcons continued a bounceback from their lone loss of the season, with another pair of wins this weekend to improve to 14-1 on the season. After a dominant 60-29 win over IML rival Alamosa, the Falcons took down Buena Vista from the Tri-Peaks League 41-29 on Saturday. Baron and Chaz Holman were big for Centauri on both nights, combining for 25 against Alamosa and 23 against Buena Vista.
For the Mean Moose, they were held to just 31 percent from the field, and only grabbed six rebounds in the loss compared to 33 for Centauri. The loss was the first in league for Alamosa, and they were able to shrug it off on Saturday, dominating Bayfield to the tune of a 62-36 victory to wrap up the homestand. Alamosa will get another chance at Centauri on the road on the 15th, but first will focus on an important matchup with Montezuma Cortez on Saturday as they wrap up IML play. Centauri on the other hand, will travel to Sanford for a rivalry game with the Indians before hosting Pagosa and traveling to Bayfield on a busy weekend.
The Sanford boys are continuing their strong play this year, moving to 11-3 on the season with a 61-55 win over Escalante (NM) last Tuesday before edging out Crested Butte 43-37 to improve to 4-0 in league play. Tuesday’s matchup with Centauri will keep the roll of difficult opponents going, and it doesn’t get easier over the weekend, with a road game at Ignacio coming up, as well as league games with a dangerous pair in Center and Del Norte to close out the year.
Del Norte is continuing their roll on the season, as they moved to 3-1 in 2A Southern Peaks League play with a convincing 70-17 win over Sargent where Ben Parra dropped 25 points in the win. That came after dropping their first league game of the year on Tuesday to Crested Butte, with the Titans holding the Tigers to only 39 points, one of only two times this year the offense has been held to below 40. Monte Vista, South Park, and Center are coming up this week, as the Tigers will play six games in the next two weeks to get ready for districts.
The Vikings are going into this week looking to rebound from a week they missed a few chances during. A win over South Park started things strong, but a pair of losses to Custer County (66-45) and Monte Vista (40-34) snapped a four game winning streak and moved them to 2-3 in Southern Peaks play. This week began well with a 60-45 win at home against Trinidad, but the Vikings will be looking for wins over Crested Butte and Del Norte this week, before their lone game with Sanford to wrap up the regular season next week.
Monte Vista is entering the penultimate week of the regular season on a bit of a roll. Although they are only 5-8 overall, the Pirates have won their last three and are 2-1 in league action. The only loss in league came to Sanford, and with Del Norte opening this week for the Pirates, they have a chance to secure a good seed in the district tournament if they can get through the Tigers and the Crested Butte Titans. After that, their remaining league opponents would be Sargent and Trinidad, who between the two of them have only managed four wins this season.
At the 1A level, the Southern Peaks league is becoming a three team race, which could become a one team race after this week. At the top, with both teams 2-0 in league standings, are Sierra Grande and Centennial, although the overall records of 13-0 and 5-7 tell a different story.
The Sierra Grande Panthers only had one score reported for this week after their game with Cheraw was postponed due to the winter storm that went through the area. They did handle Cotopaxi 64-32 at home, and now will focus on league games for the rest of the season, starting with Moffat this week, before taking on Sangre de Cristo and Centennial over the weekend.
The Rams will be entering Saturday’s game after taking on Creede on Tuesday, in what is a very important game for the league standings. The Miners come into the game with a 4-1 league record, with the only loss to the undefeated Panthers. A win would give Creede the tiebreaker and almost assure them at 5-1 in league play of a second place finish. A win for Centennial would mean their game on Saturday with Sierra Grande would be a quintessential league championship game, although the Rams would still have a contest to win with Moffat next week in the final regular season game of the year. Creede on the other hand, only has Lake City remaining on their league schedule, with will play Manzanola and Cotopaxi as they look for help in the RPI closing out the year.
Beyond the top three, the bottom of the league has been disappointing, with Moffat, Lake City, and Sangre de Cristo all winless in league action, and Antonito standing at 1-3 in the middle of the seven team league, and among the four of them, only five total wins.
In a bit of a shocker, the Centauri Falcons pulled off a 14 point win over the Alamosa Mean Moose to throw the IML girls standings into confusion entering the final two weeks of the season. The 52-38 win for the Falcons came after they were outscored 10-4 in the first quarter, but they held Alamosa to single digits in both the third and fourth quarters and forced 25 turnovers in the game, with 11 coming off of steals to close it out. Abbey Smith’s 20 points led the way for Centauri, and the Mean Moose couldn’t get any players into double digits, with Mary Masias leading the team with nine points on three of ten shooting. Centauri also broke away thanks to shooting 47 percent from three point land, going eight of 17 from beyond the arc.
The Mean Moose took the frustration out on Bayfield on Saturday to the tune of a 61-8 win, and are probably licking their chops for the second chance at Centauri on Tuesday the 15th, but they can’t look too far ahead, with an important game against Montezuma Cortez in an always difficult road trip to the four corners.
Centauri meanwhile, used the momentum from their win to roll over the Buena Vista Demons 51-14 on Saturday as they improved to 9-6 overall on the season. Their rivalry with Sanford picks up again this week after the game was rescheduled from earlier in the season, and they will also host Pagosa Springs on Friday in another important league game, with the Pirates needing some help to earn a league title as they sit behind Alamosa and Centauri at 5-2, with a pair of losses to Alamosa and a win over Centauri in the first matchup of the season.
The Centauri/Sanford game will be yet another good test for the Falcons, with the Indians entering the midweek contest after an impressive win just a week earlier over Escalante (NM) 62-58. Asia Caldon went six of 11 from the field and the Indians shot 53 percent from three, all while stealing the ball 12 times to help steal a win on the road against a 14 win Lobos team. Centauri is just the beginning of a difficult stretch for Sanford, with a very important game with Sargent looming on Thursday, a road trip to Ignacio on Friday and then a home game with the Pagosa Springs Pirates next Tuesday. The Indians have six games in the final two weeks of the regular season for a busy road into districts.
Speaking of Thursday’s game with Sargent, the Farmers continued their season of strong play with wins over La Veta, Mancos, and Del Norte last week to improve to 12-2 this year. In fact, the Farmers haven’t lost a game since December 4th, and are winning both the blowouts and the close games, including their 55-53 win over the Bluejays on Friday. Gabby Jones went off for 21 points in the win, and the Farmers did it with almost no presence from beyond the three point line, going one of nine in the game. They did do it with passing though, helped by five of the team’s 16 assists from Kamryn Holland. The Farmers will take on South Park and Trinidad this week along with Sanford, and have Monte Vista and Custer County on the schedule as well to round out the final two weeks as it is a league heavy final stretch for them.
Del Norte is hoping for a bit more confusion up at the top of the standings, as they sit in third currently with a 3-1 record in 2A Southern Peaks play. Their lone loss did come to Sargent their last time out on Saturday, but they did go 1-1 on the week with a league win over Crested Butte before that. They face an important matchup with Monte Vista this week, as the Pirates enter play at 2-1 in league play, just behind the Tigers, but better then them in overall record, with Del Norte at 6-7 and Monte entering at 8-6.
The Pirates are also entering the game with momentum after winning their rematch with Center 40-34 on Saturday after taking down Custer County 48-21 earlier in the week. The game with Monte Vista leads into a quiet week for the Pirates, as they won’t see action again after Tuesday until taking on Sargent and Trinidad on the 18th and 19th.
The Center Vikings responded well to the loss to Monte Vista with a win on Monday against Trinidad, taking down the Miners 36-23 to get back to 3-3 in league play, and 8-7 overall. Crested Butte and Sanford are the only remaining league games, but the Vikings are looking for some RPI help as well, with games against Del Norte (second game, but a non-league matchup) and Sangre de Cristo on the horizon as well.
In the 1A Southern Peaks, things are starting to shape up for a fun stretch run, with several teams looking to have something to say about the eventual champion. The favorite has to be Sangre de Cristo, with the Thunderbirds entering the final two weeks at 10-2, although they have only played one league game to this point. The Thunderbirds head through Lake City, Sierra Grande, and Moffat this week, and will take on Antonito in the final game of the season next week as they make the push through the final few weeks.
The lone win for Sangre de Cristo came against the number two team in the league for overall record, taking down Centennial to close out January. The Rams since then have picked up a win against John Mall, but fell to Kim/Branson in a tight 32-30 loss. The Rams matched the Mustangs almost stat for stat, but only went 4-7 at the free throw line in the loss. They will take on Sierra Grande in a big league game on Saturday, and close out their league schedule on the 19th against Moffat.
The Sierra Grande Panthers enter the week at only 5-7 on the season, but are sitting at 1-0 in league play, with four league games coming up in the next seven days. It starts with Moffat, then progresses to Sangre de Cristo, Centennial, and Lake City. Sierra Grande has been a hot and cold team all season long, but is entering the final two weeks with a bit more of a hot hand after defeating Cotopaxi 45-27 at home over the weekend. The Panthers only shot 22 percent from the field, but made up for that in volume, getting up 63 shots, with 58 of those coming from the two point variety.
Behind the three teams fighting for the league title sits Antonito, who snapped a three game skid with a win over Lake City on Saturday. The Trojans have only played seven games this year, winning only a pair, but their most impressive feat comes from their center Shiinei Tallman, who continues to average 21 rebounds a game through the seven contests, and is putting up 14 points inside, and has only been held to under 20 rebounds twice this season (15 vs Dove Creek, 18 vs Cotopaxi).
There weren’t a whole lot of varsity competitions for the San Luis Valley last weekend, as many teams are using the time to prepare for regional tournaments this weekend in the final push for state.
Center took the early highlight with a second place showing at the Crowley County Charger Invitational, finishing with 105 team points.
Jordan Duran continued what has been a very impressive sophomore year with a runner up finish at 106, moving to 30-6 on the year. At 132, Aaron Valadez took third over John Holland of Swink, and Lorenzo Trujillo placed third at 152. Martin Palma joined Duran as a runner up finisher at 170, improving to 28-16 during his freshman year, and sophomore Jesus Valadez took second at 182, as he moved to 35-12. Omar Hernandez was able to get third at 220 to round out the Viking medalists.
La Veta was also present with a few of their varsity, and watched Thomas Trujillo take third at 120, moving to 11-9 during his sophomore season.Brayden Nix also showed his strength, going 4-1 in the round robin at 152 to take second. Chris Williams would ake fourth behind Center’s Hernandez, and Tobin Parker also earned at fourth place finish for the Redhawks.
Younger locals from the San Luis Valley converged on Blanca for the Sierra Grande Panther Invite on Friday, and Alamosa would tie for the top team with Trinidad in a limited field of nust nine schools. Monte Vista took home fourth and La Veta finished just behind in fifth. Del Norte’s seventh was ahead of Sargent and Sierra Grande/Centennial who brought up the rear of the field.
The field was limited, as many teams were using the week for final preparations for regional competition this weekend.
Sargent sophomore Matthew Voss took the title at 113 pounds in the round robin, finishing ahead of Braiden Madril of Alamosa in second and Monte Vista’s Ethan Wolfe in third.
Another round robin at 120 saw Malachi Gallegos continue a strong senior year, moving to 27-5 with a first place victory. Jace Morgan of Alamosa took second at 126 and at 138, Monte Vista’s Jeremiah Baumgardner took home silver as well, just ahead of Donovan Valdez of Alamosa. Monte Vista also saw Hunter Pacheco take second at 145 pounds.
At 170, Wyatte McLehaney of Del Norte topped the podium ahead of Dominic Martinez of Alamosa, and at 182, it would be CJ Nix of Sierra Grande just being edged out by Drew Johnson of Salida for the title.
La Veta watched Chris Williams move to 17-7 at 220 pounds with a title, finishing ahead of Monte Vista’s Matthew Wright and Alamosa’s Erik Celis, who took second and third respectively.
Centauri used the week to earn a convincing win over Bayfield in dual action, taking the victory 63-16, but only sent their JV out this weekend, with the varsity getting ready for regionals at Del Norte on Friday and Saturday.
The Falcon JV was on the road at the Western Slope JV Wrestling Championships, and of the seven wrestlers there for Centauri, four finished in the top three. Manny Lucero took first at the combined weights of 182/195, and Parker Buhr placed first at 132. Third place finishes went to Ayden Romero at 120 and Troy Munson at 132, and fourth place finishes were attained by Landon Hales at 126 and Grady Hossetter at 170.
This week, regional tournaments have been set, and most valley teams will be in Del Norte at the 2A Region 2 tournament, where Centauri is the favorite to take the title. Also there will be Center, Del Norte, Monte Vista, Sargent, and Sierra Grande/Centennial.
Alamosa will be the only team from the valley going elsewhere, with Western Colorado University the site for them at the 3A Region 1 tournament.