RIO RANCHO — After years of coming up just short, Orin Kennedy is going out a state champion.

Bloomfield's 220-pound wrestler came away with a third-round pin over Tucumcari's Rudy Vallejo to secure Bloomfield's only individual state championship.

"It has been a lot of work. I felt great dropping down to 220 this year and finally being able to wrestle my real weight," Kennedy said. "More than anything, it was great to have a real team behind me and cheering me on the whole way this year. We finally had a team."

Kennedy suffered through an ankle injury in the early part of the season, but he credited Bloomfield head coach Greg Shoemaker for working him back gradually so he could peak at the right time.

Kennedy had placed fifth as a sophomore in 4A and second in the 4A 285 pound division as a junior.

"All those years falling short here and there. It feels so good to finally bring this one home," he said.

In one of the two best matches of the entire New Mexico state wrestling tournament, Bloomfield's 132-pound Troy Rightmire came up just short in a four overtime thriller.

Rightmire fought with every ounce he had, but one escape point in the fourth overtime gave Silver's Shawn Debuskis a 2-1 victory

"I have never wrestled that much. Nothing can compare to it. Not even a three-hour practice," Rightmire said.

Rightmire, who is affectionately nicknamed "Tough" by his Bloomfield teammates, certainly backed up his moniker Saturday.


He wrestled through an injured knee, and after the match showed bruising and blood all over his face.

"I couldn't give up. I came this far," Rightmire said. "All those practices and tournaments, there was no turning back. I told myself Suck it up and finish the match.'"

Despite the loss, Rightmire was pleased with his performance. It would have been impossible not to be.

"I am proud of myself. I was proud when I reached the finals because it was better than last year," he said.

Bloomfield placed sixth in the tournament with 108.5 points.

St. Michael's was the state champ with 204 points, finishing ahead of Silver, who had 198.

Shiprock took eighth place with 32 team points.