RIO RANCHO — Coming into the 3A state wrestling tournament, Cobre and Silver were viewed as the favorites, but Bloomfield made a statement on the opening day that they're a team to be reckoned with.
The Bobcats scored 72 points as a team on Friday to take a lead into the final day of the tournament at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho.
Bloomfield will have 11 of their 14 wrestlers vie for spots in the championship when the semifinals begin today.
"If we're to have a shot at Cobre, we can't make mistakes," Bloomfield head coach Greg Shoemaker said. "We just have to come out loose and get after it. I think we're ready to finish this thing."
As a team, Bloomfield won 16 matches, with 15 coming by fall. The bonus points for the victory via pin were something the Bobcats were focused on coming into the tournament.
"That's where we were pushing it. We weren't going to settle for decisions," Shoemaker said.
Corbin Nelson (106) and Levi Whitley (113) started the Bobcats off on the right foot with victories in the lower weight classes.
Timothy Krielick (126) and Jacob Spencer (138) had preliminary matches to make their way to the quarterfinals in the 10-wrestler brackets.
Each earned a victory via fall and then backed it up with a second fall to reach the semifinals.
"We haven't had a championship in a lot of years," Spencer said. "We have a lot guys who haven't been to state, but to come out here and work hard, I'm so proud of my team. It's just awesome. This is perfect."
Troy Rightmire (145) and Tristan Trujillo (182) joined Krielick and Spencer with a pair a victories to reach the semifinals.
Alex Portillo (152), J.D. Robinson (160), Paul Jaramillo (195), David DeHerrera (220) and Lorenzo LaMere (285) all opened their tournaments in the quarterfinal round and each picked up a win via fall to advance to the semifinals today.
"I think the team is doing good. We're working well together," Robinson said. "All we need to do is keep it up and finish the tournament. We want to win the 3A state tournament and bring it back to Bloomfield."
Cobre and Silver are right on the Bobcats' tail with 65.5 and 65 points, respectively, and with many of the semifinals pitting wrestlers from those three schools against each other, the title is still up for grabs.
"We just need to stay focused and keep our minds right," Spencer said. "Cobre, Silver and Robertson have been real tough this year, so it'll be really interesting to see how it turns out."
Whitley and Rightmire entered their brackets as the top seeds in their weight classes and face key matches in the semifinals. Whitley squares off against Eric Morales of Cobre and Rightmire wrestles Ethan Lucero of Silver.
Nelson will go up against the No. 2 seed in the 106-pound bracket, Jose Delagado of Cobre, who won his quarterfinal match by fall in 18 seconds.
Portillo and DeHerrera also have semifinal matches against Cobre wrestlers.
Jaramillo was also expected to face a Cobre wrestler in the semifinals, but an injury forced TJ Ortiz out of his match and the Bloomfield 195-pounder will compete against Amos Rivera of Robertson, who enters the match with a 15-9 record.
Krielick, Spencer, Robinson and LaMere all have tough opponents awaiting them in the next round. Each will take on the No. 2 seed in their respective weight classes.
Tristan Trujillo will take on the top seed in the 182-pound bracket from St. Michael's.
Rudy Vigil (120), Donny Trujillo (132) and Ethan Martin (170) are still alive in the consolation bracket for Bloomfield and can pick up valuable points toward the Bobcats' team total.
"The consolation is really important. We need those guys to win tomorrow," Shoemaker said.
After the opening day, Shiprock sits in a three-way tie for seventh place with Pecos and Tucumcari with 16 points.
Raygen Charley (145), Harlan Ross (152) and Micah Devore (220) won their quarterfinal matches for the Chieftains and will compete in the semifinals.
Ross and Devore will take on the top seeds in their weight classes, both of whom hail from Robertson.
Charley will compete against the No. 2 seed from Tucumcari
Four Chieftains, Darius Martin (120), Ty Hayes (126), Natasha Hogue (160) and Zephaniah White (195) will compete in the consolation bracket for a chance to place at state.Joshua Perry can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.