I’ve always lived in Socorro. My family, brothers, sisters, both parents.
You’re still a young man, but what was your youth like growing up here in Socorro?
I had my circles and a lot of the same friends. It wasn’t too bad. I played in sports.
When did you get into sports initially?
I was really young. Football was first, then basketball. I didn’t start wrestling until last year. I had no idea what I was doing.
When you got into football, what did you like about it?
I initially started off in YAFL (Young American Football League) and Los Lunas stuff and traveling. So I was real young. Then city, then it wasn’t really serious until high school.
What about getting into high school made it a little bit more serious for you?
Just the work ethic. Everything was serious.
You’re a big man. When did you find your happiness when it came to playing your position?
I just got placed there. Pretty much it was just my size. D-line, O-line. That’s just where they put me so I played there.
Did you like it? How did you embrace it?
Yeah. I didn’t really care as long I was playing and having fun.
This past football season was obviously a great season. What made you happy about being able to play with that group of guys?
I grew up playing with them. We grew up playing and just thinking of the championship. Then we got there and we did get cut a little short. But all in all it was a good experience.
Socorro being a small town, did you feel like you had to get into sports?
Growing up I just liked it. It wasn’t forced upon me or anything. I just liked it.
Let’s talk about this last season again. It was a great season. What did that mean for you and what do you think it meant for the community?
I think us even getting that far, it’s going to be good for the community because hopefully a lot more people come out and show support.
Your senior year got cut short. How did you deal with that?
It does suck, but I’m just trying to make the best of it. I’m just hanging out with some friends. It did get cut short and it was a bummer.
Academically as a senior did you have to do a lot online, and how was that for you?
I already had all my classes pretty much done. I did have to finish one class online, but it was because I had to work and it ran into work so I just did it online.
What do you for work that ran into it?
I work at the Tech pool but it’s been shut down for quite a while.
What have you been doing in your spare time then to keep busy?
I like to go ride the dirt bike. I have a dirt bike. Just simple stuff like to keep me busy.
Have you been able to keep in touch with some of the guys you played with, or has it been difficult?
No I keep in touch with a lot of them.
Let’s talk about wrestling. It’s still a somewhat new program. How did you get into wrestling?
I was going to go to basketball practice but Joel (Socorro High School varsity coach Joel Partridge) just talked me into it. I had seen them there and he just pulled me off the basketball court and took me to a hydration test to see how hydrated I was for my weight. So I just went straight to that.
What did you like about it initially?
I don’t think there is anything else that is as hard as it. It’s some hard work. But the coaches were cool. My peers, they’re different but they’re fun. It was just a whole different thing for me but I liked it. So I stuck with it and just embraced the grind.
What did you wrestle at?
I started at 220 my first year, and I was okay the first year, I was decent. Then the second year I really woke up.
Did you envision yourself getting to a state championship and winning that state championship?
For me it seemed unreachable. I’m just starting out. I’m new. These guys have been wrestling since they were little. Not even 14 months with Joel and he got me there.
Obviously you put the work in, but how much did coaching have to do with your success?
Oh a lot. They were just always there. Every night he would call me and talk about it; how I’m feeling. They were a lot into it.
You’re a hard working dude. Was there any point in your wrestling career you maybe said ‘Holy crud, this may be a little much?’
No. I just kept going to practice and I kept thinking I was really reaching for a state championship. I wanted that before I graduated. I just really worked hard. I wouldn’t miss practice. I would do all the right things to make sure I got it.
When you were going through that state championship tournament, what was going through your head?
Just one match at a time. Don’t think too far ahead. Just do what I’m taught, just do what I knew.
What was is like when that bell rang and you knew you were a New Mexico state champion?
It was shocking. I was almost in disbelief. You don’t embrace it right away. I was at a loss for words. You see your whole town going crazy in the stands; you know it was a big moment.
What you’ve done this past year was big for the City of Socorro. Do you take pride in that?
For sure. I like to represent my town.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m pretty much in the middle of things. I don’t know if I want to go to school or stick with work. I’m just pretty much in the middle of things.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s only June. If you had your choice, if you could do anything right now what would you want to do?
I would probably go to school and something athletic. I don’t care if it was wrestling or football, but I would like to go to school just to experience it.
If you do decide you want to go to school?
I think New Mexico State. That’s my number one.
What’s something people maybe don’t know about you?
Nothing too crazy. I like to keep it simple.
What advice would you give to the juniors and sophomores coming up behind you?
Just embrace the grind. Don’t take advantage of it and don’t skip reps. It goes by fast. It goes by real fast.