Kane Johnson was the center of attention as he won his 127-pound regional championship on Feb. 11.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Socorro’s Kane Johnson won the 127-pound championship of the District 2-4A regionals at Socorro High School on Feb. 11. He led a slew of Warriors who qualified for the state wrestling meet at the Santa Ana Star Center on Feb. 17-18.

Socorro’s eight total state qualifiers led to a third-place finish out of 19 teams that made it to the regional meet. David Gutierrez Jr. was a second-place medalist, while Isiah Estrada (107) and Patrick Woods (133) placed third, and Brian Armijo (152) and Caden Moreland (189) came away with fourth-place finishes.

Damian Otero (215) placed sixth, and Isaiah Ocampo (139) took seventh place.

Johnson’s championship came by pinning all three of his opponents, and the junior defeated Belen’s Lazarus Layton to win the title.

While Johnson came away with the only regional title, there is still plenty of time for the Warriors to brush up and make waves at the state meet.

Gutierrez, a sophomore, had two wins by fall and lost a tight 4-3 decision in the championship against Albuquerque Academy’s Brodi Whitaker.

While he may be an eighth-grader, Estrada was impressive in his third-place finish, including a pin of Tucumcari’s William Ja Turpin in just 17 seconds.

Socorro coach Joel Partridge is expecting more out of his team at the state meet. While the Warriors were third as a team – it wasn’t the kind of finish Partridge wants.

“We need to wrestle better,” Partridge said.