ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Following a fifth-place finish and no individual champions in 2021, the Volcano Vista wrestling team is making waves in the 2022 season. With a roster comprised of seniors and one of the few squads to have a full lineup of girls, the Hawks have a legit shot of hoisting blue trophies at the end of the year.

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The lady Hawks are off to a fast start in the young life of girls wrestling in New Mexico. With a squad represented in all 12 weight classes, as well as depth at the junior varsity level, the Volcano Vista program has come a long way from only two wrestlers two years ago. “In years past, yeah we had to handle [boys and girls] differently,” says head coach Ahren Griego. “Per the girls’ request, they want to be treated like the boys, they want to wrestle like the boys. The girls are in here matching the level of intensity that the boys bring, and it shows. They haven’t lost yet.”

Ariel Vigil, a senior on the team, has seen the program grow over the years and believes her squad could trailblaze a new wave of girls wrestling in the Land of Enchantment. As for herself, Vigil is coming off a fourth-place finish last year at the state tournament. In 2022, she envisions herself standing much higher on the podium. “This year I’m expecting to take the blue trophy home,” says Vigil. “The girls have really been working hard in here and I think that’s definitely going to show itself in the upcoming competitions.”

On the boys’ side, the Hawks are loaded with senior talent and even tote some young guns on the roster. Sophomore Jason Maestas is wrestling at the 106 weight class and has not lost a match. Maestas is only in his first season at the varsity level, but he doesn’t feel that his experience, will be an issue. “I think I have a really good shot this year,” says Maestas. “So far I’m undefeated and hopefully I’m going to take state this year.”

While Volcano has lofty goals for the 2022 season, senior leadership knows all too well the importance of remaining focused. “Enough lollygagging,” says Jonathan Garcia. “Last year we had a setback I guess you could say. It took us all the way down to fifth when we should’ve been probably top three. Keep the work ethic and things will be different.”

Volcano Vista is set to compete again on Friday at Cleveland for the boys and Moriarty for the girls. The 2022 state wrestling tournament will take place February 18-19 at the Rio Rancho Events Center.