Before showing up at the 2017 New Mexico high school state wrestling championships, Cody Manuelito had everything planned.
He made sure his mind was right, his body was healthy, and had a drew up a plan that would leave him standing at the top of the podium on the final day of competition.
But some things don’t always go as planned.
Manuelito, a junior at Kirtland Central High School, fell short in the semifinals of the championship match and again in the third-place match in the 182-pound weight class.
He said it wasn’t what he had hoped.
“I just kept thinking that I can make it to the state finals, that I can beat anybody,” Manuelito said. “Even before that match in the semifinals, the Bloomfield coach came up to me and told me to have fun, that’s what I did, but it didn’t go as planned and I ended up going on the back side.”
Manuelito won his first two matches by a fall and lost in the semis by an 8-5 decision. The loss landed him in the consolation semifinals where he redeemed himself gaining another victory by fall, but in the third-place match, he came up short to Albuquerque Academy’s Mitchell Nunez by a 10-6 decision.
He was quick to take the responsibility for his performance.
“It was just me, I didn’t push myself,” Manuelito said. “I pushed myself harder than I did all season, but I ended up coming up short.”
Last season, he came up short in the Class 4A title match.
The team was bumped up to 5A since under the realignment changed.
He said the loss was motivation for next year, his final prep season.
“There was just a little bit tougher kids,” he said. “I think I did pretty good this season. Next season I’m just going to get bigger and stronger, try to go undefeated and win a state title championship.”
The Broncos qualified 14 wrestlers but Manuelito was the lone top finisher.
District rivals Miyamura had a more successful turnout with four state placers.
Fourth-place finisher and senior Joshua Ashley made a big step forward this season after not placing last season.