Fuentes -Najera Sign Letters of Intent By Don Eskins Cavemen wrestlers Jake Fuentes and Matt Najera recently signed letters of intent to compete collegiately next year.Najera will be heading off to Ottawa University and Fuentes Western Wyoming Community College.While family and friends were on hand to witness the signings, nobody was more pleased than Caveman wrestling coach Joe Baca."I'm always excited when our wrestlers are recruited to compete at the next level, not only for the wrestling aspect of their opportunity, but also for the fact that they'll be getting a college education," said Baca. "It's one of the really cool things about high school sports, they can provide kids with an opportunity to get a college education.""As for Jake and Matt, they're great kids who have already made some big time contributions to our Caveman program. I have no doubt, as seniors this year, they'll be making some more," said the Caveman coach. "And when the time comes for them to move on to college, I know they'll do the same thing for their respective schools there."Fuentes signs with Western WyomingJake Fuentes was perfect on the mat last season. Wrestling at 182 lbs. he went 14-0 and finished off the season as the New Mexico Class 5A State Champion.Looking ahead, he began focusing on the challenges he'd face on the mat, as a senior in 2021-22, and beyond."I contacted Western Wyoming Community College, went up for a visit and grew a really good relationship with the coaches,"said Fuentes. "They made me a very good offer, so after giving it some thought, I felt like it was really a great place for me to wrestle collegiately and to begin my college education."Located in Rock Springs, Wyoming, WWCC owns one of the top JUCO wrestling programs in the nation. While at WWCC he plans on majoring in physical therapy. After earning his associate degree he hopes to transfer to a Division I school.Fuentes says his coaches and teammates have played key roles in his success at Carlsbad High
School and his opportunity to wrestle collegiately at Western Wyoming."They push me every day at practice," he said. "My teammates and I have also put in a lot of extra time outside the wrestling room. Iowe them all a lot!"Najera signs with Ottawa UniversityAs Caveman grappler Matt Najera gets ready for the upcoming season, one thing he won't be worrying about, is where he'll be wrestling next year. Najera, 15-1 last season and New Mexico’s Class 5A runner-up at 138 lbs., recently signed a letter of intent to wrestle for the Ottawa University Braves."They contacted me about the prospects of wrestling for them so I went up for a visit," said Najera. "The town is small like Carlsbad. I got to tour the university, meet the coaches and a lot of the wrestlers. I was really impressed with what I saw there so I decided that Ottawa University was a good fit for me. I'm looking forward to wrestling collegiately and going to college there."Ottawa University is located in Ottawa, Kansas. It's wrestling program is ranked among the Top 20 NAIA programs in the nation. While there Najera plans on majoring in communications.Najera cited Caveman coach Joe Baca for much of his success at Carlsbad High School. But according to the 138 lb. Caveman wrestler, the role Baca played in his moving on to the collegiate ranks was much bigger than just what he learned on the mat."Coach Baca was always keeping a check on our grades. He made sure that we were also working hard in the classroom," said Najera. "I had a really good year last year and my grades were up. As a result I got a pretty good ride to attend college and wrestle next year." Not so fast With the question of where they'll wrestle collegiately taken care of, Fuentes and Najera can now focus on finishing out their CHS careers.The Cavemen and Cavegirl wrestlers will open the new season on Dec. 3rd when they entertain Farmington's Piedra Vista in a dual meet. On Dec. 4 they'll host the Cavern City Invitational.