AUSTIN — Joseph Rios can look forward to next year with high aspirations.
For now, he’s an all-state wrestler and the highest finisher ever for Estacado at the UIL state tournament. Rios finished fourth in the 138-pound weight class in Class 4A, losing his third-place match Saturday 6-3 to Region II champion Aaron Guery from Lancaster.
“I’m happy. It was a blessing to be there,” said Rios, who finished his junior season 26-9. “I didn’t like to lose, but it just wasn’t God’s plan for me to win yet.”
Rios came close in his first try. He lost a winners’ bracket semifinal Friday 6-4 in double overtime to Frisco’s Chris Williams-Bizor. Williams-Bizor then lost 19-15 in Saturday’s finals to El Paso Burges’ Juan Sillas.
Rios beat Sillas 5-4 in triple overtime two weeks ago in regional.
“The guy from Burges was talking to me after his match,” Rios said. “He was telling me it should have been me that wrestled in the championship match. It would have been a lot better match. We would have put on a show, he said.”
Sillas and Williams-Bizor both are seniors, leaving it wide open for Rios in 2014.
“He’s already decided. He’s set his goals,” Estacado coach Bob Romero said. “He realized how close he was and said, ‘I’m goinig to be in that final match next year.”
Rios was one of three Lubbock ISD wrestlers who dropped third-place matches on the final day of the meet. Stephen Dieb from Highland Park edged Lubbock High sophomore Daxx Medina 7-6 at 126 pounds, and Sean Roche from Frisco Wakeland outpointed Monterey senior Wes Benton 7-2 at 160.
Each weight class had 16 wrestlers in a double-elimination bracket with the top six earning all-state recognition.