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Copyright 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)


A coach and an athlete from Valley High School — who are also father and son — are facing battery charges following an incident at the recent state high school wrestling tournament, according to a Rio Rancho Police Department report.

Former Valley wrestling coach Bart Lujan — who was fired by the school as a result — is charged with battery on a sports official. His son, Vikings sophomore wrestler Abran Lujan, is charged with aggravated battery after he twice punched his Rio Grande High opponent in the face following a consolation match on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho. Police said in a report that the opponent, Rio Grande's Eddie Kenton, appeared to have a broken nose.

Both charges stem from the same match.

Bart Lujan, 44, is charged with pushing wrestling official Joel Espinoza at the end of his son's consolation bracket match with Kenton — believing an official had failed to award Abran points for a reversal that would have given his son the lead.

According to the report, the coach said he approached Espinoza, the official pointed for him to leave the mat and, Lujan told police, the official "grabbed him by the shoulders."

Lujan responded by shoving the referee before being led away by other coaches.

Espinoza later told police that typically Bart Lujan had other coaches handle his son's matches "because he got too emotionally involved." He also said he never grabbed or reached for Lujan.

Moments later, Abran Lujan was brought in by Espinoza to shake hands with Kenton. Lujan told police that he shoulder-bumped Kenton, at which point Kenton pushed back in response.

At that point, in video observed by the Journal on the day of the incident, Abran Lujan threw two punches at Kenton's face.

The wrestler told police that he "was upset with his father getting ejected and losing the match, and stated the referee made him come shake hands with Kenton."

Abran Lujan was disqualified from the event.

Although Bart Lujan was Valley's head coach, he was not sitting in one of the two mat-side chairs where coaches often sit during their athletes' matches. He was viewing the match from another area.

Coach Lujan was fired early last week, Valley athletic director Joe Coleman said, in essence, "for conduct unbecoming what Valley High School is about."

Abran Lujan was disciplined through the school, but Coleman declined to say exactly what punishment was meted out. New Mexico Activities Association executive director Sally Marquez said the NMAA worked with Valley on the punishment, but declined further comment.

Bart Lujan was issued a summons through Magistrate Court, according to the report.

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February 28, 2018


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