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Wrestler Ortega to join brother at Indiana

By James Yodice

Indiana University is getting its fill of Rio Rancho’s Ortega boys.

 

Max Ortega, the senior from Rio Rancho High who is widely considered the best pound-for-pound wrestler in the state, has signed a national letter of intent to compete at Indiana.

 

There, he will join older brother Matt, who is a redshirt freshman wrestler for the Hoosiers this season.

 

“I just thought it was a good school, and my brother’s there, and the coaching staff is pretty good. I just made my decision based on that,” said the 19-year-old Max.

This season, Ortega is going after his fifth individual state title, something only one other athlete in New Mexico has accomplished.

 

While he was heavily recruited – no thanks to his record and near-4.0 grade-point average – Ortega chose Indiana of the Big 10 over the University of Pennsylvania. And the Hoosiers had a little recruiting help from Matt Ortega, a multiple state champion at Rio Rancho himself.

 

“He said it’s pretty fun over there,” Max said. “It (Bloomington) is just a college town, off on its own, not in the middle of a huge city. I guess it’s a little more laid back as opposed to Penn, which is in the middle of Philadelphia.”

 

Ortega, who is coming off an undefeated season, said he was also considering Cornell, Missouri and Cal-Poly. He said he would probably major in biology.

 

He begins his senior season next weekend at the Southwest Duals, which Rio Rancho hosts each year.

 

The Rio Rancho Journal will preview the Rams’ wrestling team in Thursday’s edition.

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