Wrestling success in the 4A state tournament this year is a study in contrasts.
Cottonwood Mingus HS flexed its muscle again this season and so far has done the expected as it won its fifth-straight region crown. Meanwhile, Williams Field HS has given us the Cinderella story every fan enjoys.
Mingus, a four-time state champion, won the 4A-II Grand Canyon Region title with nine individual winners and 231 points, outpointing second-place Coconino HS with 174.5 points.
On the other side of the ledger, Williams Field HS hasn’t even been around long enough to win five straight. This is just year three for the new high school in Gilbert – and in that time the program has struggled with the instability that comes with having three different coaches! But now they have a brand-new East Sky Region title, the first in the short history of the school.
The Black Hawks qualified 11 wrestlers for the state tournament as it compiled 167 points, safely ahead of second-place Coronado HS’s 134 points. The performance was led by champions at various weight categories: Ivan Ruiz at 105, Caleb Cobb at 132, Parker Skidmore at 154, Heath Boers at 162, and Colbe Smelser at 191.
The marquis match-up at the Grand Canyon Region tournament was in the 142 lb. division where Mingus’ three-time state champion, Luke Goettl, took on Page HS’s two-time champion, Sean Gracia. Goettle won the match, 10-3, avenging an earlier defeat to Gracia, 7-3.
On a side note: Coconino was impressive in their second-place finish as they qualified all 14 wrestlers for the first time in school history.