State wrestling tourney gets a breath of fresh (cold) air

Take a short drive to Tim’s Toyota and get your money’s worth.  That might be a good slogan for a car commercial.  But last weekend, it was all about wrestling.

Fans that made the trek from Phoenix and Tucson to the ‘high country’ did get their money’s worth at the 1A,2A and 3A state high school wrestling tournaments over the weekend, held at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott.

A couple of matches that provided the highlights in 4A competition came at both ends of the weight classes.  At 112 lbs., Andrew Patino, a junior from Coronado HS, added one last win to an undefeated campaign with a win over Sahuarita HS’s Josh Camacho, 6-3.  Patino’s mark went to 47-0.

But it was just the opposite at 189, where Dylan Jahrling from Glendale HS suffered his first loss of the season in the title match, losing 11-5 to Wes Moore from Queen Creek HS, helping his school to the 4A-I tournament win with 179 points, just five points ahead of Moon Valley HS.  Mingus HS in Cottonwood took the team honors in 4A-II.

Safford HS won the team title in 3A for the sixth straight time and did it with a huge scoring effort, racking up 267 points, which was the second-most in school history; Payson HS finished second with 152.5 points.  Safford put seven wrestlers in the finals and won six titles.  And Joseph City HS took home the 1A-2A team title, it first since 1998.  This is the fifth state championship for Joseph City and they won it with 215.5 points from nine placers.

Ryak Finch from Safford HS, who won his third state title, was also named the outstanding wrestler at the 1A-2A tournament.  The senior finishes an outstanding career with 203 wins – and just two defeats!  He’s headed for wrestling’s powerhouse, Iowa State, next year.

Some of the 1A-2A highlights:

Johnny Salcido brought home the first state individual title since 2003 for Antelope HS with his win over Leland Schmidt from Pima HS in the heavyweight division.  Orlando Calzadillas won the 140 title by beating defending champion John Martell from Benson HS, 8-3, in the finals.

One of the most anticipated matches was the fourth meeting between Benson’s Mark Mabry, the defending 189 state champion, and Justin Rockhill from Willcox HS.  Although Mabry had beat him three times prior, Rockhill had pinned his first two opponents and was on a roll into the finals.  But Mabry, a senior, managed to pull out one more final win against the junior, 10-5, to win his second state title.

Photo credit: Steve Schrauger/Natural Visions Photography