Finally…Ironwood Ridge HS wins Flowing Wells Invite

<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons above -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2012/01/finally-ironwood-ridge-hs-wins-flowing-wells-invite/' addthis:title='Finally…Ironwood Ridge HS wins Flowing Wells Invite'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>The Ironwood Ridge High School wrestlers did more than win the Flowing Wells Invitational Saturday in Tucson.  They exorcised the ghost of last year. Sunnyside High School dominated last year’s […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2012/01/finally-ironwood-ridge-hs-wins-flowing-wells-invite/' addthis:title='Finally…Ironwood Ridge HS wins Flowing Wells Invite'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>

The Ironwood Ridge High School wrestlers did more than win the Flowing Wells Invitational Saturday in Tucson.  They exorcised the ghost of last year.

Sunnyside High School dominated last year’s Flowing Wells tournament, considered the top prep tournament in the state, and blew away the Ridge, which settled for a very distant runner-up spot.  Tucson’s Sunnyside scored 224.5 points last year, while the Nighthawks managed to compile just 144 points.

This year, the tables were turned.  The Flowing Wells title was the first ever for the Oro Valley school, but beating out Sunnyside had to be almost as rewarding.

Sunnyside is a target for every team in the prestigious event since the Blue Devils had won eight of the last 12 tournament titles coming into this year’s event, and 28 titles in the 46 years the tournament has run.

Over the years, the school has won 29 state championships – more than any other wrestling program in the state.  That target on their backs is huge.

But the Blue Devils are having a tough time getting back on top of the heap this year, after losing long-time coach, Bobby DeBerry, who resigned last summer.  The former National Coach of the Year directed the program for 17 years.

And he also contributed a couple of four-time state champs to the program in sons Kyle and Kory – who have both moved on to Arizona State.

Sunnyside finished in third place at this year’s Flowing Wells Invite, behind Ironwood Ridge and second-place Cibola High School from Yuma.  The week before, the Blue Devils had to settle for runner-up to Phoenix’s Desert Vista High School at the Peoria Invitational, missing out on that title by just 7.5 points.

Desert Vista finished eighth at the Flowing Wells tournament, but injuries to three of the school’s top wrestlers accounted for the drop in team performance.  Kendall Love, Alex Bambic, and Robbie Mathers are all former state champions who either missed the tournament all together, or suffered a default in trying to compete.

Ironwood Ridge scored 175.5 to hold off Cibola, which gathered 165.5 points, and Sunnyside with 148.

A couple of upperclassmen played a big role in securing Ironwood Ridge’s first Flowing Wells title.  Senior Trevor Willson took home the title at 126 pounds and junior Matt Filbert won at 152.

Cibola did not have any individual winners, but Sunnyside picked up a couple.  Andres Piedra took the title at 138 pounds and Cedric Gonzalez won at 220.

Dante Patrick from Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.  He won the title at 160 pounds by defeating Adam Bingham from Ironwood Ridge.

With a field of 38 teams, including the top five teams from the Division I state tournament last year and champions and runners-up from other divisions, the Flowing Wells Invite provides a great prelude to next month’s state tournament.

And it lets at least one team brag about being the best in Arizona – at least for another month.