Olivas, Vega steal the spotlight at Flowing Wells Invite


Danny Vega from Ironwood Ridge High School used the prestigious Flowing Wells Wrestling Invitational to boost his incredible three-year prep record to 70 consecutive wins, dominating the competition in the 115-pound category.

But the junior had to share the spotlight this weekend with Sunnyside High‘s Juaquin Olivas.  The senior won his first-ever Flowing Wells title at 134 pounds – and that was news in itself.  While Olivas has piled up titles and awards during his prep career – including two  state championships – a win at Flowing Wells has eluded him.

The two-day Flowing Wells Invite traditionally draws top teams from several states and caps off the season’s slate of major high school wrestling tournaments in Arizona.

Just a week earlier, Olivas made prep wrestling history by winning the Peoria Invitational Tournament of Champions for the fourth time, winning at 132 pounds to become the third wrestler, and the first from Arizona, to win four times at that elite tournament that has just wrapped up its 49th year.

Mesa’s Mountain View High School won the first-place team award at the Flowing Wells Invite for the second straight year.  The Toros compiled 316 points to win this year’s event – which generated more headlines because it tied the tournament record for most points.

But one high-profile team competed in both events, but drew more attention by losing.  Traditional wrestling power Sunnyside finished runner-up at the Flowing Wells with 209.5 points, after also settling for second place at the Peoria Invitational where the Blue Devils scored an almost identical 207.5 to place behind first-place Servite High, the wrestling powerhouse from Anaheim, Calif., that put up 299.5 points.

It was a frustrating week for Sunnyside, which won 14 straight state titles under former head coach Bobby DeBerry until he left in 2011.  During that time the Blue Devils also posted eight wins at the Flowing Wells, but haven’t been able to put together back-to-back tournament wins since then. They won their last Flowing Wells team title in 2013, and the year before it was Ironwood Ridge High School that won that school’s first, and only, tournament title.

In fact, it was Sunnyside that held the tournament record of 316 points, set eight years ago, before Mountain View tied it yesterday.

But this year Mountain View ran away from Sunnyside – and the rest of the field of 38 teams from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.  The Toros placed nine wrestlers in the top five of their respective weight divisions, and had five first-place winners as they completely dominated the middle weight classes.

Paden Mason successfully defended his title at 122 pounds and was joined by four other teammates who also won in their events: Anthony Wokasch (147), Blake Monty (154), Weston Taylor (162), and Kieffer Taylor (172).

And Mason wasn’t the only repeat champion, as Vicente Guerrero from Yuma’s Cibola High School took first place at 184 pounds.

Sunnyside had five wrestlers in the finals and finished with two individual titles and a pair of second-place finishes. Roman Bravo finished first at 108 pounds, Olivas captured the 134 title, and runner-up finishes went to David Salazer at 115 and Jose Parra at 147.

Danny Vega was also named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.