It looks like the Sunnyside High School wrestling team has reclaimed ownership of the prestigious Flowing Wells Invitational.
Since 2011, the wrestling powerhouse from Tucson has either won the tournament or finished in the top three. This year’s championship is the program’s 31st tourney title and the 16th since 1996.
The Flowing Wells Invite has become a tune-up for Sunnyside’s annual bid for another state title. They have 34 of those sitting in the trophy case right now, after winning a third straight D-II team title last year. Liberty won the 2021 D-I state title.
This year’s state tournament will be one to watch since both teams are competing in D-I.
But back to the tournament…
The Blue Devils won the Flowing Wells in 2018 and again in 2019 before being dethroned in 2020 when Liberty High School won its first-ever Flowing Wells title.
This year’s two-day tournament drew close to 100 schools from Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico and included girls’ team competition. Girls were included in the tournament for the first time in 2019, but have been competing as individuals. This year, the Liberty girls won the first team title, beating Montwood High School from Texas, 134.5 to 100. Sunnyside took third place with 97.5 points.
Sunnyside ran away with the boys’ title, posting a team total of 420 points, well ahead of runner-up Liberty (254.5) and third-place Sahuarita High School, a D-III program that scored 185.5 points.
The Blue Devils used seven individual titles to pile up their points: Sergio Vega (113 lbs), James Armstrong (120), Cristian Rivera (132), Jaime Rivera (150), Michael Avelar (165), Nicholas Pina (175), and Rene Fragoso (190). Armstrong and Fragoso are repeat champions.
Sahuarita’s Gabriel Gallardo, who won the 144 title, was named the tourney’s Outstanding Wrestler.
On the girls’ side, Liberty had two individual champions, Bella Bocanegra at 100 and Lily Hunt at 138.