Morenci earns 10th state wrestling title, second three-peat

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: John Provencio (150, 4-0, 2 pins) pinned Willcox junior David Allred during the section semifinal. The Morenci junior earned his second state title while Allred did not place. Morenci captured its fifth state title in 10 years as all 11 Wildcats contributed team scoring.

Willcox is fourth, Thatcher seventh, Pima ninth

By Raymundo Frasquillo

PHOENIX – They slipped into town unheralded, longing to rest from their ordeals on the mat. There were no throngs of well-wishers lined up to congratulate them, they did not walk with conquered opponents 10 paces behind them as they traversed the Arch of Triumph, and the chariot of their choice was Big Red for their return trip home.

Morenci three-peated as state champions a second time, earning its 10th state title, the ninth in the 21st Century, and the fifth under 10-year head coach Casey Woodall. The Wildcats totaled 194.5 points with eight of 11 entrants placing, or 31 points more than runner-up Yuma Catholic (163.5) with eight of 12 entrants placing.

All 11 Morenci entrants contributed team points. Noah Torres added 29 points, Jaeden Seballos 28, John Provencio 27, Breck Williams 24, Merrick Williams 23.5, Michael Casillas 20, Hollis Corbell 16, Austyn Nelson 14, Marcus Lucero six, Trent Nelson four, and Kiano Torres three.

Five of Morenci’s 11 state qualifiers were there last season, three ended as state champions and two did not place. Breck Williams (113, 4-0, 3 pins), Noah Torres (126, 4-0, 1 pin), and John Provencio (138, 4-0, 2 pins) each earned individual state titles; and both Trent Nelson (106, 2-2, 1 pin) and Hollis Corbell (175, 2-2, 2 pins) did not place.

This season, the Wildcats had three champions, two runners-up, two in third place, one in fifth place, and three non-placers.

Individually, senior Jaeden Seballos (120, 4-0, 3 pins), sophomore Noah Torres (138, 4-0, 3 pins), and junior John Provencio (150, 4-0, 2 pins) earned state titles; junior Michael Casillas (132, 2-1) and junior Breck Williams (144, 3-1, 2 pins) were runners-up; freshman Merrick Williams (106, 5-1, 4 pins) and sophomore Hollis Corbell (190, 4-1, 1 pin) third; junior Austyn Nelson (215, 3-2, 2 pins) fifth; and sophomore Trent Nelson (113, 1-2, 1 pin), freshman Kiano Torres (126, 1-2) and junior Marcus Lucero (165, 2-2) did not place.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Noah Torres (138, 4-0, 3 pins) pinned Benson junior Bodie Blalock during the section semifinal. The Morenci sophomore earned his second state title while Blalock did not place.

Seballos (120, 4-0, 3 pins) pinned Northwest Christian junior Carter Hill in 1:18 during the first round, Fountain Hills senior Joseph Cahill in 3:10 during the quarterfinals, and Ganado senior Cauy Curley in 1:50 during the semifinals. A 6-2 decision over Arizona Lutheran senior Zach Wene earned him the title.

Noah Torres (138, 4-0, 3 pins) pinned Ganado junior Wyatt James in 2:46 during the first round, Parker sophomore Jose Diaz in 2:42 during the quarterfinals, and Saint Johns junior Grant Crosby in 1:30 during the semifinals. An 8-0 major decision over Mogollon sophomore Hadley Parker during the final secured the title.

Provencio (150, 4-0, 2 pins) pinned Northwest Christian sophomore Garrett Lentz in 1:50 during the first round and Miami senior Larenz Combs during the quarterfinals, posted an 8-0 semifinal major decision over Yuma Catholic sophomore Rocky Stallworth, and decisioned Saint Johns senior J.T. Richardson 7-4 for the title.

Casillas (132, 3-1, 1 pin) pinned Miami junior Austin Rubin in 21 seconds during the first round, decisioned Page sophomore Tsinaginnie Green 8-7 during the quarterfinals, and Round Valley senior Kinnly Colwell 10-9 during the semifinals and was pinned in 2:48 by Holbrook senior Jason Ramirez to place second.

Breck Williams (144, 3-1, 2 pins) received a first-round forfeit from Monument Valley freshman Tristan Laughter, pinned Tempe Prep senior Nick Murray in 47 seconds during the quarterfinals and Holbrook senior Daniel Montijo in 2:12 during the semifinals, and succumbed by a 1-2 decision to Yuma Catholic sophomore Hunter Hancock during the championship bout.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Jaeden Seballos (120, 4-0, 3 pins) pinned Globe sophomore Gary Perkins en route to the section title. The senior also went unscathed in the state meet, becoming one of three state champions for the Wildcats.

Merrick Williams (106, 5-1, 4 pins) received a first-round forfeit from Mayer sophomore Gavin Meelhuysen, was decisioned 10-11 by Santa Cruz sophomore Aidan Belloc during the quarterfinals, pinned Mogollon freshman Parker Reidhead in 4:39 during the consolation second round, posted a 17-2 technical fall over Ganado junior Ryan Kee during the consolation third round, pinned Monument Valley senior Matthew Curley during the consolation semifinal, and pinned Belloc in 4:18 during the third place match.

Corbell (190, 4-1, 1 pin) pinned Ganado freshman Dante Curtis in 3:27 during the first round, decisioned Arizona Lutheran senior Caron Cunningham during the quarterfinals, was decisioned 4-7 by Wickenburg senior Coy Brewster during the semifinals, decisioned Page sophomore Ian Yellowhair 7-4 during the consolation semifinal and San Manuel junior Thomas Morris 5-3 for third place.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Breck Williams (3-1, 2 pins) posted a 9-1 major decision over San Manuel junior Jacob Tafoya during the section semifinal. The Morenci junior placed second at state via a 1-point decision. Tafoya did not place.

Austyn Nelson (215, 3-2, 2 pins) pinned Yuma Catholic junior Juan Flores in 5:01 during the first round and Arizona Lutheran senior Aaron Navarro in 2:59 during the quarterfinals, fell 2-5 in a tie-breaker to Saint Johns senior Kyson Bryce during the semifinals and 2-4 in sudden victory during the consolation semifinals to Winslow junior Rudy Gonzalez and posted a 12-3 major decision over Bagdad sophomore Thomas Nelson to place fifth.

Trent Nelson (113, 1-2, 1 pin) pinned Round Valley senior Peyton Finch in 3:13 during the first round and was decisioned 4-8 by Winslow sophomore Michael Romero during the quarterfinals and 2-6 by Tombstone freshman Brock Santa Maria during the consolation second round.

Kiano Torres (126, 1-2) was pinned in 28 seconds by Mogollon freshman Yovanni Suarez during the first round, received a forfeit from Wickenburg sophomore Landan Bradley during the consolation first round, and was pinned in 248 by Holbrook junior Judah Pack during the consolation second round.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Michael Casillas (132, 3-1, 1 pin) pinned Willcox freshman Travis Allred during the section quarterfinal round. The Morenci junior placed second at state.

Lucero (165, 2-2) received a forfeit from Monument Valley senior Tashawn Miles during the first round, was decisioned 3-9 by Mayer senior Anthony Walters during the quarterfinals, posted a 15-5 major decision over Wickenburg sophomore Trent Jepson during the consolation second round, and fell by a 3-12 major decision to Benjamin Franklin junior Carlos Madrid during the consolation third round.

The other 11 state champions were Blue Ridge freshman Erik Galindo (106, 4-0, 2 pins), San Manuel senior Raymond Garcia (113, 4-0, 2 pins), Globe senior Gabe Gonzales (126, 4-0, 2 pins), Holbrook senior Jason Ramirez (132, 4-0, 4 pins), Yuma Catholic sophomore Hunter Hancock (144, 4-0, 3 pins) and junior Trenton Blomquist (175, 4-0,4 pins), Willcox juniors Oren Allsup (157, 4-0, 3 pins), Kash Macumber (165, 4-0, 2 pins), and Ed Tingle (215, 4-0, 1 pin), Wickenburg senior Coy Brewser (190, 4-0, 2 pins), and San Pasqual sophomore Elias Espinoza (285, 4-0, 1 pin).

Thatcher Eagles placed 4-9

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Austyn Nelson (215, 3-2, 2 pins) works on pinning Thatcher senior Hunter Saline during the section semifinal. The Morenci junior placed fifth at state and Saline did not place.

Sophomore Tristun Brown (138, 4-1, 3 pins) along with seniors Cooper Udall (175, 5-1, 2 pins) and Scott Ambler (285, 3-0, 1 pin) were each third, and junior Ben Green (190, 3-2, 1 pin) fifth.

Senior Hunter Saline (215, 2-2, 1 pin), freshman Josiah Montagaono (165, 1-2, 1 pin), sophomore Madden Magill (157, 0-2), junior Cohen Soto (132, 0-2), freshman Kael Ray (106, 0-2) did not place.

Brown contributed 21 team points, Udall 20, Ambler 19, Green 11, Saline five, and Montagaono four.

Pima Roughriders placed 4-10

Junior Pepper Hughes (190, 3-1, 2 pins) was second, senior Tucker Wilkins (150, 4-2, 2 pins) fifth, and sophomores Aiden Espinoza (113, 3-3, 1 pin) and junior Jaxon John (175, 2-3, 2 pins) both sixth.

Not placing were junior Jaxon McBiles (120, 2-2, 1 pin), sophomores Riley Flowers (132, 1-2) and Kodi Ferguson (138, 2-2, 1 pin), junior Hayden Blair (144, 1-2), sophomore Brock Haws (215, 1-2, 1 pin), and junior Brock Bryce (157, 0-2).

Hughes contributed 22 team points, Wilkins 13, John 11, Espinoza nine, McBiles five, Ferguson four, Flowers and Haws with three apiece, and Blair two.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Oren Allsup (157, 4-0, 3 pins) earned the section title in Thatcher on Feb. 10. The Willcox junior was one of three state champions for the Cowboys a week later.

Willcox Cowboys placed 4-7

In addition to three champions, sophomore Mario Fernandez (120, 5-1, 2 pins) was third.

Freshman Joseph Sanchez (126, 0-2), junior David Allred (150, 0-2), and senior Evann Truschke (175, 0-2) did not place.

Allsup contributed 28 points, Macumber 26, Tingle (215, 4-0, 1 pin) 24, and Fernandez 18.

San Manuel Miners placed 3-5

Along with a lone champion, juniors Thomas Morris (190, 4-2, 1 pin) and Aiden Lozoya (285, 4-2, 2 pins) were both fourth.

Not placing were juniors Jacob Tafoya (144, 0-2) and Andy Rodriguez (165, 0-2).

Garcia contributed 27 points, Lozoya 15.5, and Morris 14.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Merrick Williams (106, 5-1, 4 pins) pinned Thatcher freshman Kael Ray during the semifinal and decisioned Benson freshman Brax Cluff 11-5 to earn the section title on Feb. 10. The Morenci freshman placed third at the state meet, Brax ended sixth, and Ray did not place.

Globe Tigers placed 3-5

In addition to a lone champion, seniors Anasco Sanchez (150, 4-1, 2 pins) and Andrew Gonzales (144, 4-2, 3 pins) placed third and fifth, respectively.

Sophomores Gary Perkins (120, 0-2) and Esteban Garcia (132, 0-2) did not place.

Gabe Gonzales contributed 27 points, Sanchez 19, and Andrew Gonzales 17.

Tombstone Yellow Jackets placed 1-4

Junior Jacob Weichell (285, 3-2, 2 pins) placed fifth.

Freshman Eddie Wyatt (106, 2-2, 1 pin), freshman Brock Santa Maria (113, 2-2), and junior Isaiah Noonan (157, 0-2) did not place.

Weichell contributed 13 points, Wyatt six, and Santa Maria three.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Trent Nelson (113, 1-2, 1 pin) left the section meet as a runner-up. The Morenci sophomore was one of three Wildcats who didn’t place at the state meet.

Benson Bobcats placed 1-3

Freshman Brax Cluff (106, 3-3, 1 pin) was sixth.

Junior Bodie Blalock (138, 1-2, 1 pin) and senior Nathan Beeman (285, 1-2, 1 pin) did not place.

Cluff contributed nine points and both Blalock and Beeman three apiece.

Bisbee Pumas placed none

Sophomore Mason Richardson (126, 0-2) did not place.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Hollis Corbell (190, 4-1, 1 pin) pinned San Manuel junior Thomas Morris during the section semifinal. The Morenci sophomore placed third at state and Morris fourth.

Valley Union Blue Devils placed none

Sophomore Marshall Larson (175, 0-2) did not place.

Division IV State Meet Team Results

There were 224 participants, 16 in each of the 14 weight classes, from 47 different schools taking part in the state meet, with 41 scoring team points, and 32 having at least one placer from first through sixth.

Holbrook fished third with 101 points and six of nine entrants placing, Willcox fourth (96) with 4-7, Heber Mogollon fifth (95) with 4-11, Page sixth (87.5) with 6-10, Thatcher seventh (80) with 4-9, Saint Johns eighth (78) with 3-11, Pima ninth (72) with 3-10, and Arizona Lutheran with 2-8 and Keyenta Monument Valley with 3-10 both had 65 to tie for 10th.

Globe was 12th (63) with 3-5, San Manuel 13th (56.5) with 3-5, Bagdad 14th (46.5) with 3-6, Miami 15th (45.5) with 2-7, Winslow 16th (40) with 2-3, Fountain Hills 17th (38.5) with 2-6, Ganado 18th (34) with 2-5, Lakeside Blue Ridge 19th (29) with 1-4, and Camp Verde 20th (28.5) with 1-4.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Gabe Gonzales (126, 4-0, 3 pins) emerged as the section champion in Thatcher on Feb. 10. He ended his prep career as a 3-time state champion a week later. The Globe senior also finished first at 120 in 2022 and at 113 in 2021.

Wickenburg was 21st (28) with 3-7, Phoenix Northwest Christian 22nd (26) with 1-5, California Winterhaven San Pasqual 23rd (24) with 1-1, Mayer 24th (23.5) with 1-3, Joseph City with 1-2 and Eagar Round Valley with 1-4 both had 23 to tie for 25th, Tombstone 27th (22) with 1-4, Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin 28th (20.5) with 1-6, Eloy Santa Cruz 29th (19.5) with 1-2, and Phoenix Christian 30th (18) with 1-3.

Benson was 31st (15) with 1-3, Fort Defiance Window Rock with 1-4, and Chino Valley with 0-5 both had 13 to tie for 32nd, Parker 34th (11) with 0-3, Winkelman Hayden 35th (10) with 0-2, Wellton Antelope 36th (6) with 0-1, Whiteriver Alchesay with 0-4 and Tempe Prep with 0-2 both had five to tie for 37th, and Chinle with 0-1, Maricopa Sequoia Pathway with 0-1, and Chandler Valley Christian with 0-2 each had three to tie for 39th.

Bisbee, Tucson Mountainside, Teec Nos Pos Red Mesa, Mohave Valley River Valley, Chandler Seton Catholic, and Elfrida Valley Union each with one entrant, did not score.