Morenci wrestlers earn eighth section title in nine years

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Freshman Cody Torres (160, 2-0) decisioned Benson senior Kyler Curtis to become Morenci’s fifth section champion during the meet in Willcox Feb. 2. He recorded a takedown to break a 5-5 tie and contributed 18 of 190.5 team points for the Wildcats to earn their fifth section title under sixth-year head coach Casey Woodall. Benson was the runner-up with 140 points.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

WILLCOX – The most important meet of the season, the state qualifying sectional, was capped by Morenci hoisting the team first-place award Feb. 2. Morenci’s wrestlers earned the Division IV – Section II title in Willcox, qualifying nine of 13 entrants for this week’s state meet in Prescott.

It has never been their goal to become section champions. It is a result of what sixth-year Morenci Head Coach Casey Woodall has been doing, ‘cultivating a lifestyle of excellence’ in the Wildcats. All of the regular season matches are in preparation for this meet. “They don’t mean anything, possibly bragging rights, but they’re practice (for the state qualifying meet),” he has said.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Six-year Morenci head coach Casey Woodall guided the Wildcats to their fifth section title in six years.

He will say there is always room for improvement and not all of the expected finishes occurred, according to his facial expressions following some of the matches. The nine qualifiers will move on to the task at hand, to put their best foot forward and do as well as they can at the state meet Thursday, Feb. 7 and Friday, Feb. 8.

It is the Wildcats’ eighth section title in nine years, the fifth consecutive under Woodall. The meet was postponed and canceled in 2014 due to health concerns regarding skin disease. The Greenlee County boys qualified 13 of 14 entrants in 2018, 2017, and 2016. Twelve of 14 qualified in 2015.

The Wildcats totaled 190.5 points or 51.5 more than runner-up Benson (140). Willcox was third (136) and Thatcher fourth (121).

Miami was fifth (110.5), Pima sixth (87.5), Globe seventh (68), San Manuel eighth (42.5), Tombstone ninth (42), Bisbee 10th (30), Tucson Catalina 11th (28), Tucson Santa Rita 12th (18), Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic 13th (4), and Saint David 14th (3). San Carlos and Sells Tohono O’odham did not score.

Benson qualified nine of 11, Miami seven of 12, Willcox six of 12, Thatcher six of 13, Pima six of 10, Globe four of five, San Manuel two of four, Tombstone two of seven, Catalina two of five, Santa Rita two of three, and Bisbee one of seven. Saint Augustine had a lone entrant while Saint David, San Carlos, and Tohono O’odham had two apiece.

The Wildcats went 23-12 in head-to-head bouts, with a win by pin percentage of 70 (16-23). The wins were eight by first-period pin, four by second-period pin, three by third-period pin, one by technical fall (15 or more points), two by major decision (8-14 points), and five by decision. The losses were six by first-period pin, three by third-period pin, and by major decision.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Marcus Morales (106, 3-0, 3 pins) pinned three freshmen, Tyler Jacob of Thatcher, Diego Pena of Miami, and John Martinez of Globe, for first place. He earned 26 team points.

Sophomore Marcus Morales (106, 3-0, 3 pins), sophomore Calvin Dunning (113, 3-0, 2 pins), senior Ruben Casillas (132, 3-0, 1 pin), senior Mark Roybal (145, 3-0, 3 pins), and freshman Cody Torres (152, 2-0) were section champions; freshman Conrad Aguallo 126, 2-1, 1 pin), junior Steven Roybal (182, 1-1, 1 pin), and senior Nathan Willey (220, 2-0, 2 pins) were runners-up; and junior Carlos Bray (132, 3-1, 2 pins) was third.

Freshmen Shawn Hudman (138, 1-2, 1 pin) and Vance Arthur (152, 0-2), senior Beau Wagner (195, 0-2) and junior Omar Ortega (285, 1-2) did not place in the top four to qualify.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Mark Roybal (145, 3-0, 3 pins) earned his fourth section title, pinning Thatcher freshman James Green in 36 seconds, Tombstone junior Andrew Watkins in 3:20, and Tucson Catalina junior Alhamzah Alsamawi in 4:25. He earned 24 points.

Mark Roybal is a 4-time section champion while Casillas has three titles and Dunning two.

Team points earned were 26 by Morales, 24 by Dunning, Casillas and Mark Roybal, 18 by Aguallo, Bray and Torres, 16 by Willey, 15.5 by Steven Roybal, four by Ortega, and three by Hudman.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Ruben Casillas (132, 3-0, 1 pin) posted a 9-0 major decision over Globe sophomore Seth Durbin for the title. He totaled 24 points.

Morales drew a first-round bye, pinned Thatcher freshman Tyler Jacob during the quarterfinal first period, Miami freshman Diego Pena during the semifinal first period, and Globe freshman John Martinez during the championship second period.

Dunning drew a first-round bye, pinned Catalina sophomore Bryan Doucette during the quarterfinal first period, decisioned Miami sophomore Jacob Gonzales 9-3 in the semifinal, and pinned Willcox senior Gabe Fuentes during the championship third period.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Junior Carlos Bray (120, 3-1, 3 pins) pinned Pima sophomore Jarom Larson for third place. He earned 18 points.

Casillas drew a first-round bye, pinned Tombstone junior Lepley during the quarterfinal first period, and posted a pair of major decisions, 8-0 over Willcox senior Andrew Kee in the semifinal and 9-0 over Globe sophomore Seth Durbin in the championship.

Mark Roybal pinned Thatcher freshman James Green during the quarterfinal first period, Tombstone junior Andrew Watkins during the semifinal second period, and Catalina junior Alhamsah Alsamawi during the championship third period.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Freshman Conrad Aguallo (126, 2-1, 1 pin) was pinned by Thatcher senior Treven Clark to end as class runner-up. He added 18 team points.

Torres drew a quarterfinal bye and decisioned Pima sophomore Uriel Murrieta 4-3 in the semifinal and Benson senior Kyler Curtis 7-5 in the championship.

Aguallo drew a first-round bye, pinned Saint David freshman Brayden Merrill during the quarterfinal third period, decisioned San Manuel junior Julian Rodriguez 8-4 in the semifinal, and was pinned by Thatcher senior Treven Clark during the championship first period.

Steven Roybal drew a quarterfinal bye, posted a 15-0 semifinal technical fall over Willcox junior Miguel Vasquez and fell by third period pin to Thatcher junior Brik Skousen during the final.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Nathan Willey (220, 1-1, 1 pin) fell to Benson junior Clayson Goodwin by major decision to end as the class runner-up. He earned 16 points.

 Willey drew a quarterfinal bye, pinned Thatcher senior Gauge Bryce in the semifinal first period and fell by a 0-9 major to Benson junior Clayson Goodwin in the championship.

Bray drew a first-round bye, pinned Willcox freshman Darius Silva during the quarterfinal first period, was pinned by San Manuel sophomore Gilbert Rodriguez during the semifinal first period, pinned Thatcher freshman Joseph Howard during the consolation semifinal first period, and pinned Pima sophomore Jarom Larson during the third place second period.

Hudman was pinned by Benson senior David Ens during the quarterfinal first period, pinned Pima freshman Gaige Cluff during the consolation first round second period, and fell by 3-14 major decision to Globe freshman Angel Hernandez in the consolation semifinal.

Arthur was pinned by Willcox sophomore Ote Allsup during the quarterfinal first period and by Tombstone sophomore Alex Guerra during the consolation first round third period.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Junior Steven Roybal (182, 2-1, 1 pin) succumbed to Thatcher junior Brik Skousen by third-period pin to finish as runner-up. Roybal earned 15.5 points.

Wagner was pinned by Pima senior Tyson Hawkins during the quarterfinal first period and by Miami senior Michael Mowrey during the consolation semifinal third period.

Ortega drew a first-round bye, decisioned Willcox senior Ricardo Cuevas 6-1 in the quarterfinal, was pinned by Thatcher senior Quinton Mack during the semifinal first period, and was pinned by Benson senior Nick Brown during the consolation semifinal third period.

The other individual section champions were San Manuel sophomore Gilbert Rodriguez (120, 3-0, 3 pins); Thatcher senior Treven Clark (126, 3-0, 2 pins), junior Brik Skousen (182, 2-0, 2 pins), and senior Quinton Mack (285, 3-0, 3 pins); Benson senior David Ens (138, 3-0, 2 pins) and junior Clayson Goodwin (220, 3-0, 2 pins); Willcox sophomore Ote Allsup (152, 3-0, 3 pins) and junior Caiden Hall (195, 2-0, 1 pin); and Pima sophomore Brennon Hughes (160).

Last season, Rodriguez (106, 2-0, 2 pins), Hughes (160, 3-0, 2 pins), Hall (195, 3-0, 3 pins), and Mack (285, 3-0, 1 pin) were also section champions.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Marcus Morales (106, 3-0, 3 pins) pinned three freshmen, Tyler Jacob of Thatcher, Diego Pena of Miami, and John Martinez of Globe, for first place. He earned 26 team points.

Additionally, Benson had two runners-up, a third place, and four in fourth; Willcox two runners-up and two third placers; Thatcher a runner-up, a third place, and one in fourth; Pima a runner-up, two third placers, and two in fourth place; and San Manuel a third.

The other region members’ state meet qualifiers were Miami two runners-up, three thirds, and two fourths; Globe two runners-up, a third, and a fourth; Tombstone a third and a fourth; Bisbee a third; Catalina a runner-up and a fourth; and Santa Rita two fourths.

A total of 109 entrants competed in the sectional or three less than in 2018, with the most (11) at 120 and the fewest (4) at 170. There were 10 at 106 and 132, nine at 113, 126 and 285, eight at 138, seven at 152, 160, and 220, and six at 145, 182, and 195.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Freshman Shawn Hudman (138, 1-2, 1 pin) fell by a major decision to Globe freshman Angel Hernandez during the consolation semifinal. He earned three points.

Girls wrestling

A week ago, senior Nesa Martinez became the programs’ initial 2019 sectional champion following the inaugural girls Section III meet at Tucson Flowing Wells on Jan. 26. Martinez (2-0, 1 pin) topped a field of five at 145, decisioning Tombstone junior Jasmine Jacquay (1-1, 1 pin) 8-2 for the title. Bisbee junior Danissa Serrano (2-1, 1 pin) pinned Tucson Pueblo junior Arianna Lopez (0-2) for third place.

A total of 50 entrants were on hand at the Caballeros’ campus, 71 at the Section I meet on the Gilbert Campo Verde campus, 66 at the Section II meet on the Phoenix Moon Valley campus, 44 at the Section IV meet on the Winslow campus, and 53 at the Section V meet on the Surprise Shadow Ridge campus.

Martinez will vie for state honors against the top three placers from the other sections, Mesa Skyline freshman Brook Fitzpatrick (3-0, 1 pin), Chandler Basha sophomore Amber Rodriguez (2-1) and Mesa senior Chloe Doucet (1-2) of Section I; Moon Valley’s Rylee Bruce (3-0, 3 pins), Phoenix Maryvale sophomore Angie Ochoa Reyes (2-1, 2 pins) and Phoenix Sierra Linda senior Yenia Corrales (2-1, 1 pin) of Section II; Chinle sophomore Anjane Rose Chee (1-0, 1 pin) and Kayenta Monument Valley sophomore Rhiannon Clark (0-1) of Section IV; and Phoenix deer Valley freshman Jessie McCurry (3-0, 2 pins), Goodyear millennium sophomore Courtney Cordoza (2-1, 2 pins) and Yuma Cibola senior Luz Badilla (2-1, 2 pins) of Section V.

The 284 participants numbered 24 at 101, 35 at 110 and 118, 36 at 125, 29 at 130, 21 at 135, 33 at 145, 30 at 160, 18 at 185, and 23 at 225.

The state meet begins in Prescott on Feb. 8.

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