Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior Ruben Casillas (126, 4-0, 3 pins) notched a 17-0 technical fall over Willcox sophomore Kelby Flowers for the title. It was a second title in two meets and is 7-0 with five pins.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
WILLCOX – Their goal has never been to become section champions. It is a result of what fifth-year Morenci Head Coach Casey Woodall has been doing, ‘cultivating a lifestyle of excellence’ in the Wildcats.
Morenci’s wrestlers earned the Division IV – Section II title in Willcox on Feb. 3, qualifying 13 of 14 entrants for this week’s state meet in Prescott. It is the Wildcats’ seventh section title in eight years, the fourth consecutive under Woodall. The meet was postponed and canceled in 2014 due to health concerns regarding skin disease.
It is the third straight year Morenci qualified 13 of 14 entrants, doing so in both 2017 and 2016. Twelve of 14 Wildcats qualified in 2015.
Morenci amassed 255.5 points, or nearly twice as many points as the runner-up teams, Benson and Willcox both with 128. Pima and Thatcher tied for fourth with 110 points apiece.
Miami placed sixth with 76 points, Bisbee seventh (62), San Manuel eighth (61), Globe ninth (56), San Carlos 10th (39), Tombstone 11th (23), and Tucson Santa Rita 12th (6.5).
Willcox, Pima, and Miami each qualified six of 11, Bisbee four of 11, Thatcher seven of 10, Benson six of 10, San Manuel three of nine, Globe three of seven, and San Carlos two of five. Tombstone entered nine and Santa Rita five.
The Wildcats went 39-9 in head-to-head bouts, with a win by pin percentage of 69 (27-39). The wins were 10 by first-period pin, nine by second-period pin, five by third-period pin, three by technical fall (15 or more points), six by major decision (8-14 points), three by decision, two by injury, and one by medical forfeit. The losses were three by first-period pin, three by second-period pin, one by technical fall, and two by decision.
The sectional meet was the first time Morenci was able to field an entrant in each weight class this season. Senior 120-pound Cory Cota (4-0, 3 pins) and junior Nathan Willey (220, 2-0, 2 pins) were uncertain they would be in the meet days earlier, both leaving the meet as individual section champions.
Sophomore Calvin Dunning (113, 3-0, 2 pins), junior Ruben Casillas (126, 4-0, 3 pins), senior Nicolas Carrasco (138, 2-0, 2 pins), junior Mark Roybal (145, 3-0, 2 pins), and senior Jacob Vierra (182, 3-0, 2 pins) were also section champions.
Freshman Marcus Morales (106), sophomore Carlos Bray (132, 3-1, 2 pins), senior Gabriel Cabrera (152, 3-1, 3 pins), sophomore Steven Roybal (160, 4-1, 2 pins), and junior Omar Ortega (285, 3-2, 2 pins) each placed third; junior Beau Wagner (195, 2-2) placed fourth; and freshman Mark Martinez (170, 1-2, 1 pin) did not qualify.
Carrasco and Mark Roybal were section champions twice before; Cota and Casillas for a second time, and Dunning, Vierra, and Willey for the first time.
Cota earned 27.5 points, Casillas 26.5, Mark Roybal 24, Vierra 22.5, Carrasco, Dunning, and Willey 22 apiece, Cabrera 18, Steven Roybal 17, Bray and Morales both 16, Ortega and Wagner nine each, and Martinez four.
Carrasco drew a quarterfinal bye and pinned seniors Cody Burgett of Globe in the semifinal and Oryan Robinette of Benson in the final, both during the third period.
Mark Roybal drew a first-round bye, pinned both San Manuel junior Daniel Garcia in the quarterfinals and Pima freshman Uriel Murietta in the semifinals during the first period, and decisioned Benson junior David Ens 8-4 for the title.
Cota pinned Tombstone freshman Payton Foster in the first round first period, recorded a 16-0 quarterfinal technical fall over Willcox freshman Arnold Ruiz, pinned Pima sophomore Damien Hoopes in the semifinal second period, and won the title by an injury to Globe freshman Seth Durbin.
Casillas pinned Benson freshman Dante Smolinski in the first round first period, posted an 8-0 major decision over San Manuel junior Julian Rodriguez in the quarterfinals, pinned Globe senior Cutter Burgett in the semifinal third period, and notched a 17-0 technical fall over Willcox sophomore Kelby Flowers for the title.
Dunning decisioned Miami freshman Jacob Gonzales 7-0 in the quarterfinals, pinned San Carlos junior E.J. Haozous in the semifinal second period, and pinned Willcox junior Gabe Fuentes in the championship bout first period.
Vierra compiled a 15-0 quarterfinal technical fall on Thatcher junior Ben Shumway, pinned San Manuel freshman Adrian Romero in the semifinal second period, and tallied a 12-3 final bout major decision on Globe senior Riley Cline.
Willey drew a quarterfinal bye, and pinned Bisbee senior Luis Mendosa in the semifinal first period and Thatcher junior Gauge Bryce in the championship second period.
Morales pinned Thatcher freshman Landen Bryce in the quarterfinal second period, lost to San Manuel freshman Gilbert Rodriguez by a 0-15 semifinal technical fall, pinned Benson sophomore Devlin Comaduran in the consolation semifinal second period, and pinned Bisbee freshman Manuel Moots in the third period for third place.
Bray pinned Miami freshman Isiah Casillas in the quarterfinal first period, lost by first-period pin to Benson senior Howard Post in the semifinal, pinned Tombstone sophomore Jasmine Jacquay in the consolation semifinal second period, and finished third by an injury to Bisbee senior Francisco Monroy.
Cabrera drew a first-round bye, pinned Pima junior Collin Grimes in the quarterfinal first period, lost by 2-4 decision to Benson junior Kyler Curtis in the semifinal, pinned Tombstone freshman Dayton Sullivan in the consolation semifinal, and ended third with a first period pin of Thatcher freshman Mason Underwood.
Steven Roybal lost by first round first period pin to Tombstone senior Mitchell Emerson, drew a consolation first-round bye, pinned Globe freshman Jonathan Ortega in the consolation second round third period, pinned San Manuel freshman Michael Martinez in the consolation third round third period, posted a consolation semifinal 13-4 major decision on Benson sophomore Ralph Grassi, and had a 14-5 major decision on Miami junior Dom Castillo-Williams for third place.
Ortega drew a first-round bye, fell by 2-5 semifinal decision to Thatcher junior Quinton Mack, posted a 10-2 consolation semifinal major decision on Bisbee freshman Christian Contreras, and decisioned Miami freshman Edward Reynolds 1-0 for third place.
Wagner fell by first-round first-period pin to Pima junior Tyler Hawkins, notched a 16-2 consolation first round major decision on Miami freshman Luiz Romero, gained a consolation semifinal medical forfeit from San Manuel senior Ruben Hernandez, and fell by second-period pin to Thatcher senior Sam Hollar to finish fourth.
Martinez pinned Bisbee sophomore Jesus Paga in the quarterfinal second period, lost by semifinal second-period pin to Pima senior Ryne Lewis and by consolation semifinal first-period pin to Thatcher sophomore Ernesto Lujan.
The other individual section champions were San Manuel freshman Gilbert Rodriguez (106), Benson senior Howard Post (132) and junior Kyler Curtis (152), Pima sophomore Brennon Hughes (160) and senior Ryne Lewis (170), Willcox sophomore Caiden Hall (195), and Thatcher junior Quinton Mack (285).
Additionally, Benson had four runners-up; Willcox three runners-up and a third place; Pima a runner-up, a third place, and two in fourth place; Thatcher two runners-up, two in third, and two in fourth; Miami two thirds and four fourths; Bisbee a runner-up, a third, and two fourths; San Manuel a third and a fourth; Globe two runners-up and a fourth; and San Carlos a third and fourth.
A total of 112 entrants competed in the sectional, with the most (11) at both 145 and 160, and the fewest (6) at both 106 and 220. There were 10 at 126, nine at 120 and 152, eight at 170, and seven at 112, 132, 138, 182, 195, and 285.