Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Freshman Andrew Castillo (160, 2-0, 1 pin) positions himself over Willcox freshman Christian Pando during a semifinal. Castillo pinned Pando and received a medical forfeit in the final to finish as section champion Feb. 8.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
WILLCOX – The most important wrestling meet of the season, the one they trained for, the state-qualifying sectional meet has come and gone. In its wake, 12 of 13 Morenci entrants are bound for the Division IV state meet following the Section II meet Feb. 8. The qualifiers were seven veterans and five first-time entrants.
Morenci seniors Calvin Dunning (132), Steven Roybal (182), and Omar Ortega (285); juniors Conrad Aguallo (126), Marcus Morales (120), and Jarret Saiz (160); sophomores Shawn Hudman (138), Martin Smith (113), and Cody Torres (152); and freshmen Andrew Castillo (170), Solomon Lucero, and Arthur Rodriguez III will represent the school in Prescott Valley for the 2-day state meet beginning Friday, Feb. 14.
As a team, the Wildcats scored 89 points more, 235-146, than runner-up Globe. Willcox was third with 143 points, Thatcher fourth (117.5), Benson fifth (103), Pima sixth (98.5), Miami seventh (68), Bisbee eighth (52), San Manuel ninth (36), Saint David 10th (30), Catalina 11th (27), Tombstone 12th (19), and both Saint Augustine and Tucson Santa Rita tied for 13th with four points apiece. San Carlos did not score team points.
The section placements were Aguallo, Castillo, Dunning, Lucero, and Morales as champions; Ortega, Saiz, Smith, and Torres as runners-up; and Hudman, Rodriguez, and Roybal as third placers.
Aguallo (3-0, 2 pins) drew a first-round bye, pinned Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic junior Carlos Burton in 4:45 during the quarterfinals and Pima senior Damian Hoopes by a 16-0 technical fall during the semifinals, and decisioned Globe sophomore Jacob Gonzales 7-4 for the title.
Castillo (2-0, 2 pins) drew a quarterfinals bye, pinned Willcox freshman Christian Pando in 3:35 during the semifinals, and received a medical forfeit win in the title bout.
Dunning (2-0, 2 pins) drew a quarterfinals bye and pinned both Thatcher sophomore Joseph Howard in 2:23 during the semifinals and Globe freshman Andrew Gonzales in 2:37 for the title.
Lucero (3-0, 3 pins) pinned San Manuel sophomore Austin Axe in 18 seconds during the quarterfinals, Globe freshman Gabriel Gonzales in 3:15 during the semifinals, and Thatcher junior Landon Bryce by a 16-1 technical fall.
Morales (3-0, 3 pins) pinned Globe freshman Michael Ferreira in 54 seconds during the quarterfinals, Saint David sophomore Devin Deskins in 25 seconds during the semifinals, and Pima junior Jarom Larson in 1:58 for the title.
Ortega (1-1) drew a quarterfinals bye, advanced with a disqualification of Thatcher freshman Scott Amber in the semifinals, and was decisioned 1-5 by Miami junior Skylar Guerrero to finish second.
Saiz (2-1, 2 pins) pinned both Globe sophomore Nicolas Lottes in 1:45 during the quarterfinals and Thatcher sophomore James Green in 1:40 during the semifinals and was pinned by Willcox junior Ote Allsup in 1:24 exit as the runner-up.
Smith (2-1, 1 pin) drew a first-round bye, pinned Pima junior Hunter Cluff in 26 seconds during the quarterfinals, decisioned Saint David sophomore Jeremiah Toyota 6-0 in the semifinals, and was pinned by Globe sophomore John Martinez in 3:42 during the title bout.
Torres (1-1, 1 pin) drew a first-round bye, pinned Pima sophomore Gaige Cluff in 55 seconds during the semifinals, and was decisioned 2-5 by Willcox senior Kelby Flowers to end as the runner-up.
Hudman (3-1, 2 pins) drew a first-round bye, pinned Tucson Catalina sophomore Jose Vasquez in 1:02 during the quarterfinals, fell by a 7-15 major decision to Globe sophomore Angel Hernandez in the semifinals, pinned San Manuel freshman Mathias Medina in 2:44 during the consolation semifinals, and posted a 14-0 major decision over Saint David sophomore Brayden Merrill for third place.
Rodriguez (3-1, 1 pin) decisioned Benson senior Zachary McCarter 7-3 in the quarterfinals, was pinned by Willcox senior Caiden Hall in 2:19 during the semifinals, pinned Catalina sophomore Jadon Hayes-Stricklan in 1:12 during the consolation semifinals, and decisioned Thatcher sophomore Jesse Chidestar for third place.
Roybal (4-1, 4 pins) pinned Catalina junior Anthony Hernandez in 1:38 during the first round and Pima junior Nash Hughes in 2:22 during the quarterfinals, was pinned by Thatcher junior Brayden Oliver in 3:32 during the semifinals, pinned Bisbee senior Victor Ramos in 1:15 during the consolation semifinals, and pinned Benson senior Ralph Grassi in 2:03 for third place.
Sophomore Kaiden Summer (145, 1-2) did not qualify. He drew a one-round bye, was decisioned 12-17 by Thatcher sophomore Greene during the quarterfinals, decisioned Globe sophomore Gabe-Refug Gerardo 14-7 during the consolation quarterfinals, and was pinned in 1:34 by San Manuel junior T.J. Madrid during the consolation semifinals.
In prior sectionals, Dunning (7-0, 6 pins) finished as the champion in both 2018 and 2019, Morales (10-1, 10 pins) was champion as a sophomore plus third as a freshman, Ortega (5-5, 2 pins) was third in the section as a sophomore, Torres (3-1, 1 pin) was the champion last season, Roybal (10-5, 8 pins) finished third as a sophomore and second as a junior, and Hudman (4-3, 3 pins) represented Morenci in the 2019 sectional but did not qualify for the state meet.
The other individual 2020 section champions were Globe sophomores John Martinez (113, 3-0, 2 pins) and Angel Hernandez (138, 3-0, 2 pins); Benson seniors Clayton Sherman (145, 3-0, 3 pins) and Clayson Goodwin (220, 4-0, 4 pins); Willcox senior Kelby Flowers (152, 3-0, 2 pins), junior Ote Allsup (160, 2-0, 2 pins), and senior Caiden Hall (195, 2-0, 2 pins); Thatcher junior Brayden Oliver (182, 3-0, 2 pins); and Miami junior Skylar Guerrero (285, 3-0, 1 pin).
Goodwin (7-0, 6 pins) and Allsup (5-0, 5 pins) are two-time section champions while Hall (7-0, 6 pins) is a three-time champion.
Globe qualified seven of 13 entrants, Willcox seven of 12, Pima six of 11, Thatcher seven of 11, Catalina two of nine, Tombstone one of nine, Benson five of eight, Miami three of seven, Bisbee two of six, San Manuel two of five, and Saint David two of four.
San Carlos had four entrants, Santa Rita three, and Saint Augustine one.
Globe also had three runners-up and two thirds; Willcox a runner-up, two third-placers, and a fourth-place; Thatcher a runner-up, three in third place, and two in fourth; Pima three runners-up and three in fourth place; and Benson a third place and two in fourth.
The other region members’ state meet qualifiers were Miami a runner-up and a third; Bisbee two in third; San Manuel a runner-up and a fourth; Catalina two in fourth; Saint David two fourths; and Tombstone a fourth.
A total of 125 student-athletes competed in the 2020 sectional with six at 170 and 195; seven at 132, 152, 160, and 285; eight at 106 and 120; nine at 113; 10 at 138, 145, 182, and 220; and 11 at 126.
Morenci has nine section titles in 10 years, earning the sixth consecutive team award under 7th-year MHS head coach Casey Woodall. The Greenlee County boys qualified nine of 13 entrants in 2019; 13 of 14 in 2018, 2017 and 2016; plus 12 of 14 in 2015. The meet was postponed and canceled in 2014 due to health concerns regarding skin disease.