Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Returning team members pose with the state championship trophy after disembarking the bus. Morenci scored a school record 301 points in earning its third title in six years, eight overall. The Wildcats had five individual champions as 12 of 14 entrants placed and all 14 contributed team points.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – Morenci’s triumphant warriors returned home to traverse an Arch of Triumph, along the
main thoroughfare of their home town. However, in the 21st century, there were no trumpeters to
herald their return, no chariots, no captives or strange animals walking behind them. There were first
responders and law enforcement escorts with sirens blaring for the bused student-athletes.
The Casey Woodall-coached Morenci wrestlers returned as champions March 18, following the 2-
day Division IV state meet at San Tan Valley Poston Butte.
“I did not anticipate the outcome,” the two-time collegiate All-American and three-time Academic
All-American said. “We did very well. It was special and really, really cool how they (Wildcats)
stepped up and were there for each other.”
Morenci amassed a school record 301 team points, or 117 more than runner-up Yuma Catholic
(184), with both teams having 14 entrants. Morenci landed 12 placers, earning five individual titles,
four thirds, two fourths, and a sixth compared to six Yuma Catholic placers, a champion, two runners-
up, a third, a fifth, and a sixth.
The Wildcats were a combined 62-17 with 34 pins and notched 443 match points versus 40-24 with
31 pins and 225 points for the Shamrocks. Morenci was represented by three seniors, four juniors,
two sophomores, and five freshmen while Yuma Catholic had three seniors, three juniors, five
sophomores, and three freshmen.
In non-global health crisis seasons, wrestlers would have participated in several tourneys, notched
over 40 individual bouts, and competed in the state-qualifying sectional meet.
“It was weird trying to figure out each individuals’ progress because of having only one bout per
dual,” Woodall added. “There were more intense duals because of there being no (regular season)
Morenci freshman Breck Williams (106), sophomore Solomon Lucero (120), senior Marcus Morales
(126), junior Cody Torres (152), and sophomore Arturo Rodriguez III (220) were champions;
freshman Noah Torres (113), senior Conrad Aguallo (138), freshman John Provencio (145), and
junior Jericho Sanchez (285) placed third; freshman Michael Casillas (132) and junior Shawn
Hudman (160) finished fourth; and senior Jarret Saiz (182) ended sixth.
Junior Kaden Summer (170) and freshman Austyn Nelson (195) did not place.
Cody Torres earned 34 team points, Morales 28, Lucero 27, Rodriguez 26, Williams 24, Noah
Torres 23.5, Casillas 21, Hudman 20, Provencio 19.5, Aguallo 18, Sanchez 17, Saiz 15, Nelson 13,
and Summer 11.
Williams (4-0, 3 pins) pinned Chandler Prep sophomore Samuel Mallonee in the first period during
the first round, Phoenix Arizona Lutheran sophomore Jonah Gutierrez in the first period during the
quarterfinals, and Winslow senior Max Foy in the second period during the semifinals, and decisioned
Yuma Catholic junior Mikey Doerr 12-6 for the title.
Lucero (4-0, 2 pins) pinned Page sophomore Shayne Ruiz in the first round first period and Pima
senior Hunter Cluff in the quarterfinal first period, defeated Holbrook sophomore Jason Ramirez by
12-2 major decision and decisioned Chandler Seton Catholic junior Lucas Eviston for the title.
Morales (5-0, 2 pins) pinned Tombstone sophomore Hunter Clark in the first round second period
and Holbrook junior Joshua Pack in the second round first period, and decisioned San Manuel
freshman Oliver Ochsenfeld 8-4 during the quarterfinals, Globe junior John Martinez 11-5 during the
semifinals, and Yuma Catholic senior Jacob Navarro 8-2 for the title.
Cody Torres (5-0, 4 pins) pinned San Manuel sophomore Mathias Medina in the first round second
period, received a forfeit from Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin during the second round, pinned Thatcher sophomore Cooper Udall in the quarterfinals first period, Arizona Lutheran junior Cole
Gutierrez in the semifinals third period, and Willcox freshman Oren Allsup in the second period for the
Rodriguez (4-0, 4 pins) drew a first round bye, decisioned San Manuel junior Justin Tafoya 8-2 in
the second round and Tombstone freshman Jacob Weichelt 6-2 in the quarterfinals, pinned Tucson
Mica Mountain junior Travis Hickey in the semifinals second period, and decisioned Parker junior
Abraham Silva 5-3 for the title.
Noah Torres (4-1, 4 pins) drew a first round bye, pinned Yuma Catholic sophomore Joshua
Rodriguez in the second round second period and Willcox freshman Ayden Fimbres in the
quarterfinal second period, fell by 7-15 major decision to Globe sophomore Gabriel Gonzalez in the
semifinals, defeated Arizona Lutheran sophomore Zach Wene by a 15-0 consolation semifinal
technical fall, and pinned Camp Verde freshman Angel Casillas in the third place third period.
Aguallo (4-1, 1 pin) drew a first round bye, decisioned Pima junior Joseph Boswell 16-9 in the
second round and Saint David junior Jeremiah Toyota 7-4 in the quarterfinals, fell by first period pin to
Eloy Santa Cruz junior Wyatt Ogle in the semifinals, decisioned Heber Mogollon sophomore Payton
Reidhead 4-2 in the consolation semifinals, and pinned Holbrook sophomore Daniel Montijo in the
third place third period.
Provencio (5-1, 1 pin) defeated Phoenix Bourgade Catholic freshman Julian Bernal by a 15-0 first
round technical fall, Benson sophomore Conner Curtis by 15-2 second round major decision, and
Camp Verde senior Joseph Tinghitella by a 9-1 quarterfinal major decision, fell by semifinal second
period pin to Mogollon junior Malaki Porter, and decisioned Willcox freshman Kash Macumber 6-2 in
the consolation semifinal and Saint David junior Devvin Deskins 9-2 for third place.
Sanchez (4-1, 1 pin) pinned Page freshman Tairick in the first round first period, defeated Winslow
freshman Rudy Gonzalez by an 8-0 quarterfinal major decision, decisioned 1-4 by Miami senior
Skylar Guerrero in the semifinals, decisioned Saint Johns senior Nicholas Patterson 3-2 in the
consolation semifinals and Thatcher sophomore Scott Amber 2-0 for third place.
Casillas (5-2, 3 pins) fell to Willcox senior Arnold Ruiz by first round first period pin, drew a
consolation first round bye, pinned Tucson Catalina Magnet senior Bryan Doucette in the consolation
second round first period, defeated Mica Mountain sophomore Aaron Rodarte by a 16-6 consolation
third round major decision and Camp Verde senior Dade Woodard by a 9-1 consolation fourth round
major decision, pinned Ruiz in the consolation fifth round second period and Globe senior Jacob
Gonzales in the consolation semifinal first period, and was pinned by Eagar Round Valley junior
Morgan Orona in the third place second period to finish fourth.
Hudman (4-2, 3 pins) pinned Bourgade sophomore Erik Moreno in the first round first period and
San Manuel senior Tobias Madrid in the second round second period, decisioned Saint David junior
Brayden Merrill 7-6 in the quarterfinals, fell to Thatcher junior Jesse Green by semifinal third period
pin, pinned Winslow senior Kailar Charley in the consolation semifinal third period, and was pinned by
Merrill in third place third period to end fourth.
Saiz (4-3, 3 pins) pinned Phoenix Northwest Christian junior Nathan Metzger in the first round first
period and Saint Johns sophomore Ryan Lewis in the second round third period, fell to Mogollon
junior Fisher Porter by a quarterfinal third period pin, pinned Camp Verde junior Logan Kurowski in
the consolation fourth round third period, decisioned Santa Cruz senior Mauricio Lopez 12-5 in the
consolation fifth round, fell to Wickenburg sophomore Coy Bowser by a consolation semifinal second
period pin and to Yuma catholic sophomore Lorenzo Duran by 2-5 fifth place decision to end sixth.
Summer (3-2, 2 pins) pinned Tombstone sophomore Nathaniel Gleason in the first round first
period, received a forfeit from Benjamin Franklin in the second round, fell to Saint Johns junior James
Thomas by injury default in the quarterfinals, pinned San Manuel junior Isaiah Lopez in the
consolation fourth round second period, and was decisioned 0-5 by Arizona Lutheran junior Gabriel
McKinney in the consolation fifth round.
Nelson (4-2, 4 pins) pinned San Manuel senior Adrian Romero in the first round second period, fell
to Yuma Catholic senior Jacob Bernal by a second round third period pin, pinned Parker sophomore
Jonathan Montoya in the consolation second round second period, Thatcher junior Clayton Allred in
the consolation third round second period, and Pima senior Nash Hughes in the consolation fourth round second period, and bowed out to Saint Johns senior Slade Nevins by second period pin in the
consolation fifth round.
Saint Johns placed third with 178 points, Thatcher fourth (137.5), Mogollon fifth (132.5), Santa Cruz
sixth (130), Winslow seventh (126), Globe eighth (133.5), Arizona Lutheran ninth (114), and Willcox
Miami was 11th (99.5), Northwest Christian 12th (79), Mica Mountain 13th (77), Camp Verde 14th
(70.5), Round Valley 15th (66), Holbrook 16th (59.5), Saint David 17th (58), Parker 18th (53), San
Manuel 19th (50), and Pima 20th (47).
Page ended 21st (43), Fountain Hills 22nd (35), Wickenburg 23rd (34), Seton Catholic 24th (24),
Benson and Joseph City tied for 25th (17), Phoenix Christian 27th (16), Mayer 28th (13), Bourgade
Catholic 29th (12), Bagdad 30th (8), Tombstone 31st (6), Tempe Prep 32nd (4), Chandler Prep 33rd
(3), and Catalina Magnet did not score.
Saint Johns had seven of 12 entrants placing, Thatcher 5-13, Mogollon 5-10, Santa Cruz 4-9,
Winslow 5-13, Globe 5-8, Arizona Lutheran 6-11, Willcox 3-12, Miami 3-10, Northwest Christian 3-11,
Mica Mountain 2-13, Camp Verde 1-11, Round Valley 3-10, Holbrook 2-9, Saint David 2-5, Parker 2-
6, San Manuel 1-10, Pima 2-10, Page 2-11, Fountain Hills 1-11, Wickenburg 1-8, and Seton Catholic
Bourgade Catholic had 12 entrants, Joseph City and Bagdad eight apiece, Mayer and Tombstone
six each, Phoenix Christian five, Benson and Tempe Prep four apiece, and Chandler Prep three.
Benjamin Franklin forfeited six entrants.
The other individual state champions were Globe sophomore Gabriel Gonzales (113, 4-0, 3 pins);
Mogollon juniors Cael Porter (132, 5-0, 1 pin), Malaki Porter (145, 5-0, 4 pins), and Fisher Porter
(182, 4-0, 1 pin); Santa Cruz juniors Wyatt Ogle (138, 5-0, 3 pins) and Diego Chavez (195, 5-0, 5
pins); Willcox senior Ote Allsup (160, 5-0, 5 pins); Saint Johns junior James Thomas (170, 4-0, 2
pins); and Yuma Catholic senior Jayden Dobson (285, 4-0, 4 pins).
Morenci’s other state championship teams scored 236 or 39 more than runner-up Joseph City
(197) in 1999, 232 or 66.5 more than Maricopa (165.5) in 2005, 218 points or 48 more than Saint
Johns (170) in 2017, 208.5 or 62.5 more than Winslow (146) in 2016, 206 or seven more than San
Manuel (199) in 2003, 195 or 50.5 more than Mogollon (135.5) in 2001, and 192 or 7.5 more than
Joseph City (184.5) in 2000.
Four champions were crowned in one season four previous times, but it is the first time in the
Wildcats’ 47 seasons they have earned five individual titles. Those champions were senior Rusty
Nations (135, 4-0, 2 pins), freshman Waldo Gutierrez Jr. (152, 4-0), senior Mark Studer (169, 4-0, 3
pins), and junior Manuel Nabor (171, 4-0, 2 pins) in 2000; senior Benny Corbell (125), junior Jeffrey
Padilla (140), junior Waldo Gutierrez Jr. (171), and senior Casey Woodall (189) in 2002; senior
Jeffrey Padilla (140, 4-0, 3 pins), senior Chad Corbell (152, 4-0, 1 pin), senior Waldo Gutierrez Jr.
(171, 4-0, 2 pins), and senior Joe Vargas (189, 4-0, 1 pin) in 2003; and junior Coty Cota (120, 4-0, 1
pin), sophomore Mark Roybal (132, 4-0, 3 pins), senior Christian White (195, 4-0, 4 pins), and senior
Jordan Arbizo (285, 4-0, 4 pins) in 2017.
The Wildcats have finished in the Division IV Top 10 during each of the previous 10 state meets.
The Wildcats ended fifth in 2014, third (2012-13, 2019), second (2011, 2015, 2018, 2020), and twice
Six of the 2020 Top 10 finishers were on Morenci’s schedule this season, No. 1 Eloy Santa Cruz
with 199.5 points or 48 more than runner-up Morenci, No. 3 Saint Johns (111), No. 4 Heber Mogollon
(93), No. 5 Globe (91.5), No. 6 Yuma Catholic (83), and No. 10 Benson (64.5).
The 2021 Wildcats (13-0) outscored their opponents by an average score per dual of 55-16 (714-
211) or by a 39-point margin. Morenci prevailed in 71 percent (80-113) head-to-head bouts, winning
with the same percentage (57-80) by pin. A total of 51 forfeits were awarded to the Wildcats while
Morenci topped the Cowboys 81-0 in Camp Verde (Jan. 20), the Phoenix Arizona Lutheran
Coyotes 47-30 in Morenci (Jan. 23), the Bobcats 28-0 in Benson (Jan. 27), the Mogollon Mustangs 63-18 in Heber (Jan. 30), the Willcox Cowboys 45-19 in Morenci (Feb. 3), the Roughriders 70-6 in
Pima (Feb. 10), the Safford Bulldogs 47-24 in Morenci (Feb. 11), the Globe Tigers 55-19 in Morenci
(Feb. 13), the Thatcher Eagles 62-18 in Morenci (Feb. 17), the Yuma Catholic Shamrocks 43-22 in
Morenci (Feb. 20), the Redskins 50-28 in Saint Johns (Feb. 23), the Santa Cruz Dust Devils 57-21 in
Morenci (Feb. 24) and the Saint David Tigers 66-6 (Feb. 27) in Morenci.
A total of 21 different Wildcats competed in at least one varsity bout during the regular season,
including six freshmen, five sophomores, five juniors, and five seniors. Those helping prepare their
teammates and not representing the school in the state meet were freshman Albert Cobas (220, 2-1),
sophomores Arianna Sarrett (113, 2-0, 1 pin), Jordan Anaya (126, 0-1), and Andrew Castillo
(182/195, 3-3, 1 pin); junior Martin Smith (126/132/138, 5-0, 4 pins); and seniors Conner Williams
(145, 0-1) and PaulDaniel Moreno (152/170, 1-1, 1 pin).
Sarrett (113, 3-3, 3 pins) placed sixth and earned 13 team points in the second girls state tourney
held at Gilbert Mesquite earlier in the month.
Five of 13 Eagles placed and 11 contributed team points.
Senior Brayden Oliver (182, 4-1, 1 pin) and junior Jesse Green (160, 4-1, 3 pins) placed second,
senior Landon Bryce (106, 4-1, 3 pins) placed third, and both senior Mason Underwood (170, 4-2, 4
pins) and sophomore Scott Ambler (285, 3-2, 2 pins) were fourth.
Non-placers included juniors Joseph Howard (145, 2-2, 2 pins), Clayton Allred (195, 1-2, 1 pin),
and James Green (220, 0-2); sophomores Cooper Udall (152, 2-2) and Bradyn Willey (138, 1-2, 1
pin); and freshmen Erik Carrasco (126, 3-2, 2 pins), Cooper Rhoton (132, 1-2), Carter Peck (120, 0-
Jesse Green added 27 points, Oliver 23, Underwood 22, Bryce 20, Ambler 16, Carrasco 7.5,
Howard 6, Udall 5, Allred and Rhoton 4 each, and Willey 3. James Green and Peck did not score.
Two of 10 Roughriders placed and six added team points.
Junior Mason Palmer (145, 4-2) placed fifth and senior Jarom Larson (126, 3-3, 1 pin) was sixth.
Others representing the school were seniors Hunter Cluff (120, 1-2, 1 pin), Nash Hughes (195, 1-
2), and Dallin Preston (160, 0-2); junior Joseph Boswell (138, 2-2, 2 pins); and freshmen Pepper
Hughes (182, 2-2, 2 pins), Hayden Blair (132, 1-2), Logan Cluff (106, 0-2), and Jaxon John (152, 0-2).
Larson and Palmer both had 11 points, Boswell and Pepper Hughes seven apiece, Nash Hughes
four, and Blair three.
Senior Angelina Berume went 1-2 with a pin at 126 and earned four team points during the second
girls state tourney held earlier in the month.