Morenci wrestlers end as state runners-up for a top-two finish for the fourth straight year

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior Ruben Casillas (126, 3-2, 2 pins) finished fourth, earned 16 points, and is 5-4 with four pins in two state meets. Morenci took home second place at state and Nicolas Carrasco won an individual state championship.

Carrasco is state champion

By Raymundo Frasquillo

PRESCOTT – The goal of being the best at something, to end as state champions, eluded the 2018 Casey Woodall-coached Morenci wrestlers. Although short of accomplishing their season-long goal, the Wildcats did the best they could when called upon, placing seven of 13 entrants, one each in first and fifth, two in second, and three in fourth. Except for an injury default, each of Morenci’s entrants improved on 2017 finishes.

“I’m very proud of our kids,” said the fifth-year MHS coach. “We always feel we could do better, but our team competed with character and class, and that is always most important.”

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Seniors Jacob Vierra, Cory Cota, and Gabriel Cabrera pose with the runner-up trophy alongside head coach Casey Woodall. The Class of 2018 trio, along with Nicolas Carrasco, helped the Wildcats earn four consecutive top two state finishes.

St.  Johns placed eight of 13 entrants and totaled 25 points more (171.5 – 146.5) than Morenci to walk out of the Prescott Valley Events Center as Division IV State Champions on Feb. 10. The individual placements were one in first, second, and sixth, plus two each in third and fourth.

The Redskins went from fourth (2015, 127.5 points), to third (2016, 134.5), to second (2017, 170), to first. The Redskins were state champions in 2012 (236), and runners-up in both 2013 (195.5) and 2014 (219).

Morenci was also state runners-up in 2015 (158.5) and state champions in both 2016 (208.5) and 2017 (218), up from fifth (2014, 146.5), third (2013, 164.5), and third (2012, 165.5). This season was the third straight year the Wildcats qualified 13 of 14 entrants. Twelve of 14 qualified in 2015.

The Wildcats went 28-22 with 16 pins in head-to-head pairings, with a win by pin percentage of 57 (16-28). The wins were eight by first-period pin, three by second-period pin, two by third-period pin, three by technical fall (15 or more points), three by major decision (8-14 points), five by decision, two by sudden victory, and two by forfeit. The losses were one by first-period pin, six by second-period pin, two by third-period pin, two by major decision, nine by decision, and one by injury default.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Senior Nicolas Carrasco (138, 4-0, 2 pins) received a forfeit, plus notched a 16-1 technical fall, a first period pin, and a 20-8 major decision en route to becoming Morenci’s 59th state champion, the second at 138. He earned 28.5 team points and ended 13-6 with five pins during four state meets.

Individually, senior 138-pound Nicolas Carrasco (4-0, 2 pins) became the school’s 59th state champion and second at 138; seniors Cory Cota (120, 4-0, 3 pins) and Jacob Vierra (182, 3-0, 2 pins) were both state runners-up; sophomore Calvin Dunning (113, 3-2, 2 pins) and juniors Ruben Casillas (126, 3-2, 2 pins) and Mark Roybal (145, 3-2, 2 pins) were fourth; and freshman Marcus Morales (106, 4-2, 3 pins) was fifth.

Senior Gabriel Cabrera (152, 1-2), juniors Nathan Willey (220, 2-2, 1 pin), Omar Ortega (285, 1-2), and Beau Wagner (195, 0-2) and sophomores Carlos Bray (132, 1-2) and Steven Roybal (160, 0-2) did not place.

Carrasco received a first-round forfeit from Coolidge junior Marcos Macazan, notched a 16-1 quarterfinal technical fall over Phoenix Arizona Lutheran senior Jon Althoff, pinned Eagar Round Valley sophomore Marc Iriyogen in the first period, and posted a 20-8 major decision over Joseph City junior Cameron Baldwin for the title.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Freshman Marcus Morales (106, 4-2, 3 pins) gained a 10-6 sudden victory for fifth place and earned 15 points.

Cota gained a 17-1 first round technical fall over Phoenix Northwest Christian sophomore Corbin Hulbert, a 15-0 quarterfinal technical foul over Chandler Arizona College Prep senior Davorer Bishop, and a 5-3 semifinal sudden victory over Arizona Lutheran senior Blake Wene before succumbing 1-13 in a major decision Queen Creek Casteel freshman Ramon Ramos for the title.

Vierra pinned Winslow freshman Kyle Lavin and Fountain Hills senior in the first round and quarterfinal first period, respectively, and compiled a 12-4 semifinal major decision over Saint Johns senior Pacer Wiltbank before falling to Globe senior Riley Cline by a third period pin for the title.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Sophomore Calvin Dunning (113, 3-2, 2 pins) was fourth with a 5-6 decision and earned 17 points.

Dunning pinned Ganado freshman Nalin Silvers in the first round first period, tallied an 11-3 quarterfinal major decision over Yuma Catholic sophomore Miguel Loya, fell by a 7-10 semifinal decision to Fountain Hills sophomore Dominic Mastroianni, pinned Willcox junior Gabe Fuentes in the consolation semifinal third period, and was edged by Saint Johns freshman Boaz Bastrus in a 5-6 decision to finish fourth.

Casillas pinned Wellton Antelope senior Christian Rendon in the first round first period, decisioned Heber Mogollon junior Seth Reidhead 7-4 in the quarterfinals, fell by a semifinal third period pin to Camp Verde sophomore Korben Uhler, pinned Willcox sophomore Kelby Flowers in the consolation semifinal, and was decisioned 9-14 by Reidhead to finish fourth.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior Mark Roybal (145, 3-2, 2 pins) placed forth, earned 16 points, and is 10-4 with six pins in three state meets.

Mark Roybal pinned Kayenta Monument Valley sophomore Marion Seaton in the first round first period, pinned Round Valley senior Mikey Mariscal in the quarterfinal third period, was decisioned 4-8 by Arizona Lutheran junior Jake Borneman in the semifinal, decisioned Coolidge senior David Marquez 11-5 in the consolation semifinal, and defaulted by injury to Benson junior David Ens to finish fourth.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Junior Nathan Wiley (220, 2-2, 1 pin) earned five points and got in twice as many matches as he did last year at state, but did not place.

Morales pinned Monument Valley sophomore Melton Curley in the first round second period, fell by a 4-6 quarterfinal sudden victory to Eloy Santa Cruz Valley Union junior Ogle Bryant, pinned Winslow freshman Max Foy in the consolation second round second period, pinned Pima freshman Jarom Larson in the consolation third round first period, fell by a consolation semifinal 4-13 major decision to Northwest Christian senior Tanner Webb, and got a 10-6 sudden victory over Bryant for fifth place.

Willey pinned Antelope senior Nathan Iverson in the first round first period, was decisioned 6-9 by Pinon junior Calvert Tsosie in the quarterfinals, decisioned San Manuel senior Max Fisher 6-2 in the consolation second round, and fell to Thatcher junior Gauge Bryce by a 2-8 consolation third round decision.

Cabrera fell by a 2-8 first round decision to Arizona College Prep freshman Korosh Eshani, decisioned Camp Verde sophomore Dillan Tressler in the consolation first round, and fell by a 1-3 consolation second round decision to Benson junior Kyler Curtis.

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Senior Jacob Vierra (182, 3-1, 2 pins) placed second by a third period pin to Globe senior Riley Cline. He contributed 23 points and ended 6-2 with two pins during two state meets.

Bray was pinned by Joseph City senior Trey Tuckfield in the first round first period, gained a consolation first round forfeit from Phoenix Bourgade Catholic freshman Jose Gutierrez, and was pinned by Benson senior Howard Post in the consolation second round second period.

Ortega was pinned by Saint Johns senior Jonathan Holden in the first round second period, decisioned Round Valley sophomore J.P. McCall 4-3 in the consolation first round, and fell by a 0-5 consolation second round decision to Thatcher junior Quinton Mack.

Steven Roybal was pinned in the second period by Casteel freshman Ricardo Gutierrez in the first round and by Yuma Catholic senior McConnell Martinez in the consolation first round.

Wagner was pinned in the second period by Arizona College Prep senior Hadi Mazboudi in the first round and by Northwest Christian junior Lezi Bourland in the consolation first round.

Carrasco earned 28.5 points, Vierra 23, Cota 21, Dunning 17, Casillas and Mark Roybal 16 apiece, Morales 15, Willey 5, Bray 3, and both Cabrera and Ortega 1 one each.

In four state meets, Carrasco went 13-6 record with five pins, Cota (12-5, 5 pins, 4 state meets), Cabrera (2-6, 3 state meets), and Vierra (6-2, 2 pins, 2 state meets).

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Morenci head coach Casey Woodall shows his intensity.

Mark Roybal is 10-4 with six pins in three state meets, Casillas (5-4, 4 pins, 2 state meets), and Willey (2-4, 1 pin, 2 state meets).

Camp Verde landed three state champions, senior top seed Skyler Pike (113, 4-0, 3 pins), sophomore top seed Korben Uhler (126, 4-0, 2 pins), and junior second seed Anthony Tinghitella (132, 4-0, 1 pin); and Benson two in senior fourth seed Riley Cline (182, 4-0, 3 pins) and sophomore seventh seed Clayson Goodwin (195, 4-0, 1 pin).

The other state champions were San Manuel freshman top seed Gilbert Rodriguez (106, 4-0, 2 pins), Casteel freshman third seed Ramon Ramos (120, 4-0, 3 pins), California Winterhaven San Pasqual freshman second seed Nicolas Steele (145, 4-0, 2 pins), Phoenix Arizona Lutheran junior second seed Brandon Garcia (152, 4-0, 2 pins), Santa Cruz junior third seed Andres Jimenez (160, 4-0, 3 pins), Pima senior top seed Ryne Lewis (170, 4-0, 2 pins), St. Johns senior top seed T.J. Heap (220, 4-0, 3 pins), and Arizona College Prep senior top seed Yousuf Halik (285, 4-0, 3 pins).

The rest of the top 10 teams were Camp Verde third with 138.5 points and 7-of-10 placers, Arizona Lutheran fourth (125.5, 5-10), Casteel fifth (80.5, 2-13), Benson sixth (80, 4-6), Yuma Catholic seventh (77, 3-8), Round Valley eighth (72, 4-12), Santa Cruz ninth (70.5, 4-7), and Arizona College Prep 10th (69.5, 4-8).

Wickenburg was 11th with 68 points and 3-of-5 placers, Northwest Christian 12th (67, 3-9), Pima 13th (59, 2-6), Willcox 14th (56.5, 3-6), Fountain Hills 15th (52, 3-4), Winslow 16th (48.5, 2-7), Joseph City 17th (44, 2-5), Globe 18th (40, 2-3), Thatcher 19th (39, 2-7), and Buckeye Odyssey Institute 20th (35, 2-3).

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Senior Cory Cota (120, 3-1, 2 pins) placed second by a 13-1 major decision to Queen Creek Casteel freshman Ramon Ramos. He earned 21 points and went 12-5 with five pins during four state meets.

Mogollon ended 21st with 32 points and 2-of-3 placers, San Manuel 22nd (28, 1-3), Ganado (27, 2-7) and San Pasqual (27, 1-1) tied for 23rd, Antelope 25th (25, 1-3), Parker 26th (21, 1-4), Pinon 27th (20, 1-1), Miami 28th (19.5, 0-6), and Coolidge (15, 1-3), Monument Valley (15, 0-11) and Tuba City (15, 1-3) tied for 29th.

Bisbee (7, 1-4) and Flagstaff Northland Prep (7, 0-2) tied for 32nd, Keams Canyon Hopi (3, 0-3), Tempe Prep (3, 0-1), Whiteriver Alchesay (3, 0-1), and Winkelman Hayden (3, 0-1) tied for 34th, and Fort Defiance Window Rock (2, 0-3) and San Carlos (2, 0-2) tied for 38th.

Not scoring were Chandler Valley Christian with one entrant, Mohave Valley River Valley (one), Queen Creek Benjamin Franklin (two), Queen Creek San Tan Foothills (one), Phoenix Bourgade Catholic (two), and Teec Nos Pos Red Mesa (one). Each entrant went 0-2.

The other individual Section II champions, Benson junior Kyler Curtis (152) was fifth, Willcox sophomore Caiden Hall (195) fifth, and Thatcher junior Quinton Mack (285) fifth, Benson senior Howard Post (132) sixth, Pima sophomore Brennon Hughes (160) did not place.

A total of 224 entrants from 45 teams were in the state meet, with Casteel, Morenci, and Saint Johns tied for the most (13) and Alchesay, Hayden, Pinon, Red Mesa, River Valley, San Pasqual, San Tan Foothills, Tempe Prep, and Valley Christian tied with the fewest (1).

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