Safford wrestlers decorated for accomplishments this past season

Contributed Photo: Safford wrestlers display their awards from the season. Pictured are, from left, Kaleb Cordova, Gary Smith, Gauge Romero, Gabriel Enriquez, Andrew Rios, Monster Rios, Jeremiah Durazo, James Lujan; middle, Ryder Rios and Noah Jurado, front and kneeling, Brody Hinton, Maddex Romero, Chris Medina, and Alex Chacon.

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Contributed Photo: Kaleb Cordova displays his accolades from the season. The eighth-grader was the state triple crown winner for finishing first in Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco. He is also the U.S.A. Nationals Freestyle and Folkstyle champion and is the D-Day the Midway champion, in which he wrestled on an aircraft carrier.

Safford wrestling coach Phillip Ornelas and his wrestlers have completed a successful wrestling season, which included multiple champions. 

“It’s great to see young wrestlers work so hard to accomplish great feats. These kids work extremely hard and earn what they get,” coach Ornelas said in an email to the Gila Herald. “No participation awards here. It’s even better seeing them continue to strive to be the best they can be. At an early age, we are teaching our wrestlers integrity and accountability, which are skills that will last them a lifetime. The medals are a small token of the overall goal we have for our wrestlers. We are invested and will stay invested until every wrestler is where they want to be. 

With that being said, just know this is not easy. This takes dedicated wrestlers, parents, coaches and hours and hours of work. This wrestling family is small, and there is a reason for it. It’s not for everyone. Wrestlers come and go, but those who stay are rewarded. Put the work in and you will see a change. Be the change!

Contributed Photo: From left, Noah Jurado displays his awards for placing at state in both Folkstyle and Freestyle, and Ryder Rios displays his award for being the state runner-up in Folkstyle.

Huge shoutout to Coach Herman, Manny, Mike and Bernie for all they do for our kids! All these coaches voluntarily travel around the state and country to help create a positive future for our youth. It’s awesome to have great assistants and even better to be able to learn from a hall of fame coach like Herman. can’t wait to see what they can accomplish this year on and off the mat.”