PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz.
Fourteen weight classes through four divisions were decided at the Arizona State Wrestling tournament last week.
None of the area teams snagged a team trophy, but there were a lot of local wrestlers that placed at state for the very first time. All totaled, there were sixteen state placers.
Window Rock senior Carnelius Nez said it best when asked about what it meant to get more of his teammates on the podium at state in the Division IV level.
“That’s a positive note and it means we’re all getting better,” he said. “It shows we can hang with the big boys and hopefully that sends a message to the younger guys that Native Americans can come out here and compete at the state level.”
Last year, Nez finished as the reserve champion in the 170-pound weight class. He was hoping for gold, but this year he settled for fifth place in the same division.
“I felt like I deserved more than this, but it’s all right,” he said. “I still got a medal. I still had a very successful season and I don’t regret anything.”
Monument Valley was another team that fared well at the state tournament by getting three wrestlers on the podium.
“This was a great accomplishment for our boys,” Mustang first-year coach Jacob Collins said.
Chinle and Tuba City also had some representations by getting one wrestler in the medal rounds.
As a team, Winslow and Page had multiple state placers with the Bulldogs finishing sixth overall in Division IV while the Sand Devils took seventh in Division III.