JOSEPH CITY, Ariz.
The Page wrestling team was right where they expected to be after the first day of the 46th annual Joseph City wrestling tournament.
The Sand Devils won their six-team pool and amassed 398 points before the tournament shifted into the eight-man bracket with the top two seeds advancing.
The Sand Devils qualified 10 with half of those wrestlers advancing into the championship finals in their respective weight class.
“We took silver in all of those matches,” Page coach Kyran Keisling said. “They all wrestled really tough, but they were just outmatched by better wrestlers.”
The five wrestlers who finished as the reserve champions were Kameron Whitewater (106), Christian Penrod (132), Hayden Gracia (145), Dorian Daw (152), and Dakota Richardson (285).
“The semifinal and final rounds highlighted a lot of wrestlers that are going to take medals at state,” Keisling said. “And several of them, unless there is a mild upset, will win state titles this year.”
Some of those top echelon wrestlers include grapplers from Camp Verde and Yuma, as those two teams finished ahead of Page in the team standing in the 24-team invite.
Yuma won the tournament with 533 points while Camp Verde tallied 462 and Page finished with 441.5 points.
“We were battling with Camp Verde and we were hoping to overtake them but we came up short,” Keisling said. “We didn’t win any gold so we didn’t score any points.”
Page did have three wrestlers win their final match with Dante Gracia (113), Matthew Tuni (120) and Taylor Nez (185) winning the consolation championship.
“They took third and earned a few more points for us,” Keisling said.
The Sand Devil also had Jeremy Tallsalt (182) place fourth and Carson Stansfield (126) seventh.
Afterward Daw was named the Ron Morris Sportsmanship Award, a recognition that was voted by the other coaches. During the bracket portion of the tournament, Daw post a pair of overtime wins, including one that went into triple overtime to make the finals.
“Honestly, I was out there to have fun,” Daw said when asked if he was surprised to make the championship round after two exhausting wins. “As long as my friends and family cheer me on.”