Joseph City wrestling tourney
By Quentin Jodie
JOSEPH CITY, Ariz.
(Times photo - Paul Natonabah
The Joseph City wrestling tournament is one of them.
From top to bottom, the 41st annual event showcased some the best wrestlers the state has to offer.
That long list included several wrestlers who are either favored to win a state championship or be among the pool to challenge for it.
Mogollon senior Boone Baker is one of those intriguing prospects that has a good chance of repeating as a state champ in the 182-pound class.
He's a wrestler that doesn't mess around and Greyhills Academy senior Darrel Yazzie can vouch for that.
"I tried different things," Yazzie said. "But some of my moves I couldn't finish through because he was too strong."
Nonetheless, Yazzie wrestled well with Baker and trailed 2-0 after the first period. But with a 52 seconds left in the next period, Yazzie was caught off guard and Baker was there for the pin.
"I've been competing against him since my freshman year," Yazzie said. " But I just can't get him."
Still, the Mogollon wrestler wasted little time in applauding Yazzie's effort.
"He's going to be a stud," Baker said. "He's going to be ridiculous at the end of the season and I know he's going to work hard and come back."
Incidentally, the two wrestlers almost didn't meet in Saturday's final because there was some confusion on Yazzie's head-to-head record among the field as he finished pool play with a 5-2 record.
Baker and Chino Valley's Tazman Sroul finished ahead of Yazzie, but the Greyhills wrestler never wrestled Sroul. Instead, it was Chino Valley wrestler Patch Dalcerro who beat Yazzie. (Dalcerro wrestled in the 180-pound weight class.)
And when the bracket finals were released, Yazzie's name didn't appear on the list, which prompted Greyhills Academy coach Christopher Curley to file a complaint.
"Darrel didn't match-up with Sroul and they replaced him Patch," Curley said. "And you know Patch is a good wrestler so it wasn't fair that they did that."
The Knights, who racked up 157 points in the 16-team tournament, also got a third place finish from senior Carleton Robbins in the 195-pound weight class.
"We brought 10 wrestlers and even though we didn't get as many kids in the finals this was a good tournament," Curley said. "We had some wrestlers who dropped a couple of matches that could have gone either way."
Pinon, which placed four wrestlers, finished the tournament with 176 points headed by the third place showing from Brandon Tsosie in the 182-pound weight class.
In Saturday night's semifinal, Tsosie was pinned by Greyhills' Darrel Yazzie then rebounded with a 15-1 major decision over Hopi's Marty Youvella.
"I couldn't get him pinned so I was just working to get points," Tsosie said of his strategy.
The Eagles also got a fourth place effort from Joshua Reyes in the 285-pound division and two sixth place finishes from brothers Deandrew Teller (113-pound) and Dannovan Teller (145-pound).
"I am very pleased that most of my guys placed in the tournament," Pinon coach Brent Maynard said. "We're going to see improvements because we're still moving forward. We have not peaked yet and I think we're going to see better results from us."
As the only team from New Mexico, the Wingate Bears got four wrestlers onto the podium.
Led by the second place finish from Joseph Harvey in the heavyweight division, the Bears finished the tournament with 238 points.
"This was a good tournament," Wingate coach Chris Begay said. "The kids surprised us because the holiday break hurt us. We're still on break and some of our kids can't commute to get a good workout."
Other placers for Wingate include Kyle Francisco who was third in the 120-pound class, Thomas Wallace who was fourth at 160 pounds and Hansen Peterson, fifth at 220 pounds.
Harvey, who finished 6-1 in pool play, had his work cut for him in Saturday's finals against Pima's Leland Schmidt.
Schmidt, who had at least had a 70-pound advantage, pinned Harvey in 3:36.
"He told me that he placed second last year at state," Harvey said. "I tried to move faster than him, but he got me by rolling me over."
Francisco, meanwhile, was pinned by Camp Verde's Ryan Allred in the semifinal then rebounded nicely with a fall over John Estensen of Kingman.
"It was nice to go out like that," Francisco said of picking up the third place medal.
When asked about his match-up with Allred, Francisco said he was the most experienced wrestler he's faced this year.
"He's been wrestling for nine years now and it always good to compete against guys like him," he said. "He was really quick and he can finish his moves."
Many Farms finished the meet with 86.5 points. The Lobos got one individual qualified in Saturday's medal round with Daniel Nelson finishing fifth in the 120-pound category.
"This tournament gave us a chance to wrestle," Many Farms coach Ambrose Yazzie said. "We put in at least four to five matches and that was what I was looking for."
In the final team standings, Camp Verde bested the field by placing nine wrestlers in the finals. Of those finalists, the Cowboys picked up eight individual titles and racked up 629.5 points, ahead of Chino Valley (577), Kingman (416) and Pima (410).
Hopi was the highest finisher among area teams. The Bruins finished the meet with 267 points and placed three individuals headed by Zachery Youvella, who finished second in the 145-pound weight class.
"Out of 16 teams we finished right in the middle," Hopi coach Jimmy Carl said while noting that his team went 3-3-1 in dual competition. "This is a tough tournament and I didn't expect us to finish this high."
The Bruins also got a fourth place showing from Marty Youvella at 182 pounds and a fifth place effort from Shane Davis in the 220-pound class.