Page lands two finalist at Sand Devil Classic
By Quentin Jodie
PAGE, January 24, 2013
(Special to the Times – Donovan Quintero)
T he depth chart at this year's Sand Devil Classic was pretty high.
The 23rd annual event featured 18 teams from Arizona, Colorado and Utah and it served as one of the best gathering for some of the top wrestlers in the Four Corners area.
With 10 wrestlers making the finals, the Camp Verde Cowboys took home the first-place trophy during the two-day tournament and accumulated 300.5 points, which nearly doubled the score of second-place Prescott (162.5).
Individually, the host team had two wrestlers make the finals with senior Julius Descheenie earning a hard-fought 7-6 win in the 152-pound category over Alex Anzar of Camp Verde.
In the 126-pound weight class, his teammate Wyman Yellowhair was pinned in the first quarter, falling to Isaiah Montoya of Camp Verde.
"I've been training really hard for this, but it's kind of sad since it's my last year," said Descheenie, who is ranked No. 2 in Arizona's Division III.
With only one week left in the regular season, Descheenie said he's trying to finish out his prep career on high note by winning a state title.
Last season he placed sixth in the 145-pound category at the state meet before he was bumped up a weight class.
Nonetheless, he's found some success and has recorded a 29-4 record, which includes a first-place finish at the prestigious Doc Wright meet two weeks ago.
"I was ranked No. 2 in that tournament," he said. "I wrestled a kid from St. Johns and he was undefeated going into that match."
The Sand Devils also got a second-place finish from Kemp Todacheene in the 132-pound weight class at that same tournament.
"It was pretty tough losing," Todacheene said. "I went up against a kid that was no joke because he was a two-time state champion."
Unfortunately for Todacheene he was under the weather over the weekend and he failed to replicate that feat at the Page meet as he placed sixth by dropping his last three matches.
Yellowman, who also fared well at the Doc Wright meet, said he's looking forward to the end of the season and his second-place finish at the Sand Devil meet served as an indicator of how the rest of the season will play out.
"I got a lot of hope for this year," Yellowman said, who went 3-1 at the Page meet. "I really want to place at state."
The Sand Devils, who tied for seventh place in the team standings with 110.5 points, also got a sixth-place effort from Justin Littleman in the 113-pound weight class.
Other schools that fared well individually at the Page meet included Kieshaun Aspaas of Kirtland Central. The KC wrestler finished first in the 120-pound class and helped pace his team to a tenth-place finish with 101.5 points.
In the 106-pound, Monument Valley's Brien Moreno won three matches before falling in the final to Matthew Mejia of Camp Verde.
So far the MV freshman has compiled a 31-3 record and his coach expects him to do well at both the sectional and state meets.
"You know he's wrestling really tough," said Monument Valley wrestling coach Clyde McBride.
McBride said Moreno suffered his first loss since the seventh grade two weeks ago at the Round Valley meet.
"It was good for him to lose that match because and it made him refocus," he said. "Now he's coming back and he's been looking good."
McBride is also expecting good things from freshman Xavier Hunt and senior Michael Yazzie
"He's really solid on his feet, really working hard on the mat," McBride said of Hunt, who finished in fifth place in the 113-pound weight class.
As for Yazzie, he came into the Page meet with three losses total in both the 220- and 280-pound class.
"He's an outstanding wrestler," McBride said of Yazzie. "He's a kid that I have high hopes."
In the 170-pound weight class, Ryan Smith of Valley placed fifth while Jedrek Hot of Red Mesa placed sixth in the 138-pound weight class.
All the Arizona schools will be competing in the sectional meets on Feb. 2 with the top four wrestlers in each weight class earning a bid to the state championship in Prescott Valley, Ariz., on Feb. 8-9.