Window Rock finishes third at sectional tournament

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

JOSEPH CITY, Ariz., February 7, 2013

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(Times photo – Paul Natonabah)

TOP: Window Rock's Ike Owens puts a headlock on Many Farms' Davidson Morgan in their 145-pound bout at Joseph City.


Window Rock's Jeremy Jesus works on the arms of Mikko Ferinza of Holbrook in their 182-pound match at the Arizona Division IV Section II wrestling tournament on Feb 2. Ferinza won the match with a 8-2 decision.

C onsidering the new state seeding process, the stakes were pretty high at every sectional tournament over the weekend.

With the top four in each weight class making the state tournament, the Arizona Interscholastic Association instituted a new format to seed this year's qualifiers.

Under the new rule, the sectional champions and their runner-ups are placed into a six-man pool for seeding considerations at the state tournament.

Window Rock sophomore Ike Owens benefitted from that new arrangement as he was seeded fourth in the 145-pound weight class at this week's Division IV state wrestling championships in Prescott, Ariz.

On Saturday, Owens placed finished first at the sectional meet in Joseph City by pinning Davison Morgan of Many Farms in the finals.

"It feels good, my hard work has paid off," Owens said. "I've pushed myself to the limits and lately I've been wrestling smart."

For much of Saturday, the Scouts wrestled smart as they finished in third place with 115 points behind Holbrook (255.5) and Joseph City (150).

"Our whole team is dedicated," Owens said. "Our studs our Manuelito Chief and Andres Lonebear. I compete with them and you know are real great teammates. All my teammates are positive, they keep their heads up whether we win or lose.

Besides Owens, the Scouts did get three other kids in the finals with Juan Jesus (132), Andres Lonebear (160) and Jeremy Jesus (182) finishing second.

As a team the Scouts qualified seven wrestlers for state, which is five more than last year.

"I was pretty pleased with how the kids did today," Window Rock coach Albert Bettis said. "Heading into the semifinals we were sitting in first place for a little while. After the semifinals we stayed in third.

"For the most part the kids stepped it up to get qualified," he added. "They worked really hard this past week to push themselves, especially the upperclassmen."

The other state qualifiers included Marsamo Byjoe (113), Manuelito Chief (152) third and Nicholas Seanez (285).

"I would like to have had more matches going into state, but we lost three of them because of weather earlier in the year," Bettis said. "But I am happy we finished with a 16-11 record in duals so there is some improvement there as far as how we competed this year."

Ganado will have some representation at the state meet with four qualifiers headed by Layne Curley (145).

As the only state qualifier for Ganado last season, Curley will be joined with Jeremy Wauneka (168), Trent Peterson (195) and Antonio Tsosie (220).

"There is no question that my kids battled," Ganado coach Jim Dowse said. "The guys that qualify and the kids that didn't qualify, the difference in every case was just a couple of points.

I am real excited they are going to get down to Prescott and experience that competition," Dowse added.

For Tuba City, they earned three qualifications headed by the first-place finish from Frankie Begaye in the 138-pound weight class.

In the most exciting finals, Begaye held off Joshua Burt of Joseph City and came away with an 8-7 win.

"That's the first time I beat him," Begaye said. "He's pinned me two times, but I just tried to stay in the match and finish."

In the last minute of their bout, Burt came up with a takedown to tie the match before Begaye was awarded a reversal with 30 seconds left.

"It was very hard to finish because my arms had no more oxygen to hold him down," Begaye said. "I had to dig deep and find the strength to hold it until the clock ran out."

"His hard work paid off," Tuba City coach Brent Williams said. "He's been working real hard at practice and now he's a third seed."

In Division III, the Monument Valley Mustangs earned two qualifications with Lakota Laugher placing second in the 182-pound weight class at the sectional meet in Winslow on Saturday.

Mikael Yazzie was the other MV qualifier in the 220-pound class while Chinle had heavy weight Joshua Smith making the cut as well. Smith finished third at last weekend's sectional meet.

Page earned five state bids with Kemp Todacheene winning the 132-pound bracket. The Sand Devils also had two finalists at the sectional meet with Wyman Yellowhair (126) and Julius Descheenie (152) finishing second.

Page got two third-place finishes from Mattie Suttie (195) and Coniah Bilagody (220).

The Division IV state championships will start on Friday and end on Saturday.

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