Arizona's Division III state wrestling

Senior class leads Page to tenth-place finish at state

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

PRESCOTT, Ariz., February 14, 2013

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F or the most part they ate, slept and lived wrestling.

Those are probably apt verbs to describe four of the five state qualifiers from the Page Sand Devils team.

On Saturday, they ended their high school careers by medaling at the Arizona Division III state wrestling meet with Kemp Todacheene leading the way with his third-place finish in the 132-pound category.

Page also got two other qualifiers in the consolation championship with Julius Descheenie (152-pounds) and Matt Suttie (195-pounds) placing fourth while Wyman Yellowhair earned fifth-place honors in the 126-pound weight class.

They helped the Sand Devils to an overall 10th place finish in the team competition with 58 points at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott, Ariz.

A week earlier the Sand Devils placed fourth at the sectional tournament in Winslow, Ariz.

"This is the best we've done at sectionals and at state in a while," Page coach Kyran Keisling said. "Our goal every year is to finish somewhere in the top ten at state and we've had some teams in the past reach that, but I do think these seniors have set a new benchmark and hopefully we can get over that bench and be somewhere in the top five.

"Every year we are working toward that," he added.

Keisling said Todacheene had a good shot of making it into the finals, but a few things didn't go his way as he lost a 6-3 decision to Sergio Chavez of Coolidge in the semifinals.

"If we were to wrestle that Coolidge kid again I think we could have beaten him," he said.

Needless to say, Keisling said Todacheenie was devastated.

"The goal was to make the state finals," he said. "He didn't accomplish that so it would have been easy for him to get down on himself, but he came back from that a wrestled a couple of good matches."

In his next match, Todacheene went toe to toe with Parker Hawk of Campo Verde before he pulled out an exciting 9-7 overtime win.

In that match, Keisling said Todacheene was down by as much as three points and with 45 seconds to go in regulation he trailed by a 6-5 count.

So in the closing seconds Todacheene let his opponent loose, and gave up a point to the Campo Verde wrestler. But just as time expired Todacheene tied the match with a takedown.

In overtime, the Page senior came up with another takedown and won the match, 9-7.

"He barely pulled it out with the skin of his teeth," Keisling said. "He wrestled really well."

In the consolation finals, Todacheene overworked his opponent and won a 6-1 decision over Anders Jenson Freidber of Desert Edge High School

"He beat him worse than what the score indicated," Keisling said, while adding that it was tough to look over at the championship match and watch the same Coolidge kid wrestle.

"I think if a few things bounced our way we could have been in that finals," he said.

As for Descheenie, he dropped out of the state title chase on first day of the competition.

In fact the 152-pounder lost his first match to a kid he pinned earlier in the year at the prestigious Doc Wright meet in Winslow.

But in a rematch, James Martinez of Winslow turned the tables and sent Descheenie into the consolation round with an 11-3 decision.

"I was sick the first day," Descheenie said. "I had a stomach virus and I didn't have any energy."

Nonetheless, he won his next three matches with very little trouble until he met up with Steve Stryker of Campo Verde in the consolation semifinal.

"Julius did really well and then he got hit and he was put on his back," Keisling said of that match. "He was down three points at that point, but he ended up pinning that kid in the third period."

In the consolation finals, Descheenie was beaten by a technical fall against Marcos Martinez as the Verrado High senior entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

"I really didn't care about the score," Descheenie said. "I was just trying to wrestle him."

"Julius wrestled hard, but he (Martinez) was just the better wrestler," Keisling added. "It wasn't disappointing because Julius didn't wrestle poorly or without passion. He gave it 100 percent and he took fourth."

With that, Keisling said Descheenie became a three-time medalist at state.

"Not too many kids from Page can stand on that podium and say they won three medals at state," Keisling said.

In the 195-pound bracket, Suttie surprised a lot of people by finishing fourth.

"For him to medal at this tournament is like a Cinderella story," Keisling said. "I thought that if he won two matches that would be great, but he ended up beating this kid from Coconino (Christian Morris) and that was a huge upset."

According to Keisling, Suttie lost two earlier matches to Morris during the regular season and both times he got pinned within seconds of the first period.

"It wasn't even a contest when he wrestled him," the Page coach said.

But at the state tournament Sutton "wrestled his best match of his life and ended up beating him 11-10," Keisling said.

As for Yellowhair, Keisling felt that he was sixth best wrestler in his weight class entering the tournament.

The 126-pound senior lost his first match before he came up with two straight pins to reach the medal round.

Unfortunately he came up short in his next two matches, losing to Winslow's Daniel Lopez by a 6-3 count and getting pinned by Austin Doll of Campo Verde.

"That was the second time I wrestled the Winslow kid and I thought I could have gotten him," Yellowhair said when asked about the highlight of the tournament. "He's a really strong kid and when I tried to take him down, he just outmuscled me."

As for Page's other state qualifier, Coniah Bilagody was pinned twice and exited the tournament on the first day of the competition.

Still, Keisling was very impress with his 220-pound sophomore.

"We always have goal setting at the beginning of the year," he said. "And his goal was to make state. It was a real lofty one, but he got it done.

"In the next couple of years the state will know who Coniah Bilagody is," he added.

Despite losing a senior dominated class, Keisling feels that next year's group will be stronger.

"I don't think we'll have that standout stud like Julius and Kemp, who are always in the mix and ranked high in the state," he said. "But I think our team from bottom to top is going to be real solid.

"We'll win more dual meets, but it'll be hard to determine how we will score in tournaments," he added. "But I think we'll be respectable for years to come even though we're losing a bunch of seniors."

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