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Cibola beats Gila Ridge, San Luis
Joshua Olson already won a winner-take-all match this year in Cibola's dual against Ironwood Ridge, leading the Raiders to victory over the defending state champions.
On Wednesday, Olson found himself in the same situation, and it ended the same way — with a victory for him and a team win for the Raiders.
The 113-pounder scored his third takedown against Gila Ridge's Colt Collier and this time never let go in a 12-9 win, giving the Raiders a 34-29 team win in the Hawks' gym.
“I guess maybe I was expecting a walkthrough this time, and it didn't happen,” the sophomore said. “But a win is a win. I got one for the team.”
The Raiders — who remained perfect in duals this season — led 31-8 in the team points after Jonathan Arviso rolled to a 15-1 win at 182. But pins by Emilio Castro at 195, Malachi Jones at heavyweight — his second of the day, as both teams played and beat San Luis earlier — and Nathan Mendivil at 106 helped cut the Raider lead to 31-29 heading into the last match of the day, the 113-pounders.
The first two rounds went exactly the same between Olson and Collier — Olson opened with a takedown, then Collier got a reverse and two-point nearfall, followed by a reverse by Olson. His second period reverse happened right at the buzzer to tie the match at eight.
“It's tough for anyone with all that pressure on them” Gila Ridge coach David King said. “But he wrestled real hard. His reverses were good, he wrestled hard on the bottom, he wrestled better on his feet than he has been. He was up a notch, and that's good to see.”
Collier opened the third round with an escape, then both King and the crowd reacted as if Collier scored a takedown, but the ref indicated no score. About 15 seconds later, Olson got a takedown, then with 1:02 left got a two-point nearfall. Collier seemed close to a reverse with about 30 seconds left, but couldn't finish the move.
“He was giving up some nearfall when he didn't realize it, and as soon as he realized it he bellied down and came back, did exactly what he needed to finish the match,” Cibola coach Mike Jankowski said. “He stayed in great position. He just stuck to the basics.”
Olson said he has wrestled against the Gila Ridge freshman before and was expecting better results.
“I've done better, I've beat the kid before,” Olson said. “When those cross-faces got thrown to me, I got mad. You're not supposed to wrestle mad because you wrestle like crap — there it was.”
Another big match came at 152, with Cibola's Miguel Lugo picking up his second win of the day, beating Isaac Saenz 4-3 on a takedown with six seconds left in the final period.
Saenz, who entered the match 17-0 and was third at the DII state tournament last year, got a takedown with 0:19 left for a 3-1 lead. Eight seconds later Lugo escaped, then took the lead with a pin with 0:06 left.
“I think he wrestled an awesome match until the last five seconds,” King said of Saenz. “He didn't know the score, he didn't know how much time was left. That's wrestling 101. That won't happen again. That's an easy fix. He wrestled the exact match he was supposed to until those last five seconds.”
Lugo said he sensed Saenz was getting tired.
“He was a tough guy and knew how to wrestle hard,” Lugo said. “I knew the score was close and it was going to be close. I just had to pull it out from my heart and take him down.
“I knew he was tired, and it was my opportunity to jump on him and take him down,” he said. “I knew he was broken.”
Jankowski said Lugo also entered the match with a perfect record, but more than that has been the undisputed leader for the Raiders — or at the very least has established himself as such.
“Lugo has been probably the brightest spot in our lineup this year,” Jankowski said. “His record reflects it obviously. He's undefeated, but it's how he's winning his matches. It's how he's gutted them out. ... He's the guy we're going to lean on from now on.”
The two teams have a history of close duals, with Cibola coming out on top. It turned out that way again.
“When we play them, they come at us. And we expect them to come at us,” Jankowski said. “They didn't take second in the state for no reason. They're a damn good program and they're going to continue to get better and better and it's going to keep getting closer and closer.”
King said there isn't a doubt the Raiders are one of the best in the state — they came within 1 1/2 points of a state title last year. He said Wednesday shows that Gila Ridge — which finished second at DII last year — is also elite.
“The whole Cibola team, I just have a ton of respect for those boys,” King said. “They wrestle hard, they put in a ton of time in the offseason, and they're on a tear right now. We're just the next tough team they got a hold of. It's all right. We'll see them two more times.”
The Raiders had won earlier in the day 61-6 against San Luis, while the Kings beat the Sidewinders 67-6.
Cibola's Zach Guerrero and Jones were the only players on any of the three teams to record two pins on the day. Jose Garcia got two of the three Sidewinder individual wins, one by pin.
“He's wrestling well,” San Luis coach Rob Jankowski said. “He got in a couple scrambles and wrestled right through it. He's looking good.”
At the end of a home meet last week in which his team went 1-1, Rob Jankowski said it’s hard for the Sidewinders to keep their numbers up after winter break. Wednesday was the last day of school for the Yuma high school district, with class letting out in the morning. His word proved prophetic, as San Luis went from three forfeits last week to six by their last match Wednesday.
“If I knew the answers, I could keep them around. I just don’t know,” the exasperated San Luis coach said. “I don’t understand, I don’t know. I told them come meet back at school at 1 o’clock, and this is who showed up, and this is who we took. It’s frustrating.”