Kofa wrestlers grapple with home-mat advantage
Pick up your mat and walk - or at least wrestle on it.
That's what many high school wrestlers plan to do today at Kofa High, where the Kings will host the 5A Desert Valley wrestling tournament against region foes Phoenix-Brophy, Phoenix-North Canyon, Scottsdale-Desert Mountain, Scottsdale-Horizon, and Paradise Valley.
The opening matches begin at 10 a.m., with the finals and third-place matches tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. The top-three finishers in each weight class will qualify for the state meet Feb. 12-14, and those who win their class will also be considered for the top seeds at state.
Marty Dillon's Kofa squad will have a good chance to send several athletes to state. The Kings will be paced by brothers Eric and Blaine Blanton, Adrian Ramirez, Pete Figueroa, Adrian Felix, Jared Reeder and J.C. Pino. Eric Blanton, who was 30-8 this season in the 121-pound weight class, was 4-1 in region competition. Blaine Blanton (26-11, 127 pounds), and Figueroa (27-8, 132 pounds), went 5-0 in region, while Felix (29-9, 154 pounds) and Reeder (29-3, 173 pounds) went 4-1 in region. The 137-pound Pino, only 14-14 this season, also was 4-1 in region.
Desert Mountain and Horizon appear to be Kofa's top competition. Desert Mountain is led by brothers Nick Roehm (16-12, 4-1 in region, 103 pounds) and John Roehm (34-7, 4-1, 125 pounds); Steven Wenner (18-15, 5-0, 145 pounds), Dennis Voyoutsky (30-6, 4-0, 170 pounds), T. J. Petrone (19-6, 4-0, 189 pounds) and Mike Gelford (31-11, 4-1, 215 pounds). Horizon's best regionals bets are 140-pound Chris Lazarus (16-10, 4-1), Hayden Liljenquist (31-9, 5-0, 160 pounds) and David Bertrand (27-9, 4-0, 275 pounds).
North Canyon's top wrestlers are 135-pounder Daniel Cordova, 26-9, 5-0 in region including 2-0 in the 140-pound class; and Nathan Blount, 25-9 and 5-0 in region, including 2-0 in the 145-pound class.
Brophy's best include Grant Ryan (19-11, 4-0 in region, 103 pounds) and Robby Gruler (29-5, 4-0, 152 pounds); while Paradise Valley's has two strong entries in Daniel Stern (19-13, 4-1, 160 pounds) and Bryan Anderson (5-11, 3-2, 215 pounds).
T he scoring for the tournament is one point for a major decision, one and a half points for a technical major decision and two points for a pin. Wins are worth two points in the championship bracket and one point in the consolation bracket. Wrestlers who have a bye in the first round will earn two points for the bye only if they win their next match.
Nick Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-6520.