Most Viewed Stories
Varela guaranteed a medal for Shamrocks
On a day where his Shamrocks teammates had few wins and even a disqualification, all Alex Varela did was win.
Varela was the only Yuma Catholic, San Pasqual and Antelope wrestler to go a perfect 2-0 in the early rounds of the Division IV state tournament at Tim's Toyota Center Friday, guaranteeing a medal for the senior heavyweight. Only three rounds — two in the championship bracket, one in the consolation bracket — were wrestled.
For Antelope, only Jason St. Clair remains in the tournament, winning his first match by forfeit and dropping his quarterfinal.
Varela didn't just win — he dominated the competition, recording two first-period pins.
“I'm good with my hands, so I just make my moves,” Varela said. “They're just there. When I see an opportunity, I take it.”
The semifinals start this morning, followed by the consolation brackets. The medal rounds are this evening.
And Varela said he wants to be on top of the platform when it's all over — and coach Derek Beck said that can happen.
“I think he's wrestling hard and has a lot of heart,” Beck said. “He doesn't like to lose. I expect a state championship out of him tomorrow, and he does out of himself, too.”
The rest of the day wasn't so great for the Shamrocks. Only four of their 11 wrestlers won their first match, and only Varela made it into the semifinals.
Ernesto Sandigo, who Beck was expecting to medal at 138, was tossed out of his first-round match for biting his opponent. Beck said it wasn't intentional.
“He got cross-faced on the mouth, and I mean,” Beck said, taking a long pause. “Yeah, there were bite marks. I don't think it was 100 percent Sandigo's fault. At the end of the match, with what the refs saw, I guess it was a good call. ...
“I don't think it was intentional. I've wrestled a long time, and if you cross-face on the mouth, you are going to get teeth marks whether the kid bites you or not. But that's the way it goes. You can't argue with the refs.”
Sandigo was trailing 8-4 in the second at the time of the ejection.
Andy Determan (152), Clay Sierra (145) and Grady Eldridge (160) won in the first round and are still alive in the consolation bracket. Tommy Hernandez (106) was the only Shamrock who lost his first match but won his second, although that was by forfeit.
“I'd say today was pretty disappointing,” Beck said. “Matches didn't go the way we wanted them to. Some guys needed to step up and didn't. It should have gone better. Hopefully it gets better from here.”
Still, Varela said it's to be expected.
“We are all a bunch of football players trying to be wrestlers here,” Varela said, adding that he considered himself a football player. “Of course we're going to have some bumps along the road. But we're learning stuff. A lot of people have improved over the years, and a lot of people brought it to state.”