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Cibola 145-pounder wins state title, but Raiders fall one win shy of team title
Pierre Gaud did his part, claiming an individual Division I state championship.
But the Cibola wrestling team finished one win shy of its seasonlong goal — a team state championship.
The Raiders finished with 120.5 points in second, barely behind Chandler's 122 Saturday at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
“It leaves a sour taste in your mouth, it always does,” Cibola coach Mike Jankowski said. “Any time you're right there and you don't get it, you've got one of two ways to go. You're either going to make a lot of excuses or suck it up and work harder.”
The Raiders had two wrestlers in a championship match, but only Gaud at 145 came out on top, winning 10-2 against Mesa Mountain View's Seth Monty. At 160, Adam Razo lost 11-1 to Mesa's Diorian Coleman, who finished the year 53-1.
In all, seven Raiders earned medals — Rafael Jaimes (fourth at 106), Andres Gandara (sixth at 113), Mark Cruz (sixth at 120), Isaac Camarillo (third at 126) and Ricardo Morales (fifth at 170) were the others. The only other Division I school with a medalist was San Luis, whose heavyweight, Gustavo Vargas, took sixth.
But the spotlight was on Gaud, the only Yuma County wrestler to win gold in any division this year.
“It feels great,” a sobbing Gaud said. “The reason I'm so excited right now is I didn't think I was going to do it. I didn't even expect to get the finals. I don't have a lot of confidence, but my coaches and teammates, the team confidence gives me confidence.”
While Gaud was surprised by the result, Jankowski said he wasn't.
“We were expecting that out of him,” Jankowski said. “We knew what his talent is. Everyone in the room knows what his talent is. He came out here and showed it today.”
All year, Jankowski said the Raiders had one goal — to win state. But he said the team will learn from its trip to Prescott Valley.
“One match, any match, at any weight we would have won,” Jankowski said. “It gives our kids a good feeling. They know what they have to do for this coming offseason. Being a point and a half away is literally one match. I think my guys are going to come out next year and be ready.”
Camarillo, a junior who was the No. 1 seed in his weight class, said he's focused next year on not one but two state championships — and individual and a team title.
“It kills us but it just gives us a lot of motivation for next year,” Camarillo said. “We have to prepare and work hard.”
Jaimes entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, but was the defending state champ. He lost 6-1 in his third place match after losing his opener Friday to knock him onto the consolation bracket.
“He battled through a lot of things this year,” Jankowski said. “He's one of the toughest kids in the room. As a returning state champ you expect big things out of him. But he battles every single time he steps out on the mat. You can't ask for anything more.”
Vargas was the lone placer in Division I not from Cibola. He lost on a late pin in his medal match against Desert Ridge's RayShawn Bogan. He had already fought two double overtime matches.
“He battled yesterday, today,” San Luis coach Rob Jankowski said. “He won in double overtime yesterday. He could have given up, he could have lost that match. He beat our sectional champ. He had to win one more match to get a place, and he went to double overtime again. ... If I had a team full of guys with his effort, I'd be better than Cibola.”
And while his brother aims to take his program to that heights, Mike Jankowski said his team has one more hurdle to get over.
“Next year, all we have to say is 1.5 points,” Jankowski said. “One more win and that's it. We're there. It should get these guys motivated to work in the offseason and be ready for next year.”