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Three Shamrocks medal as YC wraps up tourney
PRESCOTT VALLEY — Three medalists, a finish out of the top 10 and no state champions was a far cry from what Derek Beck and the Yuma Catholic wrestling team expected.
And even though disappointed was a word Beck used a couple times to describe his team's results at state, proud was one he used even more.
“I don't think we got exactly what we wanted, but I'm still proud of the kids,” Beck said. “A couple of them stepped up, we got a couple medals. The tournament didn't go as planned. I thought we worked hard for this tournament and didn't get quite the results we wanted. But I'm proud of them and we're ready for next year.”
Clay Sierra, Grady Eldridge and Alex Varela won medals for the Shamrocks Saturday at the AIA Division IV State Wrestling Championships at Tim's Toyota Center. Beck said he was hoping for a top five finish entering the tournament, but the Shamrocks finished in a tie for 13th. Camp Verde finished comfortably ahead of St. Johns for the team title.
“It is what it is. Things go the way they go and out can't control it,” Beck said. “I just take most of the blame. The coaching staff should have had a better week in practice. You have to look at yourself and not the team. You have to be proud of them. They stepped up when they needed to.”
Alex Varela entered the day with title hopes at heavyweight, but instead went 0-2, including being pinned in 13 seconds by Bisbee's Austin Suarez in the third-place match, settling for fourth.
“I don't know what happened with that match,” Beck said. “It comes back to where he wants to wrestle. When you're in a class that's 285, some of those kids are going to be 285.”
Clay Sierra also took fourth at 145, losing 4-1 to San Manuel's Colten Smith. The match was 2-1 after one, and it stayed that way until Smith got an early reversal in the third. Eldridge almost got those two points back on a reversal in the last 30 seconds, but couldn't finish his move.
“His legs were strong in there,” Sierra said. “I tried to throw a reversal in there, but I got caught in it like everything I tried to do.”
Beck said he was happy in the improvement in Sierra, who qualified for the first time last year but did not place.
“I think Clay stepped it up and wrestled really well, Beck said. “He's starting to feel a lot better in the match, scramble a lot better. He wrestled really good, and he just didn't have enough. The kids was just better than him is what I think.”
Eldridge lost his sixth place match to Jeremy McEachern of Camp Verde by a second-period pin. The match had been tied at two after one, and Eldridge elected to start the second in the down position. He was pinned 27 seconds later.
Beck said Eldridge has been dealing with a shoulder injury since the city championships.
“Just for him to finish with a medal, I'm proud of him for doing that,” Beck said. “He could have bailed at anytime and he didn't. I'm not saying that's why we won or lost the matches, but he was definitely struggling, and that shows a lot of character.”
The three medalists brought Yuma County's medal haul to 15 for the three-day tournament. Twelve Division I and II wrestlers earned top-six finishes on Friday.
Sierra said he was happy with his fourth place finish. And while he said he too thought the team would do better, he said it could have been worse.
“We brought 11 and only six were in the second day,” Sierra said. “Overall we did good. We didn't get 30th. We got (13th). So it's not too bad.”