Most Viewed Stories
Yuma High's Gomez a bright spot at City Championships
While Cibola and Kofa had plenty to celebrate Wednesday at the second annual Yuma City Championships, the other three teams had fewer bright spots.
San Luis, Kofa and Yuma High combined to produce one champion: the Criminals' James Gomez at 182 pounds. The Sidewinders had two wrestlers lose heartbreakers in their final matches that would have given them titles, and the Kings had team issues which resulted in just five wrestlers competing and a last-place finish.
The Raiders won their second straight title, while the Hawks were second. Yuma High was third for a second straight year and San Luis was fourth.
Gomez said given how down athletically Yuma High has been overall the past couple years, it felt good for him to win his second straight city title
“Yuma High isn't that much known for their sports and stuff, so it feels good to have some kind of something to tout for Yuma High,” said Gomez, who improved to 43-2 on the year.
Criminal coach Jeff Welsing said he was pleased with his team's performance, which comes on the heels of a seventh place finish at a 22-team tournament in Payson. He said the goal was to get the team in shape for sectionals and then state.
And while Welsing said Gomez's competition wasn't the toughest, Jose Morales got big test. The 220-pounder was fourth at Payson but third at this five-team meet, behind San Luis' Carlos Urquijo and champ Mike Castro from Gila Ridge. Welsing said it was a good warm-up for next week's sectional tournament.
“The 220 weight class here in town is pretty solid,” Welsing said. “The kid from San Luis is pretty solid, and Gila Ridge has a good kid at 220 as well.”
Urquijo put himself in position for the title, improving to 3-0 when he knocked off Cibola's Juan Padilla. He was losing 7-1 with 46 seconds left when he recorded a lightning-quick reversal and pin. But he followed that with a first-period pin at the hands of Castro.
“Yeah, he had a big match, probably a little emotional,” San Luis coach Rob Jankowski said. “He was down the whole match, came back at the guy and pinned the guy. You're losing, losing then all of a sudden win — that's a big range of emotions you go through. He's got to settle down, relax and get ready for the next match.”
San Luis heavyweight also could have secured a city championship with a win against Gila Ridge's Eddie Pena but gave up seven points in the second period of an 8-0 loss. Although he was disappointed with the way things turned out for both his big guys, he said he was confident it would serve as a learning experience heading into sectionals.
“I don't think they wrestled their best, that's for sure,” Jankoswki said. “They can definitely wrestle better. I'm hoping they learn from this now, move forward and get ready for sectionals. It's end of the season, do or die now, learn from these mistakes now so we don't make them in sectionals.”
And while they were getting a lesson on the mat, Kofa was getting one off of it. Coach Steve Kelly said the team is going through “growing pains” and having problems with players following various team rules. He said that by missing the city championships, his players will be refocused for the sectional tournament.
“To try to put it in perspective, we put a pretty good emphasis on the city meet, we want to make it a big deal, but in the grand scheme of things next week, and leading into the state tournament, how we define the season,” Kelly said. “That's the big picture and that's what we're shooting for. Hopefully we'll get some issues worked out before then.”