Prep boys wrestling previews
Gila Ridge Hawks
Top returners: Nathan Mendivil, jr., 106 (third at Division II state tournament); Austin Gerber, sr., 120 (third); Kyle Ford, soph., 138 (third); Isaac Saenz, sr., 152 (third); Kainoa Renaud, jr., 220 (qualified, did not place at 195); Liam Beaumont, jr., 182 (qualified, did not place)
Key newcomers: Curtis Cox, jr., 126; Levi Riley, jr., 145
Coach David King's comments: “Last year we kind of got to use those horses we'd been developing the last four years, and with that progress and that huge finish we're ready to hit it with all wheels spinning now. A tradition has been established.”
The lowdown: The Hawks were second at the AIA Division II State Tournament last year, despite not having an individual state champion. They lost to Ironwood Ridge 204.5-150 and held off Marcos de Niza by 11.5. The teams two highest finishers — Kevin Jumbeck and Darryl Lane — graduated, but there are still plenty of the nine state placers back this year. King said the Hawks will have a tougher schedule this year, including a duals tournament at Ironwood Ridge, where they'll have a shot at the defending champs. They'll also head to Peoria, which King said he had heard other coaches mention as featuring tougher competition than Flowing Wells, usually considered the top in-season prep tournament in Arizona.
Yuma Catholic Shamrocks
Top returners: Alex Varela, sr., 220/HWT (second at Division IV state at 220); Ernesto Sandigo, jr., 138 (sixth at 120); Clay Sierra, jr., 145 (qualified, did not place); Brandon Moreno, sr., 152 (qualified, did not place at 138); Grady Eldridge, sr., 170 (qualified at 152); Ellic Roy, sr., 126; Andy Determan, sr., 145/152; Moises Barcenas, soph., 138/145
Key newcomers: Jesus Quiroz, fresh., 138/145; Brandon Moreno, fresh., 132
Coach Derek Beck's comments: “We're a really young team right now. Obviously football has an impact on that — I expect 14 wrestlers to come on board after football season. So it's hard to tell right now.”
The lowdown: The Shamrocks' run into the state football tournament semifinals kept Beck's numbers low during the preseason. Varela was one of those players, and Beck said he wasn't sure wether the senior will compete at 220 or heavyweight. Beck said he'd prefer to see him at the lower class, but expects him to be one of the best in the state at either. Varela is the top individual finisher back from last year's team that took sixth at state. This year's club has two wrestlers named Brandon Moreno — though the older Moreno's real first name is Michael, he goes exclusively by Brandon. Beck said he has 35 wrestlers on the roster, which will allow the Shamrocks to field a complete junior varsity team as well. Among the football players are linebackers Determan and Barcenas — Beck said Barcenas had an impact as a freshman, and Determan should have a positive effect on the team as well after missing his junior season with an injury.
Top returners: Vincent Nunez, jr., 113; Mateo Losales, jr., 120; Aaron Camarillo, jr., 145; Adam Cano, sr., 220
Key newcomers: Kelly said it was too early to tell.
Coach Steve Kelly's comments: “We're a little bit tougher, a little bit deeper than last year. I feel like there are more guys with experience in the varsity lineup. It's basically been the same core group in there since they were freshman.”
The lowdown: The Kings had just one qualifier at Division I from a year ago, Brian Landeros at 160, and he has graduated. But Kelly, heading into his third year trying to rebuild the Kofa program, is excited about the season. He said that not only are the team's numbers up, but practice in the wrestling room have a lot of intensity. He said he feels that Nunez, Losales and Cano all have chances of medaling for the Kings this year.
Top returners: Kodi Doerr, jr., 106 (qualified at Division II, did not place); Leo Salcedo, sr., 113 (qualified, did not place), Kade Kottenbrook, jr., 138 (qualified, did not place at 132)
Key newcomers: Carlos Vargas, sr., 145; Jorge Arce, jr., 152; Andreus Gomez, sr., 220
Coach Jeff Welsing's comments: “Overall we're stronger at the lower weights. At the higher weights, we don't have a lot of experience up there, but we're all right at the lower weights.”
The lowdown: Welsing said he was particularly glad Doerr and Salcedo will be back at the same weights as they were a year ago, bringing experience into a class that usually lacks it. He thinks the two of them, as well as Kottenbrook, can finish the season on the podium.
San Luis Sidewinders
Top returners: Carlos Urquijo, sr., 220 (qualified at Division I, did not place); Jose Garcia, sr., 138
Key newcomers: Johnny Colidion, sr., 126; Nicola Egas, jr., 132
Coach Rob Jankoswki's comments: “We've got a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the room, which is good for building. The older guys set the tone, and hopefully the new kids feed off them and it develops into a hardworking atmosphere.
The lowdown: Jankowski said he expects Urquijo to finish top five at state this year, and he expects Garcia to at least qualify for the season finale. He said Garcia has emerged as leader of the young squad.
Top returners: Fred Pearson, sr., 160 (sixth at Division IV state tournament); Jason St. Clair, sr., 132/138 (qualified, did not place at 132); Chad Cullison, sr., 120 (qualified, did not place); Luis Saboria, jr., 171 (sixth)
Key newcomers: St. Clair said there weren't any.
Coach Rick St. Clair's comments: “Team-wise it's going to be rough because we don't fill all the weights. But if we can get those seniors to place at state that would be a neat way to go out.
The lowdown: St. Clair said he had two promising newcomers at the start of practice, but for various reasons they will not be able to compete. St. Clair said he could not say what those reasons were.
San Pasqual Warriors
Top returners: Max Maldanado, jr., 145/152; Julio Renteria, jr., 145/140
Key newcomers: Andre Luna, soph., 160
Coach Angelo Derma's comments: “This is a building year. I expect to start an offseason program to build for next year. This is going to be a learning experience with all our first year wrestlers. Next year is going to be real good. This year, we'll see what happens. The are hard workers and I really like that.”
The lowdown: Derma's facing no state qualifiers back on his roster, and an overall lack of seniors. And while that has him optimistic for next year, he's less so about this year. He said he does expect Maldanado and Renteria to not only qualify for state, but place as well.