Over the last six years, the Olivas brothers have a lot of good memories wrestling together.
One of the best came exactly 378 days ago in Prescott Valley.
Both Juaquin and Williams Olivas won individual titles at the Division I state meet at Tim’s Toyota Center and helped the Sunnyside wrestling team capture the team championship by nearly 20 points.
“I just had chills all over my body,” said Juaquin Olivas, a 120-pound junior. “It was a really good feeling, very unexplainable.”
Later that night, as the celebration was starting to wind down, snow began to fall, which only kept the party going.
“Our whole team came out and had a snowball fight,” said William Olivas, an undefeated 126-pound senior. “It was just the greatest time; it was the best.”
Although snow is highly unlikely this year, the brothers are trying to make sure everything about this weekend is just about the same.
Both Juaquin and William will try to repeat as champs — as will 195-pound senior Gabe Gonzales — as the Blue Devils will go for their 16th title in the last 17 years at the Division I state meet that begins today.
No matter the outcome, there will be some sadness. Saturday afternoon’s final round in Prescott Valley will mark the last time the Olivas brothers can call each other high school teammates.
“My brother is always the one I look to, to compete against,” William Olivas said. “If he’s doing sprints and he’s trying to beat me, I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going to miss that.”
Third-year coach Anthony Leon called the Olivas brothers a “coach’s dream” and said he’s sad this will be the final weekend he has them together. However, he is looking forward to seeing William compete collegiately. Arizona State and Grand Canyon University have both shown interest.
“One of them is a little more creative and a little more technical on the mat and the other is just a brawler for lack of a better word,” Leon said. “They’re different but they’re both very special.”
Juaquin and William first became wrestling teammates at Sierra Middle School six years ago. In addition to wrestling for the Blue Devils, the two have traveled around the country with Leon for national meets over the last three years.
Younger brother Juaquin hasn’t ruled out the possibility of reuniting with his brother in college and becoming his teammate once again. Even though they won’t be wearing the same colors after this weekend, Juaquin said they’ll continue to play a strong role in each other’s lives.
“The best way I can describe them is Will is driving the car and Juaquin is over there tugging the wheel the other way,” Leon said. “They’re fighting against each other but it’s to make each other better and they’ve done that.”
Bobcats star Johnson receives offer from UA
Cienega junior Terrence Johnson received an offer from Arizona last week. It’s likely be the first of several football offers.
The 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound athlete averaged 7.1 tackles a game and intercepted a pass as a corner and accounted for nearly 400 yards of offense.
Johnson is also a Division I prospect for basketball and leads the Bobcats with 14.7 points a game. Cienega is the No. 4 seed in the Division II state tournament and will host a game Saturday night.
Empire’s Smith tabbed
Empire senior Kelsey Smith, the Star’s softball player of the year last spring, was named to the MaxPreps Preseason All-American team as a utility player this week. As a junior, she racked up 75 RBIs and hit 15 home runs while going 11-3 in the circle with 89 strikeouts in 56º innings to help the Ravens reach the Division III state semifinals.
Pusch Ridge grad earns
Division II Northwest Nazarene senior right-hander Aaron Vaughn struck out 10 batters in a complete-game win last Friday and was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Vaughn, who graduated from Pusch Ridge Christian, gave up just two earned runs and six hits in the seven-inning win.