PRESCOTT VALLEY - After failing to qualify for the state tournament last year, Sunnyside's Gabe Gonzales promised he'd never lose another match.
He never looked back.
Gonzales was one of three individual winners for the Blue Devils at the Division I state meet Friday night at Tim's Toyota Center, but it was his 7-5 victory in the 195-pound championship that locked up the team title, putting Sunnyside back on top.
"Before the match I was kind of nervous, but then I realized I was not going to lose ever again," said Gonzales, who finished his season 37-0 aside from a disqualification.
"I work too hard, I know too much, I study too much film. Nobody outworks me, nobody outworks my teammates. I knew it."
The Blue Devils finished the year undefeated in tournaments and won their 15th state title in the last 16 years, scoring 151.5 points. Chandler, the defending team champion, was second with 132.
"I'm super pumped, but I'm just really proud of the team I've got," second-year coach Anthony Leon said. "The guys did a really good job, and I don't even know what to say."
Sophomore Juaquin Olivas, who finished second at state last year, set the tone for Sunnyside when he won the 113-pound championship with a 15-6 major decision over Chandler Basha's Kamden Krum.
As the final buzzer sounded, Olivas jumped up and ran over to Leon for a celebratory bear hug.
"It feels really great; it's unbelievable," he said. "But it's not the only thing I'm working for. I need to go for that extra level, that national title."
Two rounds later, Juaquin's older brother, William, won the 126-pound championship against Chandler's Tristan Moran.
Olivas broke a scoreless tie with an escape early in the third period, and then went up 2-0 after Moran, a defending state champ, was called for stalling.
"Seeing him win got me really hyped," William Olivas said about his brother. "Both of us taking it is like the greatest thing ever."
Even though the Olivas brothers were celebrating their wins early in the night, they had to wait a couple of hours to see where the Blue Devils would end up in the rankings.
"That was my goal, getting this team this title," William Olivas said. "It wasn't about me, it was about the team, but I'm glad I got my individual title."
Sunnyside trailed Chandler after the first day and had only three wrestlers stay alive in the championship bracket. Leon was pleased with the way they rebounded.
"Everything that could go wrong, went wrong in the first day," Leon said. "We're just lucky enough that today our guys strapped their heads on straight and went out and did it. They wanted to win."