High School Wrestling Sectionals: Champ I-Ridge qualifies all 13 wrestlers for state

2012-02-05T00:00:00Z High School Wrestling Sectionals: Champ I-Ridge qualifies all 13 wrestlers for stateDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 05, 2012 12:00 am  • 

After Ironwood Ridge ran away with the Division II, Section II title, the Nighthawks are on track to defend their state wrestling crown.

Seven Nighthawks won section titles, and six more qualified for next week's state tournament as Ironwood Ridge scored a whopping 311.5 points to win Saturday at Flowing Wells High School.

"We came in the tournament knowing we were going to win sectionals, but also came in here wanting all 13 of our guys to get medals - and we did that," defending state champ Tate Sandifer said. "That was our goal, and our next goal is to win state."

Fellow defending state champ Connor Buette started Saturday for the Nighthawks with a 4-3 decision in the 120-pound sectional championship match.

Trevor Willson, a state champ two years ago for Ironwood Ridge, won the 126-pound title with a 13-2 major decision. Next came Sandifer, who beat Canyon del Oro's Jake Bishop with a 15-0 tech fall in the second period of the 132-pound championship.

"For me this tournament doesn't mean anything until I win that second state title," Buette said. "Our goal at state is to have 13 state champions."

Although Ironwood Ridge's win wasn't a surprise, Marana's second-place finish with 202.5 points was. The Tigers will have 10 boys travel to state.

"We haven't taken 10 wrestlers to state ever in school history," first-year Marana coach Bruce Hiley said.

Marana's Alex Steinbach and Scott Freibaum both won sectional titles Saturday, and three other Tigers were runners-up. Freibaum pinned Ironwood Ridge's Tristian Mordecai in 1:40 to win the 170-pound title.

"We're bringing 10 to state, and that is huge," Freibaum said. "Marana hasn't gotten second in the region in over 10 years."

Mountain View had three wrestlers finish first and took third place as a team with 172.5 points. The Mountain Lions qualified seven wrestlers for state. Bailey Janis (113), Richie Estrada (182) and Ricky Alvarez (195) each won sectional titles.

"This is what we train for," Estrada said, "to get to state and place at state and do good at tournaments like this one."

Pueblo's Alvaro Gallego remained unbeaten at 47-0 on the year after winning the 106-pound bracket with three straight pins.

"I think I should be seeded first, and I'm just going after that title," Gallego said.

Cienega's Cristian Sanchez, who also placed second at the state championship last season, was third in the 120-pound bracket Saturday. The Bobcats placed fifth and had six wrestlers qualify for the state tournament.

Division III, Section II

Amphitheater was the highest Southern Arizona finisher at the section meet at Sabino, taking second behind Gilbert Campo Verde.

The Panthers crowned three individual champions: Geovanni Payon-Diaz at 140 pounds, Floyd Jones at 220 and Austin Andrade at heavyweight.

Sahuarita, Sabino and Safford rounded out the top five respectively.

Rio Rico also had three champions: Eric Jeong (134), Marky Lopez (147) and Pablo Chavez (184).

Safford's Trey Andrews was named wrestler of the tournament and won at 122 pounds.

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