State Wrestling: Divisions III and IV: Rio Rico takes 2nd with 3 individual wins

2013-02-10T00:00:00Z State Wrestling: Divisions III and IV: Rio Rico takes 2nd with 3 individual winsDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 10, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Rio Rico senior Marky Lopez flashed back over his entire career before the championship round of the Division III state tournament Saturday evening.

"I saw it from when I was 6 years old going on up thorough middle school to high school," Lopez said. "It just all went in chronological order like a timeline, and it hit me so hard.

"Tears were coming down," he added. "This was the end of something I tried to make so perfect."

A perfect ending it was.

Lopez cruised to his third straight state title with a 10-0 win in the 145-pound final at Tim's Toyota Center. He was one of three Hawks to win an individual title as Rio Rico had its best team finish since 2002, placing second.

"I'm never going to forget this one," Lopez said about his match. "It was a real dominating performance and a good way to end my wrestling career."

The other two winners for the Hawks were seniors Eric Jeong and Patrick Penniston. It was the second time in three years Rio Rico had a trio of state champions.

"For them to go out on top like that makes me feel great," coach Brad Beach said.

Jeong came back to edge Amphitheater's Geo Payan 3-2 in the 138-pound final and, later in the night, Penniston topped Salpointe Catholic's William McKay 14-4 in the 220-pound championship.

"Those other guys getting it made me want it that much more to help out the team as much as I could," Penniston said. "I just went for it, and things fell into place."

Amphi junior Jesus Barrera gave the Panthers an individual champion for the second straight year. He never trailed on his way to a 10-6 win over Cottonwood Mingus' Hank Goettl in the 152-pound championship.

"It feels amazing, the best feeling in the world," Barrera said. "Sometimes it's unexplainable. I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it. I have great coaches and great people around me."

Sahuarita senior Jorge Robles came out on top in the 182-pound final giving the Mustangs their first state champion since 2007 and bringing some positivity to a team that has recently been dealing with turmoil off the mat.

"I wanted to prove that we weren't like they say we were and that we still have some good left," Robles said.

In Division IV action, Benson's Ross Ens rallied from a one-point deficit with a takedown in the final eight seconds to win the 120-pound final 5-4.

Ens said his late score was a result of a situational move he practices every day.

"I finally did it, I'm at the top of the world it feels like," Ens said. "My dad tells me it's life or death when you get out there on the mat, and I felt like I lived."

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