Wrestling state tournaments: Rio Rico, Safford win three titles each; Amphi reaches team goal

2011-02-13T00:00:00Z 2011-02-13T00:11:26Z Wrestling state tournaments: Rio Rico, Safford win three titles each; Amphi reaches team goalDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 13, 2011 12:00 am  • 

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Safford and Rio Rico combined to win six individual state titles Saturday, but neither left Tim's Toyota Center with the Division III team title.

Instead, Phoenix Thunderbird won it with 158 1/2 points while Cottonwood Mingus (157 1/2) was a close runner-up. Together, they won four individual titles.

Rio Rico was the top finisher from Southern Arizona in third place with 127. Even sweeter for coach Brad Beach, his son, Dakota, won the individual title in the 130-pound weight bracket.

Don't expect to find either of them anytime soon, though.

"I'm on cloud nine right now," Brad Beach said about the team's best finish since 2005. "It's going to take me about a month to come down."

Dakota Beach won his first individual title. The senior had never wrestled in the final round.

"I was a little nervous, but I still went out there with the same game plan to go hard," Dakota said.

There was no evidence of anxiety as he dominated Mingus' Hank Goettl for a 9-0 victory.

"It was a dominating performance and great win," Brad Beach said. "It was the best battle of the night and a great way to finish his career."

Dakota was the first of three winners for the Hawks.

Sophomore Mark Lopez beat Safford's Ricardo Sierra in the 135 finals, and senior Felipe Mabante edged Tyler Lowi of Phoenix Thunderbird 5-4 for the 171 title.

Safford also had three individual winners, but the Bulldogs snapped a streak of six state titles and finished in fourth place with 103 points.

Junior Trey Andrews (112) won his third straight title for Safford. Next season, he could become the first four-time state champion in school history.

Safford senior Greg Ornelas (119) finished his season a perfect 38-0 and won his second straight title, while fellow senior and cousin Sage Ornelas (125) won his third consecutive title.

Safford coach Herman Andrews, Trey's father, is ready to start a new streak next season.

"Next year when we come back, we'll come back ready to win," the coach said. "We're losing some great kids but we're going to be gaining some great ones as well."

Amphitheater coach Sam Portillo said the goal from the start of the state tournament was to finish in the top five as a team, and that's what the Panthers did.

The Panthers totaled 78 1/2 points to finish fifth. They had five wrestlers place in the top five individually. Floyd Jones beat Rio Rico's Pablo Chavez 14-4 to earn third place in the 189 bracket.

Empire finished in the top 10 for the second year in a row but couldn't take home any individual championships. Senior Robert Nelson fell 3-2 in the heavyweight championship bout.

State championship results / C10

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