In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams. Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. Later this month, Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.
Sunnyside High School wrestling
Name any sports team dynasty. Any sport. Any level. Anywhere.
Whatever the team is, chances are pretty good it can't beat the record of success Sunnyside High School's wrestling program has established over the past 30-plus years.
The Blue Devils have won 14 straight state titles, have been either first or second in the state for the past 33 years, and have a state record 29 titles. They have also lost dual meets only nine times since 1969.
So when Kory DeBerry, the son of Sunnyside coach Bobby DeBerry, experienced an emotional career finale last February, of course it had nothing to do with losing. Kory knows only winning: he finished his senior season at 38-0 and went out as only the 25th wrestler in Arizona history to have won four individual titles.
He was sad because it was the end of his magical ride at Sunnyside.
"It was tough emotionally," Bobby DeBerry told the Star after the match. "The win, and his last match with me as his coach. … He told me he didn't want it to be over."
You strive to win, and you usually do. That's the standard at Sunnyside, which has produced 121 individual state titlists.
Even over three coaches - Don Klostreich (who won eight titles in the 1980s), Richard Sanchez (five from 1990 to 1994) and DeBerry (15 titles and counting) - things haven't changed.
It's part of the culture.
"It's perseverance," DeBerry told El Independiente in 2010. "We're in a community where, at times, things can be very difficult. Some of the kids come from families where every day can be a struggle.
"But the kids are able to take the tough way that they have to live on a day-to-day basis and transfer it into a positive and use that to motivate themselves to do well."
By the numbers
Sunnyside's current streak of dual-meet victories, believed to be a national record.