This weekend five states held their state championships while many others hosted qualifiers for their state series. Plenty of storylines emerged as upsets and key battles took place on the state and national level. Here are some of the notable occurrences from around the country in TOM’s High School wrestling wrap-up.
Arizona State Championships
Sunnyside (DI), Queen Creek (DII), Yuma (DIII) and St. Johns (DIV) were each state champions in their respective divisions. Four Sunnyside wrestlers helped catapult the Blue Devils to their 31st team championships. One of those wrestlers, Roman Bravo-Young TOM’s Adidas HS Wrestler of the Week, capped off his career with his fourth state title and a perfect 182-0 record. The DIII team race could not have been any closer or dramatic as 285 lber Oscar Vega found his Yuma team down by five and a half points heading into his championship bout, the last match of the tournament. Vega’s pin not only gave him a state title, but it also propelled his team ahead of Walden Grove by a half point. The team championship for Yuma was the first in school history.
Bravo-Young was not the only wrestler to win his fourth Arizona state championship this weekend, Chandler’s Gator Groves did so as well. He garnered his final crown with a 6-5 decision over Boulder Creek’s Sheldon Cole.
Georgia State Championships
From a team standpoint Commerce (1A), Social Circle (2A), Sonoraville (3A), Jefferson (4A), Buford (5A), Richmond Hill (6A), and Camden (7A) all won championships. Sonoraville and Richmond Hill’s titles were the first in school history.
Statesboro’s Kasey Baynon became the first female wrestler to place at the Georgia state tournament when she finished in fifth place at 106 lbs in the 5A classification.
Montana State Championships
As mentioned in TOM’s five unranked wrestlers to watch at state tournaments, 132 lber Charlie Klepps of Billings Senior was able to get onto the top step of the podium for the fourth time. He is now the 32nd four-time state champion in Montana history. Team champions were Flathead (AA), Sidney (A), and Colstrip (B/C).
Campbell signee Caleb Birdwell of Lewisville broke through and won his first state title at 126 lbs in the A division, after finishing second in each of his previous three seasons. Two matches prior, at 113 lbs, Birdwell’s younger brother Cooper put the finishing touches an undefeated freshman season with a 7-3 win.
Nevada State Championships
The Nevada team champions were Battle Mountain (2A), Spring Creek (3A) and Spanish Springs (4A). Battle Mountain and Spring Creek both won their titles by sizeable margins, while Spanish Springs edged Green Valley for the title by six points.
Las Vegas senior Antonio Saldate got some measure of revenge from last year’s tournament. Saldate came into the 2017 Nevada state championships as a two-time state champion, then was upset by Jacob Ruiz of Spanish Springs. Both were in the same bracket this season and met in the state finals. This time around Saldate was able to win his third championship on the strength of a 10-2 major decision.
Cameron Thompson of Battle Mountain and Ty Smith of Virgin Valley became the 12th and 13th four-time state champions in Nevada state history. Thompson did so at 113 lbs in the 2A division and was quickly matched by Smith who won his title at 120 lbs in 3A.
Utah State Championships
Team state champions were Pleasant Grove (6A), Viewmont (5A), Mountain Crest (4A), Juab (3A), Altamont (2A), Monticello (1A).
In the 3A tournament, American Leadership Academy’s Sage Mortimer became the first female in the past 10 years to place at the Utah state tournament when she was fourth at 106 lbs. Her brother Quenton won a championship at 126.
Nebraska recruit Brock Hardy of Box Elder clinched his fourth Utah state championship with a pin in the finals 5A 145 lb final. He is the 20th wrestler to win four titles in Utah.
Indiana Evansville Semi-State
At the Evansville semi-state tournament, we thought it could be part four of the season-long rivalry between Brownsburg’s Ty Mills and Avon’s Asa Garcia at 126 lbs. Garcia won the first meeting at the Hoosier Crossroads Conference; however, Mills had beaten Garcia in each of the past two weeks. Their potential matchup was spoiled by Columbus East’s 2017 state champion Cayden Rooks. Cayden snuck by Mills 1-0 in the semi’s and upended Garcia 3-1 to take the semi-state championship. Expect these three to mix it up again next week at the state championships.
Indiana New Castle Semi-State
Also staying with Indiana 126 lb related news, Alec Viduya, a state champion in 2017 at 113 lbs, was knocked off in the semifinals by South Dearborn freshman Bryer Hall, 11-5. Hall then fell to Beech Grove’s Ethan Smiley by major decision in the final. Viduya rebounded from his loss to finish in third place.
Illinois Sectionals (Hinsdale 3A)
Mt. Carmel’s Colton Drousias came out on top of a brutal 106 lb weight class. Drousias led a foursome that included impressive freshman Nain Vasquez of Montini Catholic and Diego Sotelo of Marmion Academy, as well as Marist’s Michael Leveille. Colton shut out Leveille 7-0 before taking a 3-1 sudden victory decision from Sotelo in the sectional final. Each of these competitors could find themselves on the podium at the state tournament less than a week from now.
Fourth-ranked 120 lber Joey Melendez of Montini Catholic faced a stiff challenge in the finals from a familiar face, Stagg’s Domenic Zaccone. Melendez and Zaccone met in the state finals last season while competing at 113 lbs. Like 2017, Melendez was victorious, this time by a 4-3 margin, which handed Zaccone his only loss of the season.
The semifinals at 145 lbs saw 13th ranked Kendall Coleman of Mt. Carmel met Montini Catholic’s 19th ranked Jake Stiles for a third time already this season. Stiles was victorious in the finals of the Cheesehead, while Coleman took a 4-3 decision in tiebreakers at the Chicago Catholic League championships. This third bout went Coleman’s way, as well, 3-2 in the sectional semis.
Illinois Sectionals (Alton 3A)
Like the Hinsdale sectional, the 120 lb bracket came down to a meeting of elite national level competitors. In this final, though, it was one-sided. Marian’s Travis Ford-Melton, currently fifth in the nation, majored Lockport’s Anthony Molton, an Ironman, and Cheesehead place winner.
Illinois Sectionals (Sycamore 2A)
A pair of future collegiate teammates met for the second time in two weeks at 132 lbs. Both Washington’s Tyler Delaware and Bloomington’s Savion Haywood have signed to wrestle at Old Dominion. For now, though, the pair will be focused on defeating each other for a state championship. Last week at regionals, Delaware took the first bout. Haywood exacted a bit of revenge this time around, winning 9-4. Perhaps the rubber match will occur this week in Champaign?
Pennsylvania Team Championships
A pair of Pennsylvania powerhouses, Bethlehem Catholic and Reynolds, added to their rich histories winning team titles in Hershey. Bethlehem Catholic used a 38-22 win over Kiski Area to bring home their sixth title in eight years, in the AAA competition. In the AA tournament Reynolds defeated Southern Columbia 30-25 to win back-to-back AA titles, and their fifth overall.
Iowa District 3A District 6
17th ranked Fort Dodge ran away with the District 6 title by a margin of 122 team points. They have qualified wrestlers for the individual state tournament in 13 of the 14 weight classes. No other Iowa school, amongst all three divisions, will send more than 10 wrestlers to states. The Dodgers also had 10 wrestlers who won their respective weight class.
Missouri Class 4 District 4
At 195 lbs, sixth-ranked Ashton Sharp of Park Hill was upset by Blue Springs senior Zach Hazen in the final, 5-4. These same two wrestlers met last year in the semifinals of the district tournament in a bout won by Sharp, 3-0.
Missouri Class 4 District 1
The 18th ranked 120 lber in the nation Kai Orine of Seckman was pushed by Christian Brothers College freshman Vince Zerban but managed to escape with a 1-0 decision.
A pair of nationally ranked wrestlers butted heads at 126 lbs when third ranked Malik Johnson of Christian Brothers College controlled Seckman’s 17th ranked Cameron Fusco 9-4.
Joshua Saunders, the seventh-ranked 138 lber in the country, appeared at 132 lbs for the first time this year. Saunders took the championship with two falls and a 5-1 decision over Parkway South’s Garret Kloeppel in the finals.
In other weight changing news for Christian Brothers College, 12th ranked 170 lber DJ Shannon wrestled at 182 lbs at this event. He claimed a title with a 7-5 decision over Eureka’s Kyle Dickhaus.