Cibola might have inside track to state title - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Cibola might have inside track to state title

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Jason P. Skoda is the sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Contact him at (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com

Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:26 am | Updated: 12:31 pm, Sun Jan 22, 2012.

I was surprised to hear that some of the wrestling sections changed this year because I thought it followed the two-year block the Arizona Interscholastic Association loves to abide by.

Apparently not.

Last year Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe were in Section I with programs like Cibola, Sandra Day O'Connor, Cesar Chavez, Mountain Ridge and Maryvale.

The two local schools are now in Section III with a much tougher lineup with Mesa Mountain View, Mesa, Red Mountain, Westwood, Horizon, Brophy and seven other mostly quality programs.

In other words it is going to be a much tougher road for Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista wrestlers to qualify for state, which is Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

According to the AIA's Dean Visser last year was a "pilot" year for individual sports and the sections were built in-house.

It allowed for some tweaking.

Beginning with this school year, the individual sports joined the team sports in the two-year block format and sections were built on the basis of a "geo-mapping" type of system.

It left Cibola, a year-in and year-out top eight program, with little resistance in the Section I tournament. The Raiders could qualify all 14 wrestlers to state and become an instant favorite based on sheer numbers.

Meanwhile Section II teams, which is led by Corona del Sol, Chandler, Basha, Tucson Sunnyside and Dobson, and Section III teams will struggle to get their best wrestlers through let alone second-tier competitors who would easily qualify in Division I.

Cibola probably has six definite placers with three possible champs in Rafael Jaimes (106), Andres Gandara (113) and Isaac Camarillo (126). Cibola wrestlers always have a toughness about them and they will buy into the team concept at state which might mean not getting pinned as much as winning a match late.

It could lead to a lethal combination for the rest of Division I.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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