Arch Ratliff knows in the big picture the win doesn’t matter all that much if he isn’t able to do it again next week.
But on Saturday it was enough to bring a big old smile to the Perry 120-pound senior as he earned a Division I, Section III title by beating Sunnyside’s Sergio Miranda 7-6.
“I knew he was undefeated and a state champion,” he said of the scouting report. “That was enough motivation, but I have to think of it as any other match because unless I do it again next week (at state) it doesn’t mean much.”
Ratliff trailed early, but then was able to win a scramble late that lead to a four-point move and a 7-6 win over Miranda.
The win was one of the better contested finals in one of the state’s most difficult state-qualifying tournaments.
To get an idea of how top heavy the tournament was with six high-caliber programs in the 12-team field here are the numbers.
Of the 56 available qualifying spots, Sunnyside (11), Chandler (9), Corona del Sol (10), Basha (6), Perry (6) and Desert Vista (6) took up 86 percent (48) of the spots on the podium.
“When you have the powerhouses that were here that’s going to happen,” Thunder coach David Gonzalez said. “You have to get through this and regroup for next week.”
Sunnyside coach Anthony Leon said regardless of how many qualify for state they still need to perform next week.
“I think the AIA is doing the wrong thing and I am sure every coach in here thinks the same thing,” he said. “You still have to go out Thursday and Friday and perform. That’s what we plan on doing.”
It led to some very good finals matches as Chandler’s Dalton Brady continued his quest toward a fourth state title with a 7-4 win over Raul Moraga, Chandler’s Dalton Moran bested Corona’s Colton Winstead 7-5 and of course the Ratliff upset.
Locally, Desert Vista had a lone champion in senior Alex Bambic (182) as he looked to be in typical postseason form with a pin in 2:51 against Chandler’s Joe Miranda to set himself up to tie the school record of three state titles next week.
Desert Vista had 10 wrestlers in the consolation semifinals with five of those wrestlers earning a place in the 16-man state bracket.
State-placer Brian Mitchell (113), senior Cooper Gardner (138), sophomore Jeremiah Imonode (170), junior Tristan Ezell (195) and heavyweight Adam Ortega (HVY) were able to scale the consolation brackets.
Mitchell and Ortega finished third, while Gardner was fourth. Ezell and Imonode forfeited in the finals to finish fourth.
Mountain Pointe was able to get two to state as Cody Rojas (120) qualified for the fourth time after defaulting to fourth due to illness.
The other Pride qualifier was senior Patrick Murphy, who finished fourth at 160.
“It’s amazing,” Murphy said about being a state qualifier. “It means all the hard work over the last seven years finally paid off.”
The Pride had two former state qualifiers Trey Stevenson and Blake Gaughan come up short and Desert Vista had one in Matt Mathers. It’s a sign of exactly how tough this tournament ended up being.
“Blake not making it was a heartbreaker,” Pride coach Darrick Kahle said. “This is a tough tournament. One missed takedown here or a slip up here and you are out.”
Ahwatukee resident and Corona del Sol junior Zach Walton won the 145-pound with an impressive 11-6 win over Chandler’s Estevan Ulibarri.
“I’m confident in my defense and don’t think anyone can score on me so it is opening up other things,” said Walton, who finished as a state runner-up last year. “This is a tough sectional so I assume I am the No. 1 seed at state and that’s the spot I want to be in.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSKodaAFN
1. Sunnyside 214.5; 2. Chandler 187; 3. Corona 178; 4. Desert Vista 116; 5. Basha 112; 6. Perry 105; 7. Hamilton 48; 8. Tucson 43.5; 9. Mountain Pointe 37; 10. Buena 32.5; 11. Desert View 31; 12. Rincon 19.5.
106 – Delorm (Des. View) dec. Reyes (Chan), 6-2. Third – Carillo (Corona) dec. Murillo (Sunny), 3-2.
113 – Olivas (Sunny) maj. Dec. Krum (Basha), 15-6. Third – Mitchell (DV) pin PanePinto (Chan), 1:55.
120 - Ratliff (Perry) dec. Miranda (Sunny), 7-6. Third – Churchill (Corona) by default of Rojas (MP).
126 – Olivas (Sunny) by default over Moran (Chan). Third – McCurdy (Basha) dec. Vazquez (Ham), 2-1.
132 – Farina (Corona) tech. fall over Rico (Chan). Third – Quiroz-Rom (Tucson) by default over Lara (Bahsa).
138 – Brady (Chan) dec. Moraga (Sunny), 7-4. Third – Latin (Basha) pin Gardner (DV), 4:11.
145 – Walton (Corona) dec. Ulibarri (Chan), 11-6. Third – Steinback (Sunny) dec. Parda (Perry), 3-2.
152 – Moran (Chan) dec. Winstead (Corona), 7-5. Third – Miranda (Sunny) dec. Ratliff (Perry), 11-5.
160 – Tursini (Corona) dec. Stadler (Basha), 8-2. Third – Powers (Buena) maj. Dec. Murphy (MP), 9-1.
170 – Ronayne (Basha) pin DiSilva (Ham), 3:08. Third – Barker (Corona) won by default over Imonode (DV).
182 – Bambic (DV) pin Miranda (Chan), 2:51. Third – Arredondo (Perry) dec. Dorame (Sunny).
195 – Gonzalez (Sunny) maj. Dec. Kronborg (Corona), 12-4. Third – Serrano (Perry) by default over Ezell (DV).
220 – Lattner (Chan) pin Deatherage (Sunny), 3:14. Third – Joseph-Jam (Ham) by default over Caliendo (Corona).
HVY – Villegas (Sunny) pin Motes (Perry), 2:13. Third – Ortega (DV) dec. Moore (Corona), 12-4.