Desert Vista and Corona del Sol each had two individual champions Saturday at the Peoria Wrestling Invitational, but state wrestling powerhouse Tucson Sunnyside showed it is the team to beat again this year, despite moving up to the 5A Division II ranks.
Construction at Peoria High School moved this year’s meet to neighboring Raymond S. Kellis High School in Glendale, but no matter where the meet would have traveled, Sunnyside was sure to be there to win it. The Blue Devils, winners of the past six 4A state championships, won the 40-team meet with 246 1/2 points. Three Sunnyside wrestlers won individual titles
The Blue Devils did get strong challenges from two out-of-state schools, as Rio Rancho (N.M.) was second with 235 and Cimarron (Nev.) third with 208.
Desert Vista finished tops among East Valley schools with 194 points, good enough for fourth place. Corona del Sol was fifth with 156 points. Horizon was eighth place with 99 1 /2 points, followed by Dobson in 14th with 78 points.
An East Valley school was assured of an individual champion at 135 pounds when Desert Vista’s Mark Franklin squared off against Horizon’s Rudy Charlie for the third time this season.
Franklin, the top wrestler at 135 according to the Arizona Wrestling Coaches Association rankings, remained perfect against Charlie while improving his overall record to 27-2 after a pin with nineteen seconds left in the second period.
"All I can say about Charlie is that he’s a good wrestler, and I respect him a lot," Franklin said. "He comes up with something new against me every time. I knew I had to keep a cool head and wrestle a smart, safe match."
The other Desert Vista champion was Jack Parker. The 160-pounder pinned Cimarron’s Zeth St. Clair late in the first period.
"He’s wrestling with a lot of confidence and has had a great tournament," Desert Vista coach Todd Ford said. "He’s beating everyone."
Parker is a perfect 30-0 for the season.
"I noticed he was off balance and I was able to flip him on his back," Parker said. "It was good that he was seeded number one and I was number two, it put less pressure on me."
Corona del Sol did its damage in the upper weight classes, as Cory Hale triumphed in the 189-pound class and Robert Holbrook was the 215-pound champion.
The Aztecs’ Luke Macchiaboli made the finals in the 171-pound match, but fell to Diego Bencemo of Glendale Independence.
Desert Vista also got a third-place win in at 171 when the Thunder’s Jimmy Cook beat top seeded Cole Reid from Rio Rancho, 8-4.
"I wasn’t even seeded, I drew the 15th spot," Cook said, "but I beat the two seed and pinned another guy, so my confidence was up."
Philip Mahne from Brophy took second place at 119 pounds and Dobson’s Joel Williams came in second in the 145-pound class.
At 152 pounds, Preston Pruett from Desert Vista was second and Horizon’s Nathan Leidigh took third.
"I’m happy with our performance," Ford said. "To finish fourth in this field is good, our guys wrestled with confidence and wrestled smart."