PRESCOTT VALLEY - Ted Rico stood on the podium at last year’s state tournament and felt nothing but disappointment.
There wasn’t regret, he had wrestled hard in his lone loss of the tournament, but a third-place finish was not what the Combs sophomore had in mind.
Sometime after he stepped on the mat for the first time as 5-year-old, the younger Rico had only had one goal in mind: win four state titles.
He felt the need to match his dad, Ted, who won four state titles at Miami H.S. (1992-95), even though the two of them never discussed it.
“It was something in my head,” the younger Rico said. “Finishing third was the worst thing ever. I don’t want to feel like that again.”
While he might not be able to equal his dad, who is on the Combs coaching staff, Rico is in position to make amends as a sophomore as he advanced to Saturday’s semifinals with two easy wins on Friday in the Division III, 113-pound weight class to improve to 41-1.
“He is so much better than I ever was,” the elder Rico said. “His goals are wrestling in college and the Olympics. He is in a different class.”
Another East Valley semifinalist is San Tan Foothills 220-pounder Jake Lee, who is attempting to defend his Division IV state title.
“It’s only as hard as you make it,” Lee said of trying to recapture last year’s state title run. “I’ve done it before and I’m ready to do it again.”
Campo Verde had a solid start to the tournament as it placed four in the Division III semifinals in Dayton Dunham (106), Rand Hawk (138), Steve Stryker (152) and Finton Connolly (heavyweight). It was good enough to place the Coyotes in second place in the team standings behind Phoenix Thunderbid, which leads 63.5 to 48.
Some of the other area semifinalists include Tempe’s Paul Gonzalez (106, Div. III), Williams Field’s Chandler Follett (145, Div. III), Higley’s Drew Aho (heavyweight, Div. III) and Seton Catholic’s Alex Ferrar (170, Div. III).
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.