The 2011-12 wrestling season has a few months to define itself, but the offseason was all about the comings and goings, with three in particular affecting the Southeast Valley.
The first one shook the entire state as Tucson Sunnyside coach Bobby DeBerry stepped down after winning after one of the most dominating runs in Arizona high school sports history.
The Blue Devils have won 14 straight titles with DeBerry and 15 under his watch since 1996.
He and his two sons, who combined to win eight individual titles, might be gone, but the standard and the work done in the room is the same.
It is not like Sunnyside reached its dominating level behind DeBerry. The Blue Devils won 14 other state titles (29 total since 1977) and have never finished below third place since the state started keeping tabs.
DeBerry's departure might crack the door for programs like Corona del Sol, Mountain View and Desert Vista just enough to end the Sunnyside's current streak.
At the same time, the Blue Devils will be just as tough with new coach Anthony Leon, who wrestled at Catalina High in Tucson and Pima Community College.
"It still runs through Sunnyside," said Desert Vista coach David Gonzalez, who is a former assistant coach at Sunnyside. "They have just as much returning as we do. With the returning lineup we have we should be one of the top teams.
"I am not conceding anything to Sunnyside, but they have won so many (14) state titles in a row for a reason. Coach DeBerry might be gone but the program still has its roots."
The other two major moves hit more of the epicenter of the Southeast Valley.
Highly-successful coach Tom Wokasch takes over at Queen Creek, which has a reputation for turning out tough and disciplined wrestlers.
Wokasch won five state titles at Cottonwood Mingus before resigning after the 2009-10 season when he became under investigation for the whereabouts of the some booster club money. Nothing came of the investigation to date.
After spending some time as Hamilton's assistant coach, Wokasch takes over the Bulldogs, who finished second in the state in 2010 and third in 2008 in Class 4A Division I and Division II, respectively, under Tod Workman.
The third move involves Chandler junior Dalton Brady, who left the program for five months to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs only to return just before the season started.
The decision to come back was made easier when the high school he planned on attending in Colorado didn't handle the paperwork correctly so instead of taking a chance of being ineligible, he returned to Arizona, where his mother stayed while his father followed him to Colorado.
"Obviously, we are very pleased to have him back, more importantly, he is very happy to be back," Chandler coach Vidal Mejia said. "It's about kids and not coaches and programs. We have a great group of lightweights and Dalton just raises the bar for them in practice, drilling, intensity and leadership."
There was some other movement by individuals as Desert Vista's lineup has been bolstered by Derek Allen and Robert Sobarzo, state placers who came over from Mountain Ridge and Westview, and Horizon will be stronger with the addition of state-placer Samson Imonode from Phoenix Central.
Returning wrestling champions
Division I: Rafael Jaimes, Sr., Yuma Cibola, 103 pounds; Dalton Brady, Jr., Chandler, 112; Robbie Mathers, Sr., Desert Vista, 125; Curt Done, Jr., Highland, 130; Kendall Love, Sr., Desert Vista, 135; Seth Monty, Jr., Mountain View, 140; Dorian Coleman, Sr., Mesa, 160; Cedric Gonzalez, Sr., Sunnyside, 171; ; Alex Bambic, Jr., Desert Vista, 215.
Division II: Connor Buette, Sr., Tucson Ironwood Ridge, 119 pounds; Tate Sandifer, Jr., Ironwood Ridge, 125; Jesus Morales, Jr., Marcos de Niza, 130; Kevin Jumbeck, Sr., Yuma Gila Ridge, 160; Michael Holwell, Sr., Glendale, 189.
Division III: Gabe Galaviz, So., Flagstaff Coconino, 103 pounds; Trey Andrews, Sr., Safford, 112; Mark Lopez, Jr., Rio Rico, 135; Justin Zaske, Sr., Mingus, 152; Kevin Henderson, Sr., Lakeside Blue Ridge, 160; Terrence Cook, Sr., Bullhead City Mohave, heavyweight.
Division IV: Ryder Nielson, Sr., St. Johns, 112 pounds; Dallyn Despain, So., Heber Mogollon, 119; Smiley Beecroft, So., Mogollon, 125; RJ Alverado, Sr., Holbrook, 130; Remington Baldwin, Sr., Joseph City, 145; Ryan Gill, Sr., Yuma Catholic, 160; Boone Baker, Sr., Mogollon, 171; Lloyd Lewis, Jr., Salt River, 215.
Dec. 17-18: McClintock Invitational; Moon Valley Invitational
Jan. 4: Corona del Sol at Desert Vista
Jan. 6-7: Peoria Invitational
Jan. 13-14: Flowing Wells Invite
Jan. 18: Mountain View at Corona
Feb. 3-4: Sectional tournaments
Feb. 9-11: State tournament at Tim's Toyota Center. (Division I and II are Friday and Saturday; Division III and IV are Thursday and Friday)
Did you know?
•Dalton Brady's lone loss in Arizona came at the hands of Safford's three-time state champion Trey Andrews, who beat Brady 3-2 at Flowing Wells two years ago. Brady avenged that loss with a 6-5 win over Andrew last year at the same tournament. Here is hoping round three comes this year.
•Desert Vista's Alex Bambic won the gold medal at the Pam-Am Games in Mexico over the summer. Bambic competed at 100kg (220 pounds) for the U.S. team in the Greco competition. Bambic won the gold medal and sealed the win for the U.S. in the Greco team competition, beating Mexico based on the number of gold medals.
•Who were the last teams to beat Sunnyside at a state tournament? Marcos de Niza edged the Blue Devils in 1997 by the score of 191-187.5. The last team to beat the Blue Devils in a dual meet? Dobson in 1998 at a Deer Valley dual meet tournament.