Roughhousing between siblings usually results in trouble. In the case of Eric and Aaron Garcia, it made for quite a showing at the 3A state wrestling championships at Glendale Arena.
The brothers from Coolidge set their sights on opponents rather than each other Saturday, and it led to a state title for Eric in the 125-pound weight class and a runner-up finish for Aaron at 119.
“I’ve gotten way better because of him,” Aaron Garcia said of Eric. “He’s always pushing me. I wouldn’t be at the top if he wasn’t pushing me.”
Coolidge finished in sixth place overall with 97 1 /2 points. Safford won the team title with 227 1 /2 points, followed by Payson at 164 1 /2 and Show Low with 147.
After finishing in second place the past two years, Eric Garcia was able to get over the hump with a resounding 16-0 technical fall over Parker’s Jerod Flores.
“Now I’m at the top, and it feels good,” he said. “I worked hard and I got what I deserved.”
Aaron Garcia fell to Safford’s Nathan Abril, 9-6, in his match, but is just a sophomore.
Fountain Hills finished in fifth place overall with 108 1 /2 points, but neither of its finalists could take home the title. Matt Rindal was pinned with nine seconds left in the first period of the 103-pound weight class, and 215-pounder HP Rollins was pinned by Goodyear Estrella Foothills’ Kevin Wilkinson with one minute left in the third period.
Maricopa had four individual state title winners and finished in a tie for second place in the 1A-2A team totals with 154 points.
Dee Massey (103), Adrian Fierro (125), Boyd Scofield (140) and Carlos Villa (145) each won their respective weight classes for the Rams. It was the most individual winners of any team in the 1A-2A conference.
Camp Verde won the team title with 177 1 /2 points. Willcox finished tied with Maricopa.
J.P. Grako was ninth-place Valley Christian’s lone finalist, and he was pinned by Mogollon’s Craig Despain 1:11 into the second period.