PRESCOTT VALLEY - All season the complaints were that two of the Division I sectionals were overloaded with power teams while the other two weren’t nearly as strong.
Not that this defines it but here is the breakdown of sectional champions who advanced to the state semifinals.
Section I: 8
Section II: 6
Section III: 13
Section IV: 9
Here is the breakdown of state semifinalists that were not sectional champs:
Section I: 3
Section II: 3
Section III: 10
Section IV: 4
State finalists by section:
Section I: 9
Section II: 3
Section III: 11
Section IV: 5
Clearly, based on this simple measurement Section III was by far the toughest section in the state.
Loss of control
Cibola’s chances of winning the Division I state tournament ended right about the time Mark Cruz jumped into the stands.
The former state placer lost a tough 145-pound quarterfinal match, 9-7, to Perry’s Justin Parada. Afterward he threw his head gear which enraged some of the Perry fan’s as they reacted to his frustration.
Cruz, who was a sectional champ that finished sixth at 120 last season, didn’t react well and went into the crowd.
Order was eventually restored and he was ejected from the tournament and the team lost four points.
Because of the inequality of the sectionals there were some quarterfinal matches that happened too early.
Sunnyside’s Sergio Miranda easily handled Horizon’s Travis Matt, 14-6, at 120 in a matchup of state placers, Chavez’s Dajour Reece won in the final seconds, 3-2, against Sunnyside’s Raul Moraga at 138 and Corona del Sol’s Zach Walton beat Mountain View’s Blake Monty 9-4 just to name a few.
In some cases if the bracket was re-drawn it wouldn’t be surprising to see those same matchups in the semifinals or even the finals.
At one point the four Division I mats during semifinals had Mountain Ridge’s Mike Suwyn vs. Walton; Mountain View’s Seth Monty vs. Chandler’s Dalton Moran; Chavez’s Dajour Reece vs. Sandra Day O’Connor’s Hayes Rollins and Highland’s Curt Done vs. Perry’s Justin Parada. Corona’s Ethan Tursini vs. Cibola’s Pierre Gaud also overlapped at one point.
Going back for more
Of the 11 returning state champions from last year 10 of the 11 advanced to the finals with Gaud the only one coming up short.
Marcos de Niza’s Jesse Morales (DII, 132) said it’s definitely a challenge to compete as the reigning champion.
“They are always gunning for you and trying show you they are better,” Morales said.