Andy Jay sat in the stands at Glendale Arena, fresh off a pin of Mesa Mountain View’s Joe Farnsworth that gave him third place in the 189-pound class in 5A Division I.
Then a junior at Mesa High, Jay watched as the person who knocked him out in the semifinals, Tempe Corona del Sol’s Luke Macchiaroli, won the state title. The title Jay felt belonged to him.
“I was pretty lit up, mad at myself,” Jay said of his feelings on Feb. 11, 2006. “I came in the next day and started training right away. I didn’t want to wait.”
Jay’s quest for redemption lasted one day short of a year, as the Mesa senior capped a 40-0 senior season with a 3-1 win over Macchiaroli in the 189-pound championship match on Feb. 10.
“Walking out of the arena, I was happy that it all paid off,” Jay said.
Jay’s work paid off with a perfect individual season, a team tournament championship and the honor as the East Valley Tribune’s Wrestler of the Year. Jay is the second straight Mesa wrestler to earn the honor, following Anthony Robles.
While never scrawny, Jay began his wrestling career at Mesa as a bit of a whipping boy.
“When I first walked in, I was a sophomore on varsity and it was scary,” Jay said. “I got pushed around. My only goal was to try to make it to regionals without being embarrassed.”
Jay didn’t take long to go from whipping boy to the one cracking the whip, albeit with a different style. His leadership this season didn’t include picking on the younger wrestlers, but instilling a sense of team that produced Mesa’s second-straight team championship.
“I tried to help them more knowing that some of them are going to be on our varsity team and are going to help our team,” Jay said. “We all had the same mindset and that was to take state.”
While Jay admits winning those team titles was pretty exciting, nothing compared to finally being the one on the top of the medal podium at the state tournament.
“I loved the team tournament, it was fun,” Jay said. “But I was more excited when I got my individual title because that was my first.”
Class 5A All-Tribune first team Wrestler School Yr. Wt. Season result
Ryan Miller Corona Fr. 103 41-3, 5A-I state champ Tony Covert Mtn. View Sr. 112 29-2, 5A-I state champ Nick Mills Highland Sr. 119 36-3, 5A-I state runner-up Greg Carbajal Red Mtn. Sr. 125 43-1, 5A-I state champ Jadon Johnson Mtn. View Sr. 130 32-3, 5A-I state champ Cody Lewis Dobson Jr. 135 30-7, 5A-I state runner-up Alex Pacheco Mesa Sr. 140 41-3, 5A-I state champ Chris Galvan Red Mtn. Jr. 145 40-4, 5A-I state champ Jake Kauffman Red Mtn. Sr. 152 43-3, 5A-I state champ Daniel Covert Highland So. 160 37-6, 5A-I state runner-up Zach Wadsworth Mesa Sr. 171 36-3, 5A-I state champ Andy Jay Mesa Sr. 189 40-0, 5A-I state champ Chris Long Dobson Jr. 215 32-10, 5A-I state champ Trevor Stapp Corona Jr. HWT 41-1,
5A-I state champ Wrestler of the Year: Andy Jay, Mesa
Coach of the Year: Bob Williams, Mesa
Class 5A honorable mention 103: Daniel Mendoza, So.; Westwood; 112: Kyle Swayzee, Jr.; Horizon; Shane McGough, Fr.; Desert Mtn.; 119: Josiah Stotts, So.; Marcos de Niza; Joe Loera, Sr.; Mesa; 125: Aaron Belloc, Jr.; Casa Grande; 130: Martin Lopez, Jr.; Casa Grande; 135: Ben Carillo, So.; Desert Vista; 140: Derek Felton, Fr.; Corona; 145: Nate Leidigh, Sr.; Horizon; 152: John Calteux, Sr.; Hamilton; Josh Rittenhouse, Jr.; Marcos de Niza; 160: Tim Carillo, Jr.; Desert Vista; 171: Kyle Flannery, Sr., Basha; Aaron Pavlenko, Fr.; Marcos de Niza; 189: Luke Macchiaroli, So., Corona; Jimmy Klingensmith, Sr.; Marcos de Niza; 215: Ridge Nielsen, Sr.; Mtn. View; HWT: Jeff Nave, Sr.; Red Mtn.
Class 2A-4A All-Tribune first team Wrestler School Yr. Wt. Season result
Brad Opfar Queen Creek Sr. 103 39-13, placed 5th in 4A-II Yobel Muchang Saguaro So. 112 21-2, 4A-I runner-up Aaron Garcia Coolidge Jr. 119 68-0, 3A state champ Eric Garcia Coolidge Sr. 125 68-1, 3A state champ Vinny Bradley McClintock Jr. 130 42-3, 3rd in 4A-I Dan Parada Coronado Jr. 135 31-8, runner-up in 4A-II Tod Workman Queen Creek Jr. 140 25-3, placed 3rd in 4A-II Pat Sullivan Seton Sr. 145 Finished 5th at 3A meet Adam Carey Saguaro Jr. 152 29-6, placed 3rd in 4A-I Jake Goddard Queen Creek So. 160 29-3, runner-up in 4A-II Andrew Ashford Coolidge Jr. 171 47-2, 3A state champ David Hollis Queen Creek Sr. 189 38-3, 4A-II state champ Derrick Gonzales Coolidge Jr. 215 49-5, 3A state champ Zack Tourangeau Apache Junction Sr. HWT 31-2, 4A-II champ
Wrestler of the Year: Eric Garcia, Coolidge
Coach of the Year: George Ogilvie, Coolidge Class
2A-4A honorable mention
112: Matt Rindal, Jr., Fountain Hills. 119: Mike Mailloux, Jr., Saguaro; Travis Huff, Jr., Coronado; Heath Boers, Fr., Higley; Kyle McMinn, Jr. Apache Junction. 125: Armando Casillas, Sr. Tempe; Parker Skidmore, Fr., Higley. 135: Daniel Muchang, Sr., Saguaro; Justin Hutchinson, Sr. Apache Junction; Josh Kasumovic, Sr., Fountain Hills. 140: Chris Reis, Jr., Higley. 152: Nathan Selman, So. Tempe. 160: Ian Denick, Jr., Coronado; Jeff Cappellini, Sr., Fountain Hills. 171: Hector Hernandez, Sr. Higley; Luke Peach, Sr., Valley Christian. 189: Sean Land, Jr. Pinnacle. 215: Riley Woods, Jr. Pinnacle; Gannon Conway, Sr., Higley. HWT: Michael Hernandez. Sr. McClintock.
Looking back MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM THE 2006-07 SEASON
Rabbits multiply: Mesa High liked the team championship format the first year of its existence so much the Jackrabbits retooled a bit and won their second straight 5A Division I team championship. Led by 189-pound, unbeaten Andy Jay, the Jackrabbits made bridesmaids of East Valley Region rival Mesa Mountain View for the second year in a row with a 26-25 win over the Toros. Come-from-behind victories by Jay and Victor Montaño at 119 pounds played a huge part in Mesa repeating. Mesa lost nine seniors to graduation the year before, but mustered enough moxie as the season wore on to defend its title under coach Bob Williams.
189 was one tough weight: East Valley wrestlers were outstanding in the 5A ranks and particularly at the 189-pound class. Jay outlasted Corona del Sol’s Luke Macchiaroli for the 5A-I title. The other four state placers at 189 were all from East Valley schools (Joe Farnsworth, Mtn. View; Phil Donofrio, Desert Vista; Matt Gordon, Dobson and Matt Sullivan, Gilbert). The 5A-II state champ was Marcos de Niza’s Jimmy Klingensmith, who knocked over Desert Ridge’s Brad Prescher for that division’s top spot. In 4A-I Pinnacle’s Sean Land was runner-up to a two-time state champ and Queen Creek’s David Hollis won the 4A-II title for the second year in a row.
The brothers Garcia: In a span of about 20 minutes, the Garcia family had two wrestling championships. Coolidge siblings Aaron and Eric Garcia went back to back at the 3A state meet. Aaron, a junior, beat Sahuarita’s Ramon Casillas 11-2 in the 119-pound final to cap a 68-0 season. Eric, a senior, won his second straight state title with a 10-4 win over Parker’s Jerod Flores. Eric finished his season 68-1.