A year may have passed since Dysart’s Michael Crosby and Verrado’s Joe Locke faced off, but it didn’t take long for the two to get reacquainted on the wrestling mat Wednesday.
Locke’s mistake with four seconds remaining in the third period gave Crosby his second career win against the Viper junior at the 125-pound weight class and helped Dysart pull out a 39-36 win to open the wrestling season.
“That was redemption,” Crosby said. “He beat me last time, so I wanted to turn it around against him. I really wanted that one.”
While the two are rivals, they are also contenders for state titles in their weight class. Last season Locke placed fourth in the 4A-II State Tournament while Crosby finished sixth in 4A-I.
Up 4-3 with time ticking down in the third, Crosby started in the defensive position and Locke quickly gained the advantage. The junior barred Crosby’s arm and kept him on his belly where the two battled for control.
It appeared Locke had the Demon senior in a compromised position with his arm twisted behind his back and forcing him to his back. Crosby used his head to keep his shoulders up before working to his side. With the seconds ticking down, Locke’s chicken-wing hold inched its way up Crosby’s back and the referee called time out with four seconds remaining when he determined the hold reached a dangerous position.
“Before (the whistle) I was just focused on escaping his hold and staying off my back,” Crosby said. “I didn’t want him to get that last point. When we restarted, I knew he’d do whatever it took to get those last points. But I survived.”
For Dysart Coach Kayle Thompson, the three-point win was the tightest he’s seen Verrado wrestle against his squad in four years, and it was a little too close for comfort.
“I was worried,” Thompson said. “If Joe (Locke) doesn’t get Michael’s arm up I think he could have got him. But we’ll take it. We were a little short-handed tonight with some kids who didn’t make weight that forced others up from the junior varsity level.”
That included freshman Logan Hanchett in the 171-weight class, whose only instruction from Thompson was to “not get pinned” with the Demons holding onto a 39-33 lead. The Dysart freshman answered his coach’s request despite losing the match 17-9.
Sophomore Vance Gilliam nearly pulled off the pin with time winding down in the third period. With 13 seconds remaining, Gilliam rolled over Hanchett’s back to gain position, however, the freshman used his head and slid out of the Viper grappler’s hold to make it a three-point majority win instead of a six-point pin.
“The program is really on the way up,” Thompson said. “We’ve brought these kids up through the ranks and we have an extremely dedicated group of kids. It’s about showing them the team sports side of it, but it’s an individual sport at the same time. If a young man can battle like Hanchett did and win it for the team it really brings thing together for us.”
That dedicated group includes three seniors who nearly won 4A-I titles last season and eye a return visit this season.
“I can see Alex (Slevy), Camrin (Adkins) and Michael (Crosby) all winning titles this year,” Thompson said. “And we have a few others who could reach the tournament.”
Slevy finished third in state last year and Adkins place fourth. Against Verrado, Slevy broke down junior Michael Rigado’s bridge by taking out the left leg and rolling the Viper to his side where he could use his weight to force the second period pin. The win at 152 pounds tied the match at 33 with two more matches remaining.
Dysart then received a break at 160 when Verrado junior Jacob Barnett, facing senior Kyle Copenhaver, was forced to retire in the second period due to a diabetic situation. That gave the Demons a 39-33 advantage.
On hand to open the Dysart wrestling season were El Mirage Vice Mayor David Shapera and Surprise Vice Mayor Richard Alton.
Next up for the Demons will be the Deer Valley Invitational Friday and Saturday.
List of Wednesday’s matches: 103 – Aaron Christman, Jr., Verrado, wins by forfeit. 112 – Nick Quiros, Fr., Verrado, wins by forfeit.
119 – Bryce Stumfall, Fr., Verrado, pins Mathew Martin, So., Dysart.
125 – Michael Crosby, Sr., Dysart, def. Joe Locke, Jr., Verrado, 4-3.
135 – Michael Quiros, Jr., Verrado, def. Adrian Ortiz, Jr., Dysart.
140 – Marcos Martinez, So., Verrado, pins Jesse Contreras, So., Dysart.
145 – Brandon Drotter, So., Verrado, pins Desmond Collazo, Sr., Dysart.
152 – Alex Slevy, Sr., Dysart, pins Michael Rigado, Jr., Verrado.
161 – Kyle Copenhaver, Sr., Dysart, def. Jacob Barnett, Jr., Verrado, ret.
171 – Vance Gilliam, So., Verrado, def. Logan Hanchett, Fr., Dysart, 17-9.