PRESCOTT VALLEY – Transforming from a somewhat plump freshman to a svelte three-time state wrestling champion has given Alex Bambic one of the most unique – and successful – careers in Arizona wrestling history.
The Desert Vista senior finished it off Friday night at Tim’s Toyota Center when he beat Chandler’s Joe Miranda 11-5 for the Division I 182-pound title.
It was hard to envision Bambic doing that four years ago.
Not winning a state title, he proved that was only a matter of time as a freshman when he made the state semifinals at 215-pounds before finishing fifth.
He came back and won the title at 215 as a sophomore, then 195 as a junior before trimming down to 182 this year.
“I expected him to be a heavyweight by this time,” Thunder coach David Gonzales said. “I have never heard of it. He has to be one of the first if not the first (to win three titles at a lower weight each season). It has worked out good for him.”
Bambic finished the year 29-1 and became just the second Thunder wrestler to win three state titles (no one has won two) matching Robbie Mathers, who completed the feat last year.
“It feels good to finally do it,” said Bambic, who pinned Miranda last week in the sectional finals. “I was feeling pressure and came out tight. I didn’t wrestle like I wanted but I got the job done.”
That might what defines Bambic the most. His work ethic is relentless and he has had to adapt his styles as he dropped weight classes. Put a task in front of him and consider it done.
“He is really good at doing what is asked of him and asks questions if something doesn’t feel right,” Gonzalez said. “He is going to make sure he is prepared and get it taken care of.”
Bambic, who is getting late college interest, said he knew this day was possible – not the weight loss – but the status as a three-timer during his first state tournament.
“I was beating seniors and knocking off people they didn’t expect me to,” he said. “After that I knew I was going to be pretty good.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.