PRESCOTT VALLEY –
There was a time in Bob Callison’s young life while growing up in Wisconsin that everything was so dysfunctional, he had to run away.
As a foster child, he’d feel so out of place at some of the houses. They clearly weren’t his home, and he had to get away.
During those runs and throughout his childhood Callison formed how he’d want his adult life to be with three pillars for a foundation: spirituality, family and a sense of home.
Welcome to the Mountain View wrestling room.
Yes, Callison has a great family life that most don’t see, but last weekend those three pillars were clearly on display as his second family, the Toros, brought home the second state title in school history and first since 2000.
He can finally stop running.
“I’ve been a head coach in the East Valley for 17 years and you are constantly chasing and working,” said Callison, who began his coaching career at Mesquite. “This is very special. The program has always been successful, but I have also put my stamp on it, too.
“Those kids who are coming through here have been with me. I remember when they walked into our room as fifth graders.”
They are all grown up now.
Mountain View won the Division I title last weekend with 197 points behind two champions, three runner-ups and four other placers to best perennial-champion Tucson Sunnyside easily as the Blue Devils finished with 142.
The testament to what Mountain View accomplished comes from senior Ryan Gallo, who couldn’t make the lineup last year but finished sixth at state when a starter was hurt just before the sectional meet.
This year, Gallo was on a mission, gradually closed the gap on Corona del Sol state champion Glenn Farina — whom Gallo never beat until sectionals two weeks ago — then followed that up with another win, 4-3, to take the 138-pound title.
“He has taught us to never give up,” Gallo said of Callison. “He runs the room hard and we push each other. We have our fights but we settle them in the room. We are like a family no matter what happens.”
The Toros other champion was Blake Monty, who didn’t place last season after finishing fifth as a freshman. He was reached a new level because of the disappointment as he beat Westview’s Richard Miranda 7-0 for the 145-pound title.
“It made me push myself to limits that I’ve never been to before,” Monty said. “This has been a lifelong dream and it finally came true.”
The other state finalists for the Toros were sophomore Paden Mason (113) and junior twins Weston (160) and Kieffer Taylor (170), who were state placers in Utah before moving back to Arizona this year.
After the celebration, the whole program came down to the floor of the Tim’s Toyota Center to accept the trophy as a one big family.
“I yearned for my mom and my dad,” Callison said teary-eyed. “I saw a lot of dysfunction and God blessed me in a lot of different ways. It is something that I will never forget and it drives me to give our boys a place they can feel good about.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.