Josh McIntyre of Skyline doesn’t have a lot of time to make some noise in the wrestling season.
He sent a message loud and clear on Saturday to the 112-pound weight class in 5A-I with an upset of previously unbeaten Carlos Lopez of Dobson at the first Nate Johnson Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Red Mountain High School.
With just a couple of weeks left in the regular season, wrestlers are looking to earn their best seed possible for regional and state tournaments in February. A sixth-place finisher last year in the 5A-II state meet, McIntyre has had limited success this season but led a group of very successful Coyote grapplers on Saturday.
“I just don’t want to lose, just think positive, that’s all,” said McIntyre of his 9-5 win over Lopez in their championship bout, ending Lopez’s 33-0 streak this season. “I just want to show who I am not what anybody else thinks.”
For Lopez, a state quarterfinalist a year ago who lost to the eventual state champion, the tournament would seem to have been a good tune-up for the final weeks of the season.
“My mind-set was a little different, he got the better of me because he wanted it and I didn’t want it as much,” he said. “It kind of shocked me. I got to get more mentally tough. I got to want it now.”
Skyline won four championships and had a runner-up in the 14 classes on Saturday, including 160-pound champ Jon Rollins, who earned one of three outstanding wrestler designations on the evening. Defending state champion Shane McGough of Desert Mountain (125) and Kalu Ukaku (215) of Red Mountain also were acknowledged.
The Coyotes won back-to-back bouts with Josh Roberts taking the 152-pound title, followed by Rollins. Roberts needed a big third period to get past top-seed Zach Lott of Red Mountain, 8-4. Roberts had a slim 3-2 advantage after the first four minutes.
“Coaches are pushing us hard, we are getting that extra endurance for that extra step in that third period,” Roberts said, citing sparring partner Rollins as one of major reasons for his improvement.
Rollins had little trouble with Joe Swaine of Dobson, pinning the Mustang with 1:21 left in the second period. He was already leading 7-0.
“I beat the kid earlier in the tournament so I knew what to do,” Rollins said. “I knew how I was going to take him down, how I was going to put him to his back. It’s my senior year so I know what I am doing, everything seems to flow this year.”
The other outstanding Coyote performance came from Hunter Jensen at 130. He needed just 1:21 to dispatch Darius Leopaul of Phoenix Central.
Red Mountain’s Ukaku beat Thomas Aldrete of Dobson 10-4 in the penultimate bout of the night, a rematch of the fifth-place match at last year’s state tournament. Ukaku won that one, too.
“He gave me some problems, tied up my hand control,” said Ukaku. “I had to move super quick. I didn’t want to get stuck in his tie-up or else I would have been done.”
Lion heavyweight Mario Ramirez ended the night a little early with a pin of Mustang George Avena at 1:20 of the second period.
Mesa Desert Ridge’s Nathan Covarrubias got the night off on a good start with a third-period rally to beat Dante Patrick of Desert Mountain 11-5 after the 103-pound bout was tied at 5 after two periods.
Dobson’s Ryan Campbell picked up the first of two Mustang wins on Saturday, beating Juan Munoz of Skyline 5-3 in the 135-pound class with two big takedowns in the final period.
Issac Hayes followed that up by holding off Eric Perez of Red Mountain 6-5 after leading 6-1 after two periods in the 140-pound bout.
In the strangest bout of the night, Grady Woods of Phoenix Pinnacle was given a win over top-seed Bobby Davis of Red Mountain, who came into the bout 37-1 on the year. Davis was ruled to have used an illegal slam and when Woods could not continue was granted the win at 1:18 of the second period.
Red Mountain coach Dave DiDomenico said he did not dispute the referee’s call of the illegal move.
The tournament was named for the former 112-pound Red Mountain wrestler who was killed in a car accident just before the 1990-91 season.
Nate Johnson Memorial Wrestling Tournament
103 – Covarrubias, Desert Ridge, def. Patrick, Desert Mountain, 11-5
112 – McIntyre, Skyline, def. Lopez, Dobson, 9-5
119 – Michels, DM, def. Imondoe, Central, 3-2
125 – McGough, DM, pinned Amaya, Millennium
130 – Jensen, Sky, pinned Leopaul, Cent
135 – Campbell, Dob, def. Munoz, Sky, 5-3
140 – Hayes, Dob, def. Perez, Red Mountain, 6-5
145 – Woods, Pinnacle, def. Davis, RM
152 – Roberts, Sky, def. Lott, RM, 8-4
160 – Rollins, Sky, pinned Swaine, Dob
171 – Wechsler, DM, pinned Faris, RM
189 – Mays, Mill, def. Weise, DR, 6-2
215 – Ukaku, RM, def. Aldrete, Dob, 10-4
Heavyweight – Ramirez, RM, pinned Avena, Dob