Luke Macchiaroli was seldom challenged this season. Or rather, he was seldom challenged by other wrestlers.
If his opponent wasn’t enough of a challenge, Macchiaroli challenged himself, seeing every match as a chance to improve his skills.
“You always want to work on getting better,’’ said Macchiaroli, who hopes to wrestle in college. “To get the next level.”
That attitude carried the Tempe Corona del Sol junior to a 52-0 record at 215 pounds, his second state championship and Tribune wrestler of the year honors. He helped the Aztecs finish first in the team scoring at the 5A-I individual tournament and to a second-place finish at the state dual team championships.
Macchiaroli won the 185-pound championship as a freshman. He was figuring on a repeat when he made the final his sophomore season.
Andy Jay of Mesa High had other ideas, beating Macchiaroli 3-1.
“I got a little ahead of myself,” Macchiaroli said.
Ironically, his freshman season he wasn’t thinking about winning the state title until he got to the semifinals.
“I went to the semifinals, thinking I’m going to place — I’m just going to wrestle as hard as I can. I wound up winning 11-10,’’ he said.
He was loose for the final and ended up winning.
This season, Macchiaroli took nothing for granted.
He wrestled during the summer, finishing eighth in the Greco-Roman nationals at 215.
He skipped football in the fall. He breezed through the regular season. His closest match was a three-point win in the Mingus tournament final.
Macchiaroli ran through the field at the state tournament, until he met defending champion Christian Long of Dobson. Though the schools are just a few miles apart, the two had never wrestled.
Macchiaroli took control with a takedown in the second period and had a 7-3 win.
After the state individual tournament, Corona made it to the final of the dual-meet championships but fell to Mesa 35-22 in the title match.
Mesa wrapped up the match before the Aztecs could get to their big guns, Macchiaroli and state heavyweight champion Trevor Stapp.
“You can’t say the season was a failure,’’ Macchiaroli said following the match. “I just wish the team had done a little bit better.”
Looking Back: Memorable moments from the 2007-08 season
Still the best: Mesa entered the season as the two-time defending 5A-I wrestling champion, and the Jackrabbits were among the top teams this season. But by the lofty standards of the program, the Jackrabbits struggled.
They didn’t win a tournament through the season — until it mattered most. Mesa made it to the team championship final and built a commanding 24-6 lead against Tempe Corona del Sol. But Corona had two unbeaten state champions in the final two weight classes, so Mesa wanted to wrap it up prior to those last two matches. Mesa 171-pounder Ben Horne got the job done, beating Sean Larsen 15-0 to clinch it.
Two-for-one family: Tyler Jimenez is six minutes younger than his brother, Ryan. But he was a few minutes ahead of his brother in the winners circle at the 5A-I state individual championships at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. Tyler Jimenez became Chandler Basha’s first state champion, winning the 145-pound title. Ryan Jimenez became the second, winning the next match, the 152-pound final.
Unofficial win: In theory, the team scoring for the 5A-I individual tournament is only for seeding purposes for the dual-meet championship.
But you wouldn’t have known it from the nervousness of two coaches as they waited for the finals to start. Mesa Red Mountain coach Dave DiDomenico, whose team had a slim lead, had done the math on a napkin.
He joked about having a stroke before the night was over. Corona del Sol coach Dave Vibber, whose team was in second place, paced nervously. The tension mounted as the evening wore down. The team title — or rather top seeding — came down to the final match. Red Mountain would win if Corona heavyweight Trevor Stapp lost or won by decision. Stapp pinned Westwood’s Cameron Teller to give Corona a first-place finish.
Class 5A All-Tribune first team
Wrestler School Yr. Wt. Comment
Sage Ornelas Desert Vista Fr. 103 Finished first year with a state title
Shane McGough Desert Mtn. So. 112 Unbeaten at 112; 56-1 overall
Victor Montano Mesa Jr. 119 Individual and team state champ
Ryan Miller Corona So. 125 3rd after winning it all as freshman
Blake Mabry Highland Jr. 130 Only lost once on way to 5A-I title
Ben Carrillo Desert Vista Jr. 135 Made state final
Seth Pickett Red Mountain Sr. 140 Caps career with state title
Tyler Jimenez Basha Sr. 145 School’s first state champ
Ryan Jimenez Basha Sr. 152 Unbeaten state champion
Taylor Sare Red Mountain Sr. 160 State champion
Colton Kiernan Desert Vista Jr. 171 State champ; 46-3 record
Phil Donofrio Desert Vista Sr. 189 44 victories and a state title
Luke Macchiaroli Corona del Sol Jr. 215 Unbeaten, won second state title
Trevor Stapp Corona del Sol Sr. Hwt. Won state title with pin
Class 5A All-Tribune second team
Wrestler School Yr. Wt. Comment
Juan Carlos Sanchez Mountain View Sr. 103 Lost 5A-I final by a point
Cody Abeyta Horizon Sr. 112 5A-II state champion
Kyle Swayzee Horizon Sr. 119 5A-II state runner-up
Jordan Huntley Red Mountain Jr. 125 Came on strong at state
Matt Moorhouse Red Mountain Sr. 130 5A-I state runner-up
Kendall Alldredge Westwood Jr. 135 State placer as a junior
Blake Edwards Highland Jr. 140 Surprise finalist at state
Gerad Johnson Red Mountain Sr. 145 Top seed at state, went to final
Derek Felton Corona So. 152 Two-time state finalist
Mayk Ordaz Mesa Sr. 160 Three pins at state on way to final
Daniel Covert Highland Jr. 171 Two pins in less than 30 sec. at state
Sean Land Pinnacle Sr. 189 5A-II state finalist
Christian Long Dobson Sr. 215 State champ last year, finalist as Sr.
Cameron Teller Westwood Sr. Hwt. Only two losses his senior year
5A Wrestler of the Year: Luke Macchiaroli, Corona del Sol, Jr.
Coach of the Year: David DiDomenico, Red Mountain. In his first year, he led the Mountain Lions to the semifinals in the team tournament and second in team scoring at the individual meet.
Class 5A Honorable Mention:
103: Chad Done, Highland, Fr.; Justin Cullin, Corona, So.; Lee Corey, Skyline, So. 112: Efren Damian, Mesa, Sr.; Kevin Etchells, Corona del Sol, Jr.; Mike Hamel, Mesquite, So.; Daniel Mendoza, Westwood, So. 119: Marcelo Pacheco, Gilbert, Jr. ; Tyler Lumpkin, Hamilton, Jr.; Nathan Lewis, Mountain View, Sr. 125: Tadeo Ruelas, Brophy, So.; Carson Raymond, Mesquite, Jr.; Matt Green, Horizon, Jr. 130: Frank Martinez, Gilbert, Sr.; Mauricio Maldanado, Mesa, Sr.; Josiah Stotts, Marcos de Niza, Jr. 135: Danny Cook, Mountain View, Sr.; Cody Lewis, Dobson, Sr.; Taylor Jensen, Marcos de Niza, Jr.; Mikey Baca, Marcos de Niza, So.; Kyle Barrett, Horizon, Sr. 140: Craig Addington, Mountain View, Sr.; Cody Norton, Brophy, Jr.; Trey McAlister, Corona del Sol, Sr.; Dominic Sotelo, Marcos de Niza, Fr. 152: Shawn Campbell, Desert Vista, Sr.; Cody Saul, Red Mountain, Jr.; Andrew Gallo, Mountain View, Sr.; Chazz Romero, Marcos de Niza, Sr. 160: Kadeem Holman, Dobson, Sr.; Ty Johnson, Highland, Jr.; Josh Rittenhouse, Marcos de Niza, Sr. 171: David Leeser, Red Mountain, Jr.; Kaylen Hamlett, Gilbert, Jr.; Ben Horne, Mesa, Sr.; Diego Ezrre, Brophy, Sr. 189: Mike Howard, Corona del Sol, So.; Bryan Click, Brophy, Jr.; Zion Galloday, Mesa, Jr. Nick Hodgeman, Gilbert, Sr.; Kyle Henson, Dobson, Jr.; Aaron Pavlenko, Marcos de Niza, Jr.; Lance Hyer, Skyline, Jr. 215: Brandon Lewis, Desert Vista, Sr.; Nate Charles, Mountain Pointe, Jr.; Jacob Westra, Mountain View, Jr. HWT.: Fernando Valadez, Mesa, Sr.; Bradley Brooks, Red Mountain, Jr.; John Fontes, Basha, Sr.; Jamie Lake, Dobson, Sr.
Class 4A-1A All-Tribune first team
Wrestler School Yr. Wt. Comment
Andrew Patino Coronado Fr. 103 State finalist with 40-6 mark
Jacob Villa Tempe Sr. 112 4A-II state runner-up
Casey Grant Paradise Valley So. 119 Finished fifth in 4A-I
Mike Mailloux Saguaro Sr. 125 Took state title with a pin
Heath Boers Williams Field So. 130 Fourth in state with 45-5 record
Tim Worth Apache Junction Sr. 135 Pinned 3 foes on way to state final
Vinnie Bradley McClintock Sr. 140 Entered state tourney 39-0
Tod Workman Queen Creek Sr. 145 Went 40-1, won the 4A-II title
Cris Ries Higley Jr. 152 Battled back to win consolation title
Jake Bennett Apache Junction Sr. 160 Unbeaten until a loss in state final
Adam Carey Saguaro Sr. 171 Won state title with a pin
Craig Lazenby Paradise Valley Jr. 189 4A-I state finalist
Derrick Gonzales Coolidge Sr. 215 52-3 on way to winning 3A title
Tim Harlen Apache Junction Sr. Hwt. Caps career with 4A-I state title
Class 4A-1A All-Tribune second team
Wrestler School Yr. Wt. Comment
James Arthur McClintock Jr. 103 Third place at state in 4A-I
Yobel Muchang Saguaro Jr. 112 Consolation champ in 4A-I
Sherod Hardt Queen Creek So. 119 Rolled up 41 victories
Aaron Garcia Coolidge Sr. 125 Won 3A title with 44-0 record
Kevion Caldwell Queen Creek Sr. 130 Placed sixth at 4A-II
Danny Parada Coronado Sr. 135 20-2 record and made state final
Jontae McCowan Coronado Sr. 140 Won 40 matches, finished 4th at state
Miche’l Espinoza McClintock Sr. 145 Fifth at state with 23-6 record
Tyler Roberts McClintock Sr. 152 Finished the year with a 15-5 record
Evan Hillis Tempe Jr. 160 Took third in 4A-II
Jake Goddard Queen Creek Jr. 171 Lost state final 2-1 in overtime
Anthony Carillo Fountain Hills Sr. 189 Finished season with 45-16 record
Austin Cormier Queen Creek Jr. 215 Finished third in 4A-II
Ian Spencer Queen Creek Sr. Hwt. Finished sixth at state in 4A-II
4A-1A Wrestler of the Year: Tod Workman, Queen Creek
Coach of the Year: Tod Workman, Queen Creek. His program is flourishing, having taken third at the 4A-II state tournament.
Class 4A-1A Honorable Mention:
103: Caleb Cobb, Williams Field, Fr.; Cody Danner, Fountain Hills, So. 112: Daniel Benitez, McClintock, Sr.; DeAngelo Johnson, Canyon State, So. 119: Ty Mundt, Maricopa, Sr. 125: Trevor Bradley, McClintock, Jr.; Milo Besich, Tempe, Jr. 130: Charlie Arrott, Tempe, Jr. 135: Matt Grier, Cactus Shadows, Jr.; Parker Skidmore, Williams Field, So.; Eric Dunton, Florence, Sr. 140: Kolton Lock, Queen Creek, Fr. 145: Matt Schellenberg, Chaparral, Sr. 152: Xavier Hefty, Maricopa, Sr. 160: Carl Matthes, Cactus Shadows, Sr. 171: Richard Breese, Coronado, Jr. 189: Travis Nino, Queen Creek, Sr. 215: Tommy McLaughlin, Cactus Shadows, Sr. HWT: Ivan Baliff, Higley, Sr.