East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

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  • Small school wrestling: AJ duo, 10 others make state semifinals

    PRESCOTT VALLEY – One has been a room leader and the other had to be convinced to return to the wrestling room.And yet both Assis-El-Sad Abdul-Aziz (195) and Michael Uehling (HVY) of Apache Junction can call themselves semifinalists.It’s just more proof that every individual has their own journey to success as a total of 12 area wrestlers made it to the Division III and IV state semifinals after Friday’s action at Prescott Valley Event Center.“Michael has been around the game a long time and he understands positioning and what it takes to win,” Apache Junction coach David Smith said. “(Adul-Aziz) wrestled as a freshman, didn’t as a sophomore and was talked into coming back last year half-heartedly but saw his potential.“Both are very happy to be where they are at right now.”Williams Field placed five in the DIII semifinals, while Tempe has three still competing for an individual championship.

  • Div. I and Div. II state semifinals

  • Div. I state wrestling: DV's Porter, Mtn View's Wokasch dominate

    PRESCOTT VALLEY – Natural progression comes over time for wrestlers.The more work an individual puts in the better he usually becomes.Each year strides are made, but for some there seems to be bigger leaps than others and Desert Vista junior Chad Porter might be the most improved wrestler in the state.He was good in years past – he was fifth at state last year after making the semifinals – but now he is seemingly untouchable as he improved to 40-2 on the year with three pins, including 22 seconds in the Thursday’s state semifinals Christian Medeiros of Desert Ridge.“He put in the work in the summer and that’s where everyone makes a difference,” Thunder coach David Gonzales said. “We also talked about how Prescott hasn’t been a great place for him and he needed to make it his.”So far so good as he prepares to face Marana senior David Tilley in the finals after pinning three opponents in a total of 2 minutes and 51 seconds.

  • Div. II state wrestling: Seton has team lead, 10 area wrestlers make finals

    PRESCOTT VALLEY – Seton Catholic has been laying the foundation for a team state wrestling championship for the last few years.It is just about set.The Sentinels had a very good first day of wrestling Thursday at the Division II state wrestling tournament at the Prescott Valley Event Center.The decision to hire Erik Larkin, one of Arizona’s most accomplished wrestlers, a few years back was intended to bring a championship mentality to the program that was near extinction at one time because of a lack of numbers.Now the numbers Seton Catholic is putting up are just fine as in seven wrestlers advanced to the semifinals on the first day of competition with five of them winning to find their to title match.It gave the Sentinels a 132 to 114.5 lead over Liberty heading into Friday’s final day of action.

  • Arizona state wrestling

  • Boys basketball: Corona makes last statement before postseason

    The Corona Del Sol boys basketball team showed Gilbert on Wednesday exactly why it is still the top team in the state.No. 1 Corona Del Sol was down by seven points in its last game of the season, but an 18-9 run in the third quarter lifted the team over No. 3 Gilbert, 53-46.The Aztecs trailed the Tigers originally, who scored 28 first half points and came out aggressively in the early minutes of the game, with Chris Bowling and Jacob Nichols leading the way for Gilbert.Much of the first-half did not go Corona’s way, as turnovers and lackluster defense failed to stop the hard-hitting Gilbert offense.But Corona small forward Shane Grier did not let the five-point deficit midway get him down.“Coach just really told us in the locker room that we needed to focus on what we knew going into the game,” Grier said. “We needed to really focus on swinging the ball more, driving and knocking down our open shots and so that’s what I did.”

  • Boys basketball: Corona makes last statement before postseason

    The Corona Del Sol boys basketball team showed Gilbert on Wednesday exactly why it is still the top team in the state.No. 1 Corona Del Sol was down by seven points in its last game of the season, but an 18-9 run in the third quarter lifted the team over No. 3 Gilbert, 53-46.The Aztecs trailed the Tigers originally, who scored 28 first half points and came out aggressively in the early minutes of the game, with Chris Bowling and Jacob Nichols leading the way for Gilbert.Much of the first-half did not go Corona’s way, as turnovers and lackluster defense failed to stop the hard-hitting Gilbert offense.But Corona small forward Shane Grier did not let the five-point deficit midway get him down.“Coach just really told us in the locker room that we needed to focus on what we knew going into the game,” Grier said. “We needed to really focus on swinging the ball more, driving and knocking down our open shots and so that’s what I did.”

  • Boys state soccer: Gilbert puts an end to Desert Vista's surprising run

    It’s been a long time but Gilbert is back in the finals.The No. 4 Tigers topped No. 16 Desert Vista 1-0 Wednesday night to advance to their first state final appearance since 2007 when Gilbert lost to Highland 1-0.“We’ve been there a couple times,” Gilbert coach Jeff Perry said.Gilbert took its lead when senior forward Afonso Slater headed in a goal with 16:07 left in the first half.“We work at in in practice often,” he said. “Just attack the ball when it’s in the box. “It was a long throw in."I just did what coach told me – attack the ball.”

  • Boys state soccer: Hamilton makes early goal stand up against Hawks

    The suddenness of postseason extinction is usually thought of in the terms of a last minute or second goal that ends up being the death nail.It isn’t always the case as Wednesday’s Division I boys soccer semifinal served notice.Hamilton topped Highland 1-0 at Campo Verde on the strength of a goal in the fourth minute of the game before really either team was settled into the flow of the game.“It hit us hard, and we had to try to match them the rest of the way,” Highland senior Hunter Figueroa said. “We stayed in our formation, and our game plan but we knew we had to get one just to send it into overtime.”There were was plenty of time, of course, but when two fundamentally strong and largely even squads are matched up, and one gets an early goal, the lead often becomes insurmountable.“I would like to start every game, and every game that way,” Hamilton coach Nicholas Markette said. “We have this idea of the Big Five. The first five minutes of every half, the last five minutes after every half are those pivotal moments.”

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