A holiday break is coming for students across the Valley, but for area wrestlers, any welcome rest will have to wait until after the 27th annual McClintock wrestling tournament which starts today at Tempe McClintock High School.
This will be especially true for Tempe Marcos de Niza, which goes into the 23-team tournament nursing a few injuries and putting a few freshmen into the spotlight.
Marcos de Niza finished second behind Gilbert Highland last year, winning three individual events. Highland will be one of the favorites again in this year’s tournament.
“We just have not had a full line-up this season,” said Padres Coach Jim Weed. “Either they are sick or they have been hurt, so, when you look at our power rankings, we may not look so good, but we feel we can still be in the top two or three.”
The Padres have a young team, so this event will be a chance to see if youth will be served later this season.
Freshmen who have had an impact and will make an appearance include Mikey Baca at the 135-pound weight class, Aaron Palinko at 171 pounds, and Rickey Reese at 160 pounds, Weed said.
Other teams expected to do battle include Gilbert, McClintock, Chandler Hamilton, Chandler Basha, and Gilbert Higley.
Preliminary matches begin at 2:00 Friday, with as many as five matches going on at the same time during the day.
Semifinal rounds will take place Saturday morning, with the finals starting at 5:30 Saturday evening, said McClintock athletic director Art Wagner.
“This event draws a pretty good crowd, and we expect the same will happen this year,” Wagner said.
McClintock Invitational: Where: McClintock High School, 1830 E. Del Rio, Tempe; When: Today — 2 p.m. through evening; Saturday 8:30 a.m. through finals beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Alhambra, Apache Junction, Basha, Brophy, Carl Hayden, Casa Grande, Cesar Chavez, Chandler, Desert Mountain, Desert Ridge, Gilbert, Hamilton, Highland, Higley, Ironwood Ridge, Marcos de Niza, Maryvale, McClintock, Mesquite, Mountain Pointe, Paradise Valley, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tempe.
Defending champion: Highland