Every wrestling team has an extra opponent this season — methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The so-called “Super Bug” is a concern in every high school sport.
But in wrestling, which involves a lot of sweaty, skin-to-skin contact, it’s a particular worry.
Coaches are washing the mats before and after practice.
“I’d like to turn it over to a manager,’’ Mesa Mountain View coach Bob Callison said. “But I do it myself. I need to make sure it’s done properly.”
Wrestlers’ practice gear is washed after each session. “We’re spraying disinfectant on the head gear now,’’ Mesa Red Mountain coach David DiDomenico said.
MRSA infections have mostly occurred among hospital patients. The infections are usually little more than a rash. But in certain patients, MRSA can eat flesh and even cause death.
DiDomenico said the whole thing reminds him of “The Stand,” a Stephen King novel about a deadly virus that hits much of the human population.
“It’s a great book and a great movie,” he said.
As long as it stays fictional.
TEAMS TO WATCH
1. Mesa: Everyone considers two-time defending state champ the team to beat.
2. Red Mountain: Top Mesa assistant Dave DiDomenico moves across town as Mtn. Lions coach.
3. Westwood: Most returning state placers since the 1960s.
4. Corona del Sol: Two state champions return.
5. Dobson: Returns one state champ and one state finalist.
Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Higley, McClintock, Coolidge, Fountain Hills (Note: Only 5A coaches returned preseason prospectus information to the Tribune)
WRESTLERS TO WATCH
Cody Lewis, Dobson, Sr.; Daniel Covert, Highland, Jr.; Kyle Swayzee, Horizon, Sr; Shane McGough, Desert Mtn., So.; Luke Macchiaroli, Corona, Jr.; Kadeem Holmon, Sr., Dobson; Danny Cook, Mountain View, Sr.; Ryan Miller, Corona, So.; Andrew Ashford, Coolidge, Sr.; Yobel Muchang, Saguaro, Jr; Vinny Bradley, McClintock, Sr.; Dan Parada, Coronado, Sr.; Tod Workman, Queen Creek, Sr.; Adam Carey, Saguaro, Sr.; Jake Goddard, Queen Creek, Jr.; Derrick Gonzales, Coolidge, Sr.
OTHER WRESTLERS TO WATCH
1. Max Mejia, Westwood, Fr., 103: Has won multiple USA Wrestling state titles
2. Aaron Garcia, Coolidge, Sr., 119: Defending state champ was 68-0 last year.
3. Chris Galvan, Red Mountain, Sr., 145: 40-4, 5A-I state champion last season
4. Chris Long, Dobson, Sr., 215: Defending state champion at 215
5. Trevor Stapp, Corona, Sr., heavyweight: Went 41-1 and won 5A-I state title last season
Nov. 20: Corona, Phoenix Trevor Browne at Westwood
Dec. 7-8: Warrior Classic, Westwood
Dec. 12: Westwood at Mesa
Dec. 21-22: McClintock Invitational Wrestling Tournament
Jan. 11-12: Peoria Wrestling Invitational Tournament of Champions
Jan. 11-12: Apache Junction Invitational Wrestling Tournament
Jan. 24: Mesa, Mesa Mountain View and Mesa Red Mountain meet for a double duel at Red Mountain
DID YOU KNOW?
• Jared Montanaro, 130-pound wrestler at Mesa Westwood, is in the International Baccalaureate program.
• Max Mejia of Chandler is only a freshman but has already studied abroad. He was a foreign exchange student for eight months in Nuremberg, Germany. While there, he won three wrestling tournaments.
• Mesa doesn’t rebuild. The Jackrabbits reload. Mesa’s junior varsity was unbeaten last season.