Tempe Corona del Sol has given itself more motivation for next month’s bus trip to Yuma.
The Aztecs lost to Yuma Cibola 36-30 in the championship match of the 23rd annual Mesa Westwood Warrior Wrestling Classic Saturday at Westwood High.
“It’s disappointing. We’ve never won this tournament,” said Corona heavyweight Mike Howard, one of four Aztecs to make the all-tournament team. “We were looking forward to winning it, but in the end we came up short. We’re looking forward to the rematch after Christmas break.”
Corona travels to Yuma for a Jan. 14 match.
On Saturday, it was the Raiders’ time to shine. The Class 5A-II state runner-up won the first four matches to take a 15-0 lead. The final deficit was as close as Corona could get the entire match.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” Corona coach Dave Vibber said of his team. “I think the entire tournament they were up for it. Cibola’s a good team and we always seem to have good matches with them over the last couple of years.”
Cibola won nine of the 14 matches. All five Corona wins were by fall or forfeit. Cibola won three times by fall, but picked up six victories by decision, three coming by 2 points each.
At 112 pounds, Cibola’s Adam Ludwin got a reversal with one minute remaining in the third period for a 2-0 win over Ryan Cox. Angel Martinez won the same way over Corona’s Kevin Etchells in the 125-pound match. Martinez got a reversal with 50 seconds to get a 4-2 win.
At 189, Cibola’s Anthony Daniels won a back-and-forth match over Sean Larsen 8-6.
Both teams boasted a defending state champion. Corona’s Luke Macchiaroli, another all-tournament selection, won his 215-pound match by forfeit. Cibola’s Gabrial Miranda, unbeaten champ at 130 last year, won his 140-class contest by fall in 1:03 over David Hoover.
Corona’s Howard, weighing 209 pounds but vying in the 285-class, pinned Cibola’s Roy Torres in 2:43.
Howard and Macchiaroli were joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Ryan Miller (145) and Derek Fulton (160). Mesa High’s Riley Owens (189) was the only other East Valley wrestler named to the team.