Tempe Corona del Sol defeated Mesa 41-25 to take third place in the 24th annual Warrior Classic at Mesa Westwood High School Saturday.
It marked the second time this season Corona has defeated the Jackrabbits under new coach Jim Martinez and the third straight going back to coach Dave Vibber’s final match as coach of the Aztecs in the 5A-I state team finals.
“We wrestled really well and had some really great performances,” Martinez said. “It’s a steppingstone.
“What it means is we go back to the wrestling room and we work on some of the things that we had less success in the tournament. We’ll be a work in progress the whole year.”
The Aztecs had six wrestlers go 8-0 in the tournament: Ryan Miller (152 pounds), Blake Ortiz (160), Derek Felton (171), Sam Fulton (189), Simon Allen (215) and Mike Howard (285). All six wrestlers were selected to the all-tournament team.
“That really shows the strength of the upper end of our lineup,” Martinez said.
Two weeks into the season, the team likes how they’re coming together under Martinez.
“(The transition) has been pretty natural,” Felton said. “He has the best credentials in the state, and we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Corona just missed out on a shot at first place after it fell to eventual champion Glendale Ironwood Ridge 33-31 in the seventh round.
“We were disappointed to come in third, but we wrestled a really good Ironwood Ridge team that had a real strong team,” Martinez said. “We gave them all they could handle, and I’m really pleased with were we are but we know where we have to get to by the end of the year.”
Ironwood Ridge defeated Yuma Cibola 39-27 in the championship match. Mesa took fourth place and Safford defeated Westwood 45-21 to take fifth place.
Other wrestlers from area schools selected to the all-tournament team included Mesa’s Craig Alger, Skyline’s Jon Rollins and Casa Grande’s David Ide.