Special for westvalleypreps.com
PRESCOTT VALLEY – The air up here in the Verde Valley is thinner, but the wrestling in the Division I and Division II state tournament is anything but for the light-hearted.
The new set of rules (only four divisions instead of six classifications) and the seeding process (only the top six get seeded with everyone else a blind draw) has made for plenty of upsets and where-did-he-come-from results.
The area wrestlers took the brunt of it at Tim’s Toyota Center.
It started early with Willow Canyon's section champ Jake Ashfield (145) losing 7-2 to Phoenix Brophy’s Marshall Varner in the first-round and continued on from there.
There were wrestlers who advanced to Friday’s 7 p.m. finals, but overall some top wrestlers came up short.
Dysart’s Camrin Adkins made it to the 189-pound semifinals, but couldn’t get past Prescott’s Luke Berve as the latter prevailed 6-4.
Adkins (21-2) has to clear his head of the disappointment and be ready for Friday’s consolation semifinals to make sure he has a shot at third place.
“It’s tough now, but you take it with a grain of salt and learn from it,” Adkins said. “I have to clear my head and make sure I finish strong.”
Other semifinal losses endured by Northwest Valley kids were Sunrise Mountain’s top-seeded Kevin Hunt (112, DII), who was pinned by Vail Cienega’s Cristian Sanchez; Mountain Ridge’s Austen Ross (130, DI), who lost 2-0 to Tucson Sunnyside’s Raul Moraga; Deer Valley fourth seed Carlos Toro (135, DII), who was defeated 4-2 by Tucson Sahuaro’s Spencer Blondeaux; Peoria’s Travis Bee (171, DII) and Jaimen Bennalley (215, DII) also dropped semifinal matches.
The area didn’t come up empty by any means as Sunrise Mountain’s Cord Coronado (119, DII) beat Sunnyslope’s Noel Jimenez 8-3 to make the finals against Ironwood Ridge’s Connor Buette.
Dysart’s Alex Selvy (152, DII) kept it rolling as the top seed with a pin in 1 minute and 29 seconds of Barry Goldwater’s Aurelio Ortega puts him in the championship match against Ironwood Ridge’s Walker Slaughter.
Ironwood’s heavyweight Garrett Foster escaped with 12 seconds left to beat Prescott’s Cameron Mengarelli. He faces Shadow Mountain’s Luke Braun for the title.
“I just knew I had to move,” said Foster, who was in the bottom position after a re-start with 22 seconds left. “I knew I had to get separation and I wasn’t going to let all of the dedication and hard work go to waste.
“This is an incredible feeling. Now I have to finish it off.”
Division II finals begin at 7 p.m. Friday.