There are 33 high school wrestlers who may not believe it, but Dalton Brady can be beaten.
He just had to go halfway around the world to find out.
After wrapping up a 41-0 sophomore season at Chandler High, Brady earned a spot on the USA Junior World team. The team travelled to Bulgaria to take part in the 14th International Wrestling Tournament hosted by the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation from March 3-14.
“It was the first U.S. team to go to that tournament and the camp that they had,” said Brady. “I didn’t know how it was going to go or what was going to happen.”
What happened is Brady got nine days of international coaching, but he also lost, twice, to two older, bigger wrestlers from Bulgaria and Iran.
“They were between 17 and 19 (years old), if they were truthful about their age,” Brady said. “And they were about 5 kilograms bigger than me.
“But the experience was priceless. Right now, I feel great and if I went back, I think I would win those matches. I’m wrestling 10 times better now than before I went over there.”
That’s hard to imagine if you are one of the 33 wrestlers to face Brady this past season. He had just two matches that would be classified as close calls and cruised to his second state championship. For his efforts, Brady is the East Valley Tribune’s Wrestler of the Year.
“You have to be willing to learn,” said Brady of his experience with the U.S. Junior team. “Even if you feel like you are on the top, you’re not. I try to be the one that’s working harder.
“Someone has your picture on the wall and they are looking for you, hunting you. You always need to be humble, and be ready.”
During the high school wrestling season, Brady did not come across his equal in the 112-pound weight class. Along the way, he beat two wrestlers who went on to win state championships, one from Arizona (Safford’s Trey Andrews) and one from Washington.
The win over Andrews came in the finals of the Flowing Wells Invitational. As a freshman, Brady lost the only match of his high school career to Andrews in the same tournament and had been focused on reversing the result this year.
“Going into the match I was really confident because I worked really hard for the entire year,” Brady said. “I knew I was going to have him again. I wanted redemption.”
Brady got redemption in the form of a 6-5 decision over Andrews, a junior who went 50-1 on the year and has won state titles all three years he’s been at Safford.
“That was probably one of the biggest wins I’ve had,” Brady said.
After beating Andrews, Brady cruised through the majority of his matches, with one exception, his Division I, Section III finals match against Desert Ridge’s Nate Covarrubias.
“He was really prepared, and I wasn’t,” said Brady. “We went out with a good game plan to slow me down, stop my movement, hold my wrists.”
The result was a hard-fought 3-2 win for Brady that opened his eyes a bit for the state tournament.
“That sectionals match scared me and I had to touch up on some basics before state,” Brady said.
In the state championship match, Brady met Covarrubias for the second straight year and pulled out a 9-3 victory.
For Brady, the focus now turns to the national stage. He plans on going to the Fila Junior Nationals April 7-11 in Cleveland and, later, the ASICS/Vaughan Junior National Championships, July 15-23 in Fargo, N.D.
Strong showings in those tournaments will give Brady another chance at going overseas and getting some redemption on an international level.
All-Tribune wrestling first team
Wt. Name School Yr. Record Comment
103 Alex Herrera Dobson Sr. 40-5 Was steady all season, earned 4th at Division I meet
112 Dalton Brady Chandler So. 41-0 Dominated all season long, is nationally-ranked
119 Vidal Mejia Chandler Sr. 32-9 Is Harvard-bound after being back-to-back runner-up at state
125 Robbie Mathers Desert Vista Jr. 39-3 Bumped up from 112, but still won 2nd straight state title
130 Curt Done Highland So. 34-2 Followed brother Chad’s lead by winning title as sophomore
135 Kendall Love Desert Vista Jr. 27-6 Transfer from Indiana adjusted well, winning state title
140 Seth Monty Mountain View So. 42-3 After finishing fourth as a freshman, broke through for title
145 Kolton Lock Queen Creek Sr. 46-3 Capped career with back-to-back state championships
152 Edgar Verdi Mesa Sr. 40-4 Followed up state title as Jr. with runner-up finish as Sr.
160 Dorian Coleman Mesa Jr. 39-3 Won epic battle in title match to claim gold
171 Tyler Cattey Gilbert Sr. 24-6 Peaked at right time to reach state-title match
189 Colten Oliver Highland Sr. 40-5 Lost in title match for second-straight year
215 Alex Bambic Desert Vista So. 37-3 Beat undefeated, returning champ in title match
Hwt. Corbin Cooke Mesquite Sr. 43-3 Bounced back from disappointing Jr. season to win title
Wrestler of the Year: Dalton Brady, Chandler.
Coach of the Year: Steve Tannenbaum, Dobson. Senior-ladened Mustangs handed Tucson Sunnyside a rare defeat in the sectionals and were a factor in every meet they were in during the regular season.
All-Tribune wrestling second team
Wt. Name School Yr. Record Comment
103 Nathan Bosley Perry Jr. 32-9 Came on strong late in season, was third in Div. II
112 Nathan Covarrubias Desert Ridge Sr. 43-3 Lost to Brady in state finals for second-straight year
119 Dawayne Robertson Westwood Jr. 48-4 Tied for second-most wins in Div. I
125 Brigg Solomon Queen Creek Sr. 37-5 Placed 2nd, 3rd and 3rd at state in last three seasons
130 Jesus Morales Marcos de Niza So. 37-3 Was lone state champion in Div. II for Padres
135 Juan Munoz Skyline Sr. 43-7 Closed out prep career with a win in 3rd-place match
140 Bryce Dillard Perry Sr. 32-4 Was fourth as a Jr.; moved up to 3rd in final year
145 Marshall Varner Brophy So. 21-3 15th seed at state meet, rolled all the way to runner-up finish
152 Airam Moreno Queen Creek Sr. 45-6 Third-place in Div. II after runner-up finish as a Jr.
160 Bobby Davis Red Mountain Sr. 39-6 Made state title match, falling to Mesa’s Coleman
171 Christian Allen Highland Jr. 42-4 Beat eventual state champ at sectionals; was 3rd at state
189 Jacob Vega Chandler Sr. 34-12 Up and down season ended on a high note with 3rd-place finish
215 Simon Allen Corona del Sol Sr. 45-1 Lone loss came in Div. I state title match
Hwt. Kyle Alexander Mountain View Sr. 36-8 Fourth in Div. I; 26 of 36 wins were by fall
Memorable moments from the 2010-2011 season
• The Warrior Classic at Westwood was one of the more exciting early-season meets, with outstanding teams like Mesa, Red Mountain, Corona del Sol, Skyline, Ironwood Ridge and Safford competing. Skyline knocked off Safford in the first round of the tournament, Mesa won a controversial one-point match against Corona del Sol for third and Red Mountain gave Division II champion Ironwood Ridge all it could handle before falling in the championship match 35-31.
• Desert Vista and Dobson both ventured out of the state for big tournaments and came home big winners. The Thunder went to the 63-team North Torrance Meet and came away champions, with three individual titles in tow: Ace Martinez (160), Sam Schoepf (171) and Alex Bambic (215). Martinez was named the upper weight outstanding wrestler after registering five pins. Dobson went to the 21-team Bonanza High Duals in Las Vegas and came away with the team title.
• The East Valley was well represented atop the medal stand at the Flowing Wells Invitational again this year. Chandler’s Dalton Brady won at 112 pounds, Desert Vista’s Robbie Mathers at 125, Marcos de Niza’s Jesse Morales at 130, Mountain View’s Seth Monty at 140 and Corona del Sol’s Simon Allen at 215. Of the 14 champions from the Flowing Wells Invite, 11 went on to win their respective state championships.
• The state went with a new sectional format this season and it produced a strange result. In the Division I, Section 3 meet at Mesquite High School, Dobson did something very few Arizona teams have been able to do in the last 14 years: It beat Tucson Sunnyside. The Mustangs were the sectional champion, but one week later Sunnyside won its 14th straight state title and Dobson finished far behind in 13th place. Highland was the Division I runner-up and Desert Vista was third. In Division II, Marcos de Niza finished second behind Ironwood Ridge.