PRESCOTT VALLEY – It was hard to take it all in at times.
Every one of the eight wrestling mats at Tim's Toyota Center for the Division I and Division II state semifinals on Thursday seemed to have drama or eye-popping domination.
There were great matches, emotional breakdowns and athletes realizing they are just six minutes from being able use #statechampion on Twitter for the rest of their lives.
As always, the East Valley was right in the middle of it.
Chandler leads the Division I team standings with 105 points with Tucson Sunnyside next at 99.5 and Mountain View is third with 81.
The separation between the defending-champion Wolves and the Toros is pretty simple. Each had five in the semifinals and they met head-to-head three times.
The Wolves came away with two wins as Dalton Brady (138 pounds) stayed on course to become the state’s 28th four-time champion with his third pin of the tournament against Mountain View’s Ryan Gallo.
Chandler’s Joe Miranda (182) made the finals with a 6-2 win over Mountain View’s Kazimierz Segal.
The Toros lone winner against Chandler was three-time finalist Seth Monty at 145 when he squeaked by Chandler’s Dalton Moran in one of the more anticipated semifinals.
It was tied 1-1 after regulation before Monty got a takedown in the first overtime for the win.
Not bad for a guy who had knee surgery a month ago. Regardless, Monty knows he is in a great position considering his season could have been over if the rehab didn’t go well.
“I worked hard and dug deep to get to this point,” said Monty, an Arizona State-recruit. “He is always battles me hard. He is strong and it’s hard to score, but I was able to get what I needed for the win.”
Corona had five semifinalist as Ethan Tursini (160) and Glenn Farina (132) made the finals. Tursini was fifth and Farina sixth last season. It’s a big jump to the top of the podium but nothing a little hard work couldn’t fix.
“It’s a mental game,” said Farina, who racked up three more technical falls to get close to 20 on the season. “I don’t come just looking to make the finals. I am here to win it all. That’s the difference.”
In Division II, the area racked up a pretty good winning percentage as seven of the eight area semifinalist advanced to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. finals.
Queen Creek had three in Travis Widmer (106), Anthony Wokasch (126) and Hayden Moore (170). Marcos de Niza had two with defending champion Jesse Morales (132) and Derek Crane (220).
Notre Dame’s Emanuel Pjietrusni (152) and Apache Junction’s Branden Edwards (120) made it as well.
Edwards is a three-time state qualifier and a first time place with a chance to win the big one.
“I step on the mat knowing that I have outworked them and I am more prepared,” he said.