TUCSON - When Chandler Basha’s Ryan Jimenez entered the circle for his 152-pound individual championship bout in the Flowing Wells Invitational on Saturday night, there was an all too-familiar face staring straight at him.
It was Tucson Sunnyside’s Issa Mohammed, an opponent Jimenez, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, edged by a single point during the Peoria Invitational on Jan. 12 — exactly a week before the rematch.
“I worked out a whole new game plan, figuring I’d be running into him in the championship,” said Jimenez.
“I worked on my single-leg (move) because I knew I could hurt him with that. And I did.”
Jimenez routed Mohammed 8-3 in the latest showdown, as Basha finished eighth as a team.
Phoenix Desert Vista took fifth overall, and Tempe Marcos de Niza was seventh, rounding out the Valley squads finishing in the top 10.
Scottsdale Desert Mountain’s Shane McGough, wrestling at 112 pounds, was the only other individual titlist from the East Valley, pinning Basha’s Ty Wheeler in just 1 minute, 21 seconds.
“I definitely didn’t feel like the favorite coming into this tournament, but I think the new weight class really gave me an edge,” said McGough, who was competing at 119 pounds before the tournament.
“I felt stronger than most of the guys I was up against.”
It didn’t take long for Sunnyside standout freshman Kory DeBerry to live up to his last name.
The son of the powerhouse Blue Devils’ coach Bobby DeBerry, and younger brother of four-time state champion and current Arizona State wrestler Kyle DeBerry, Kory did away with defending 4A-II state champion Josh Chang of Cottonwood Mingus to claim the 135-pound individual title.
Kory DeBerry was one of four Blue Devils wrestlers to lock up a tournament championship as Sunnyside took the team title for the fourth straight year, coming in better than 100 points ahead of second-place Mingus.
Sunnyside’s 119-pound Paul Garza knew the bull’s-eye was squarely on his chest for this year’s tournament.
Garza, who took first in the event in 2007 and also clinched the 5A-II state championship, brought down Desert Mountain’s James Rana in a relatively comfortable 14-4 victory.
“Of course it gets tougher when people know who you are, and they’re gunning for you,” said Garza.
“But I didn’t change anything that I did. I tried to stick with what always works.”