PRESCOTT VALLEY – Cyler Rustad still hears the voice; it’s just a little farther away.
The Williams Field junior is wrestling, and well, this season without his father matside after both left Mountain View.
Shawn Rustad left the Toros program after years of success as head and assistant coach to become athletic director at Hamilton. Cyler found his way to the Williams Field practice room because he mom teaches there and he went to Cooley Middle School, which feeds into Williams Field.
It was clear during Friday’s action at the state wrestling tournament for Division II at the Prescott Valley Event Center that Dad could still be heard.
“He’s staying out of it,” Cyler said. “He’s always been there for me, and he still is. It’s different. I couldn’t tell you if I like it more or not. He’s right there yelling from the stands, so he’s in my corner still.”
Rustad, who is 52-4 on the season, looked good in the first two rounds, eking out a 6-4 overtime win the 132-pound quarterfinals against Kellis’ Anthony Cruz, to secure his first placement at the state tournament.
He will face Marana Mountain View’s Marcus Castillo (36-2) in the semifinals in clash of sectional champs.
“It’s good (to be there), but you always go for more,” he said. “I have to rest up and be ready to go.”
The semifinals are scheduled for about 11:30 a.m. Saturday, with the finals at 4 p.m.
The Black Hawks look to have a good number of placers after finishing the day in third place with 59 points. Vyshawn Mollena (152), Shavez Hawkins (170), Zane McKinney (182) and Briggs Conway (195) joined Rustad with two wins each to make the semifinals.
Queen Creek had an even better first day than the Bulldogs, who have 69.5 points, sit in a distant second place behind Mountain View (92.5 points) as Xavier Rico (113), Denen Fernandez (138), Nikolas Manuel (152), Truen Bowman (160), Jonathan Matuzak (195) and Anthony Saba (182) all made the semifinals.
Other local semifinalists are McClintock’s Gator (145) and Marco Groves (160), Higley’s Jonathan Neher (145) and Campo Verde’s Billy Fiore (160) and E.J. Galvez (182).
– Contact writer Jason Skoda at 480-898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.