Despite a second place finish at sectionals last week, Camp Verde High wrestling has its sights on another team state championship.
Last weekend at Division IV Section I tournament at Buckeye Youngker, the Cowboys lost to Arizona Lutheran by 10 points but six Camp Verde wrestlers finished first.
The Cowboys head to the state tournament on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Prescott Valley Event Center. The second session is Saturday at 10 a.m. and the medal rounds are Saturday at 4 p.m., all at the PVEC.
“Arizona Lutheran had more guys that could place and qualify and they did just that, they beat us by 10 points but in the end we ended up with deeper quality which makes State a whole different ball game, a whole different tournament,” said Camp Verde head coach Tracy Tudor.
Camp Verde won team state championships in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015. They took third place last year.
At sectionals this year, Keene Todacheene took second in the 106, Skyler Pike won the 113, Korben Uhler won 126, Anthony Tinghitella won the 132 weight class, Daniel White finished first in 138, Conrad Brady took home the 170 title and Tristian Stanfield the 220 crown.
“Arizona Lutheran and us we both qualified 10 each but we ended up with six number ones and they ended up with four number ones,” Tudor said. “Hence when it came to seeding, we got more number ones and number twos than the whole state so it ended up really nice for us and I think we got the best seeding in the state.”
Tudor expects defending state champions Morenci, 2017 state runner-up St. John’s and Arizona Lutheran to be the other contenders again at state.
“It still boils down to us, Morenci, St. John’s and Arizona Lutheran,” Tudor said. “Personally I think Arizona Lutheran can still end up with more placers in the end but I think our quality is going to come out on top in the end. If we do everything that we’re supposed to do, then we’re in that running. We’re in the running to do it.”
Tudor said the whole team did well at Sectionals.
Benjamin Perez (38-9) took third in 120 and Tudor thinks he can place at State.
Todacheene (41-4) lost the title match by fall to Austin Doom of Wickenburg but Tudor thinks he can get pay back at State.
“Keane Todacheene although he didn’t win his championship, he had a heck of a good fight,” Tudor said. “Austin Doom is a heck of a wrestler and he came down from 113 to compete at 106, so he was good at 113 and then he lost the weight to make 106 and made it tough but Keene had a heck of a match and I think he can beat him at State.”
Pike (32-3) won the section title at 113 with pins and won a state championship last year.
Korben Uhler (44-0) and wrestling at 126 is expected to repeat as state champion.
Tinghitella (25-2) is the No. 2 seed at 132 but Tudor thinks he is under seeded.
“I think the whole state knows he’s really a number one,” Tudor said.
White (37-8) is the second seed at 138 but Tudor thinks he can win it all.
At 145 freshman Jared Gorda has a tough opening match but took fourth at Sectionals. Dillan Tressler (28-18) also took fourth at Sectionals.
Brady (41-4) is the No. 2 seed but lost to the No. 1 by a point earlier this year.
In the 220-pound class, Stanfield (35-5) is the defending state champion.
“I think we can do it,” Tudor said. “My kids have peaked out and everybody is pretty much injury free, we’re not sick, everybody is making weight, everybody is pretty happy I haven’t seen it this great in a long time.”