Mingus Union wrestling is sending only three to State but they are sending a couple of championship contenders.
Last weekend at Division III Section IV tournament at Payson, the Marauders finished seventh, up one place from last year.
That’s Mingus Union’s best finish since 2012 when they took third. They won the region or section title 2006 to 2011 and also in 2003, 2001, 1998 and 1994 to 1996.
Seniors Lucas Svoboda (145) and Nick Doerksen (152) cruised to section championships.
“I thought our guys competed really well, especially our two seniors,” said Mingus head coach Klint McKean. “Nick and Lucas both pinned their way through the tournaments.
The Marauders 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.
“They are both in great spots for the state tournament,” McKean said. “Lucas is seeded first and Nick is seeded second and we expect to have two state finalists on Saturday.”
The Marauder state champion was in 2012. Last year Svoboda finished second.
At Sectionals, Svoboda improved on his showing earlier in the season.
“Lucas only beat his opponent by a point the first time he wrestled him and this time he pinned him in the second period,” McKean said.
The other Marauder to qualify for state was sophomore and second year wrestler Ryan Griffin at 220 pounds. He beat Luke Whittle of Snowflake 7-0 to take third.
“At 220, at one of the largest weight classes, he’s has a great year and I think he’s gonna do really well at State,” McKean said.
McKean said their division is stacked but Svoboda and Doerksen can “definitely” win championships.
“It’s very tough,” McKean said. “There’s 10 extremely good, talented teams and then there’s a bunch of other teams, 20 teams, have talented wrestlers as well so it’s one of the smaller divisions but it’s also one of the strongest divisions.”
McKean said their result at Sectionals fell short of their goals but they were short handed.
“It was ups and downs at the sectional tournament,” McKean said. “We didn’t meet our goal, with only three wrestlers qualifying for State, but that’s how it goes sometimes and we had a bunch of independent issues with wrestlers getting injured, broken nose, concussion and we had some academic ineligibility issues and a wrestler not make weight. For some of our wrestlers it was disappointing but for others they met their goal and really did as well as they could have.”
However McKean did agree that Mingus Union, five-time state champion, is on the incline. In 2015 at State they were 45th, 42nd in 2016 and 15h last year.
“The vibe in the room is still one of excitement and positivity and we’re hopeful,” said McKean, who won a state title in 2001.