PRESCOTT VALLEY — Tim’s Toyota Center again belonged to Camp Verde as it won another team state wrestling title Saturday night.
Although Camp Verde defeated its closest challenger, St. Johns, by 10.5 points, 229.5 to 219.0, the result looked like it would be much different early on.
“Before the semis, I said, ‘Boys, we’re 19 points behind,’ ” Camp Verde coach Mario Cagolla said. “ ‘We really believe we can do it, we come out with fire.’ It was awesome.”
That fire could be seen right away, as in the first finals match of the evening, the 106-pound division, Camp Verde’s Hayden Uhler won the team’s first individual title, defeating Thatcher’s Kason Bryce, 11-6.
“(I credit that win to) hard work,” Cagolla said. “(Uhler) started in second grade, he’s been working hard ever since then. And it’s paid off. Junior-high state champ a couple of times, (he’s) just going to continue to do better things.”
It didn’t take long for them to add on to that total. In the next weight class, the 113-pound division, Camp Verde’s Alex Casillas won the second state title of his high-school career, 6-0, over San Tan Foothills’ Dustin Freund.
“(Casillas) has worked hard, he’s come on strong in this tournament,” Cargolla said. “He’s a little pit bull. He’s working hard. He’s just impressive.”
St. Johns would begin to challenge. Eli Frazier defeated Willcox’s Ray Rodriguez, Jr., to win the 132-pound weight class. The win was the second of Frazier’s career.
It would not take long for Camp Verde to respond, as two matches later junior Ryan Allred won the third state title of his career, this time at the 145-pound weight class. Allred defeated Snowflake’s Isaiah Diaz for the title.
“(Allred) just works out hard,” Cagolla said. “He’s a very ‘technique’ wrestler. He gets on top of you, and he just doesn’t move off. He’s just an awesome kid. He’s very strong.”
That would be it for Camp Verde, and it would be enough to withstand two more wrestlers from St. Johns winning their divisions, with Sherod Bride winning the 160-pound weight class and Garrett Davis, who won at 182 pounds last year, winning the 170-pound weight class.
This was Camp Verde’s sixth team state championship in wrestling in the past 11 years and Cagolla could not be happier.
“It’s awesome,” Cagolla said. “This is six for us … and it’s just been awesome.”
Although it was a great night for Camp Verde, it was a tough night for others in the meet, as in the 152-pound championship match, San Manuel’s Colten Smith sustained an injury to his elbow that required him to forfeit the match.
Heber Mogollon’s Dallyn Despain dealt Camp Verde its only championship loss when he pinned Isaiah McReynolds at the 1:28 mark of the second period to win the 138-pound weight class. The win was Despain’s third state championship.
Other champions included Parker’s Aaron Herder in the 120-pound weight class, Ethan Workman of Round Valley in the 126-pound weight class, Benson’s Kieran Maakestad in the 182-pound weight class, Willcox’s Connor Klump in the 195-pound weight class, Phoenix Northwest Christian’s Esteban Flores in the 220-pound weight class, and Morenci’s Santiago Robledo as the heavyweight.