PRESCOTT VALLEY — Holbrook’s wrestling team knew this season had the potential to be a special year.
It had a roster full of battle-tested seniors who wanted to end their high school careers as champions, and Saturday they did just that as Holbrook took the Division III team championship at Tim’s Toyota Center.
Holbrook had just one individual champion — senior Shem Bowman at 195 pounds — but its other wrestlers, especially those in their fourth year, helped give Holbrook 195.5 points to beat out Tucson Amphitheater’s 173.5.
“The seniors are the ones that pulled this team ahead,” Holbrook coach John Bokker said. “We’ve been building this team for years. When these guys became seniors, that’s when we knew we were going to be good. We were looking forward to this year.”
The title came in Holbrook’s first season after moving up from Division IV and was the program’s 11th overall but first since 1990.
Three-time defending champion Phoenix Thunderbird finished fifth Saturday with 143.5 points.
Division III’s most anticipated match of the night came at 126 pounds, where San Tan Valley Combs junior Ted Rico and Flagstaff Coconino senior Gabe Galaviz squared off after each taking titles last season.
Rico got out to an early lead but appeared to be losing energy in the second period, calling for an injury timeout. Seconds after the match resumed, Galaviz was able to score a pin to claim his third career championship and hand Rico his first loss of the season.
“All my hard work paid off,” Galaviz said. “To be a three-timer feels pretty nice. It’s an amazing experience. Words can’t explain what you feel when you get a victory like that.”
Amphitheater had a nice run toward the middle of the tournament, claiming three consecutive championships with junior Geovanni Payan-Diaz (138 pounds), senior Marcus Salnicky (145) and senior Jesus Barrera (152).
Saturday’s other champions: Paul Gonzales, senior, Tempe (106 pounds); Quentin Hovis, freshman, Chandler Seton Catholic (113); Collin Anderson, junior, Coconino (120); Marcus Whitmore, senior, Tempe (132); Sergio Chavez, junior, Seton Catholic (160); Jace Hardy, senior, Winslow (170); Bryson Echols, senior, Tucson Sabino (182); Davion Grey, junior, Phoenix Moon Valley (220); Daniel Cox, senior, Surprise Shadow Ridge (heavyweight).