|Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier|
Chino's Gary Medevielle pins Bradshaw's Jordan Seeman Wednesday afternoon during the Larry Legler Tri-City Cup wrestling match in Prescott.
Special to the Review
In a fitting final tune-up for the 2013 postseason, Prescott High, Bradshaw Mountain and Chino Valley's wrestling teams battled each other on the Badgers' Senior Night Wednesday at the PHS Dome.
Division II Prescott captured the inaugural Larry Legler Tri-City Cup trophy after winning its pair of duals over D-II Bradshaw Mountain, 73-0, and D-III Chino Valley, 48-24, to finish with an unblemished 2-0 record.
The Cougars ended with a 1-1 mark following a dispatching of the Bears (0-2), 60-16.
Prescott and Bradshaw now set their sights on the sectionals tournament at 10 a.m. Feb. 2 at Glendale Ironwood High School. The top four placers in each weight class at sectionals receive automatic berths into the D-II state tournament Feb. 7 and 8 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
For the D-II, Section IV tournament, the Badgers, who are gunning for a team championship, plan to send 13 wrestlers.
They include Kyle Lange at 106 pounds, Saxon Vaughan at 113, Braden Grauberger at 120, Jeremy Reber at 126, Talon Vaughan at 132, Eric Cassetta at 138, Tim LaMaster at 145, Dakota Vaughan at 152, Dominic Garduño at 160, Daniel Hernandez at 170, Zach Koehler at 182, Tyler Wilson at 195 and David Rupp at heavyweight.
PHS coach Eric Koehler said at least 11 of his 13 guys should qualify for state.
"We could take everybody, and that's really incredible," he said.
Seniors Cassetta, Garduño, Koehler and Wilson form the backbone of the PHS squad. Wilson is ranked No. 1 in D-II at 195, while Koehler is rated sixth in D-II at 182.
"They've all been good, they've all got a place in my heart, and they all go out there and wrestle great," coach Koehler said about his seniors. "And, actually, probably every one of those kids is capable of placing at the state tournament this year."
Added first-year Bradshaw coach Gordon Cobb of the Badgers' seniors, "They've been dominating all season, and they're going to continue to dominate."
Wilson, who's battled illness and injury all season, said he's finally returning to full strength. In early December, he went on a short church mission to Haiti and came down with the flu a week after he got back. And he recently tweaked his left knee in competition, which he's still nursing.
"The beginning of the season was definitely a challenge," he said. "I've been plagued a little bit with some misfortune, but I'm hoping to come back strong. All I can do is hope and pray."
Coach Koehler said Wilson, who placed fourth at state in 2012, will be "100 percent" healthy heading into sectionals, where he's expected to win his weight class.
"He's just a little tentative on it (his knee) right now, but he's ready to go," the coach said.
Zach Koehler said he's excited for sectionals even though he'll be tested with the state's No. 1- and No. 3-ranked wrestlers at 182 competing in Section IV.
"I've been coming in (to the PHS wrestling room) at 5 o'clock (a.m.) every day," Zach said. "I've been wrestling. My dad's been working with me. I've been riding my bike. I've been running every day. I'm ready for state, and I'm going to go get it and do my best."
Bradshaw Mountain will compete alongside PHS at sectionals and expects to field 10 grapplers. They include Anthony Monroe at 113 pounds, Ian Cobb at 120, Jarrett Cain at 126, Colton Audsley or Jordan Seeman at 138, David Snell at 152, Russ Dodge at 170, Peter Hodan at 182, John Trout at 195, Duane Ehrlich at 220 and Mat Ehrlich at heavyweight.
Cobb, who's in the midst of rebuilding a proud Bears program with a sophomore-heavy bunch, said facing Prescott in the Tri-City Cup offered a measuring stick for the progress of his wrestlers.
"I was proud of a lot of our guys, even in some of their losses, that they battled and they scored points," he said. "We had guys that hustled, and then we have some guys that have a lot of work to do."
Chino Valley will wrestle at the D-III, Section II tournament at 9 a.m. Feb. 2 on the campus of Winslow High School.
The Cougars should take 14 wrestlers to sectionals. They include Kendall Foster at 106 pounds, Kody Davis at 113, Stockten Heiner at 120, Joe Pontin at 126, Gary Medevielle at 132, Hunter Davis at 138, Taylor Marshall at 145, Spencer Coffin at 152, Eric Mannix at 160, Tazmon Sproul at 170, Kishan Batcheldor at 182, Levi Arce at 195, Levi Ledgerwood at 220, and Cutter Cloudt at heavyweight.
Kendall Foster, Davis, Heiner and Batcheldor are all in contention to medal at sectionals.
"We hope to have six placers for state," said CVHS coach Allen Foster, whose program's last sectionals team title came in 2000. "We're still a year away from being a legitimate (sectionals) contender, but we've got all the right pieces."