On a night when the Camp Verde wrestling team was due to send off its senior at their final home meet, they did so in commanding fashion by blanking Northland Preparatory Academy en route to a 78-0 thrashing.
"The 3-Way was a great day, and sad day, for all of the wrestlers for the Cowboys," said head coach Bob Weir. "Every wrestler did an outstanding job and they dominated the Northland Prep team with 16 wins and one loss. The match with Parker was a good gauge on what needs to be improved on before the Sectional tournament.
"They (Connor Zale and Devon Walls) both have filled in great for the Cowboys at the upper weights and are looking to qualify for the state tournament. Chance Weir and Isaiah McReynolds have been in the Camp Verde Wrestling Program since first grade. They have been a part of the middle school program since fourth grade and are four-year wrestlers for the Cowboys high school team."
The Cowboys were not expecting much from the small and short-handed Falcons. The team from Flagstaff gave up six forfeits, which led to 36 automatic points for the Cowboys (not counting a double-forfeit at 170 pounds).
The Falcons gave it their best, but the home team had other plans. They wanted to send their seniors out on a high note. While a high-note for other wrestling teams may be winning the match, the Camp Verde wrestling squad has grown into such a powerful program that the only proper way was to shutout the Falcons with all pins in the first two minutes of each match.
"It felt pretty good," said Isaiah McReynolds. "I think I expected it from our team to pin everybody and dominate the gym."
Alex Casillas, 113 lbs., got things jumping with a 20-second pin, followed by Matt Mejia, 120 lbs., and his 32-second pin. The next four weight classes (and the opening weight class) were forfeits.
The next two matches were seniors McReynolds and Chance. McReynolds wasted little time and had his opponent staring at the ceiling in 48 seconds. Chance took a little longer but still made short work of his wrestler, as his match was the first to pass the minute mark of the match (1:24 pin).
"It was good, [I'm] just going to miss it," Chance said. The whole team went out there with the mission to help out and we pinned everyone in the first minute [or so]. We did good, we went out there and did the business that we wanted"
McReynolds added that wrestling at Camp Verde has become a part of his life since joining the program in the second grade.
"It's been a part of my life since the second grade and I've carried it on since high school," McReynolds said.
The final three matches took a combined 2:18. Jeremy McEachern (26 seconds), Eduardo Mora (1:04) and Devon Walls (48 seconds) all heard the ref slap the mat for the pin. Connor Zale claimed the Falcons' final forfeit for the day and the Cowboys crushed Northland Prep 78-0 in 5:22 of combined wrestling time.
Before the Cowboys blanked the Falcons, they encountered a stiff section match against Parker High School. The Broncs have won 16 dual meets compared to losses to top teams Camp Verde (twice), Snowflake, San Luis, Deer Valley, Yuma and Yuma Catholic.
Despite the win the Cowboys held over the Broncs (70-12 on Dec. 12), they were not underestimating their Division-IV, Section-2 foe. Camp Verde did not blow their opponent out of the water like they previously did, but still dominated the dual as they handedly won 46-28.
The score is a bit deceiving and makes the match look closer than it was. Parker was able to reel off three pins in the final three matches to record 18 points.
Up to that point, the Cowboys were up 46-10. Camp Verde recorded four pins, two technical falls and two forfeits.
Being back on the mat for a month now, junior Ryan Allred (145 lbs.) is still nursing a knee injury suffered during football but feels it getting stronger day-by-day.
"It feels good," Allred said. "My injury feels a lot better, definitely need to work on my conditioning because the last tournament that I wrestled in [I was] out of condition."
Allred is on a quest to win his third state championship and added to that momentum by adding two more scalps to his collection and staying undefeated. The junior controlled every aspect of his match wit Parker's Alex Gomez but was not able to pin the Bronc, so settled for the tech instead, 15-0.
"It was just that the kid was really strong," Allred said. "[He was] strong and I didn't really want to hurt the kid, he's a new kid. I though instead of trying to hurt him, pin I'm, I would just wrestle him."
Also coming back from a short stint on the bench because of an injury was McReynolds. Before he had a quick pin against Northland Prep, the senior, much like Allred, was not able to get his opponent from Parker on his back, but was able to rack up the points and tech him 17-2.
"The knee healed up pretty good," McReynolds said. Just had to stay off it for a while and try to make the best out of the matches since it was my last time being there."
Camp Verde is undefeated in duals wit a perfect 18-0 (trackwrestling.com). Now the Cowboys get ready to travel to Mogollon for another multi-dual. The Cowboys square off with Canyon State Academy, Globe High School, host Mogollon and San Tan Foothills High School. Then they will participate in the Sand Devil Classic in Page. That will be the final meet for the Cowboys, who will then begin preparing for the state tournament.
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