PRESCOTT VALLEY - Camp Verde HS wrestling lived up to expectations at the state tournament Saturday, winning a Division IV team title by nearly 50 points over rival St. Johns. Seven Cowboys wrestled in the finals and five won individual state titles.
Camp Verde qualified a full 14-man roster for the state tournament, resulting in 12 placers. Cowboys head coach Bob Weir said his team set a state record for pins in a season, a whopping 369.
Camp Verde sophomore Ryan Allred (132 pounds) finished his season undefeated, winning a close finals match, 4-3, over former state champion Dallyn Despain from Mogollan. Allred said it was the closest match he's wrestled since the seventh grade. Allred also won as a freshman, the first freshman from Camp Verde to win a state title.
Two more Camp Verde freshmen added their names to the short list Saturday; Matt Mejia (106 pounds) and Alex Casillas (113 pounds) both won state championships in their first high school seasons.
Seniors Alex Anzar (152 pounds) and Heath Carroll (160 pounds) made it to the top of the podium at state for the first time.
"I feel like I could die right now," said Anzar after his team received the trophy. "It takes dedication and never giving up. You have to have faith in yourself, in your coaches, and in God. That's how I won. I've wrestled for Camp Verde all four years of high school, and this is the best team we've had since I've been here."
Producing five state champions matches a Camp Verde school record (they had some great seasons in the 2000s and have produced five champs in one season twice before).
Senior Joel Lobaugh (145 pounds) and junior Isaiah McReynolds (126 pounds) placed second after losing very close finals matches to St. Johns wrestlers Saturday. Senior Elmer Ruiz (220 pounds) placed third. Sophomore Michael Nelson (138 pounds) placed fourth. Sophomore Jeremy McEachern (170 pounds) placed fifth. Sophomore Alex Noone (121 pounds) and senior Anthony McBeth (HWT) placed sixth.
Some talented Camp Verde seniors will leave for college next year, but a lot of the team is coming back, and they have an exceptional middle school feeder program supplying lean tacticians; a title defense is not out of the question next year.
**THIS IS NOT THE FINAL ARTICLE, just a brief to update you on what happened. I'll update this with the full-length article soon.