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Estrella wrestlers building for future
Submitted by Casey Pritchard on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 12:00am
Wolves lose big against Shadow Ridge
Estrella Foothills didn’t fare well in its only home wrestling match of the season.
The Jan. 4 four-school dual meet turned into just two teams because Phoenix North Canyon decided not to participate during its winter break, and Peoria had athletes involved in a car accident during lunch the day of the meet, so it also canceled.
That left just Estrella and Surprise Shadow Ridge, with Shadow Ridge dominating 66-15.
Estrella is in the middle of a rebuilding year, as the Wolves have just one senior on the team.
“We have 22 kids on the team, and out of the 22, I think 16 are freshmen or sophomores,” Estrella coach Garth Benson said.
In the Jan. 4 match, only two Estrella wrestlers came away victorious. The Wolves won one forfeit match, had to forfeit two themselves and their other nine wrestlers lost by pinfall.
Estrella’s lone pinfall victory came from sophomore Wyatt Powe at 220 pounds. He pinned Anthony Jett at 3:17.
“Wyatt is growing every day,” Benson said. “He missed all of last year due to a broken ankle, so this year, he’s essentially a first-year wrestler, put in 220, weighing 200. He’s giving up 20 pounds.”
Benson brought in a heavyweight coach, Josh Duncan, to help Powe, and he’s starting to get really good with a bearhug takedown, Benson said.
“It almost cost him [in the first period] because he got a little bit too far out to the side,” Benson said. “He got to it, but then he got [too far to the side], which gave the other kid the angle to throw.”
Wyatt used the same move in the second period, and was able to make it stick that time for the pin. His season record is around .500, and he placed sixth at the Jerry Benson Wrestling Invitational Dec. 2 in Buckeye, Benson said.
“He had a learning curve at the beginning, but again, being a first-year wrestler, he’s going to have that learning curve, and we faced a couple of tough teams to start,” he said.
The most exciting match of the night was at 126 pounds, where Estrella’s Gabe Giblin pulled out a 15-14 victory against Ambrosio Chanoz. Giblin led through most of the first two periods, but then accumulated three penalties, which gave Chanoz four points and allowed him to take an 8-7 lead.
“One point was for a full nelson, and two locked hands,” Benson said. “On the third penalty, you get two points, so he gave up four points right there.”
In the third period, Benson had Giblin choose the neutral position.
“We chose to put him neutral because Gabe was taking the attack and getting his doubles,” Benson said.
Giblin kept taking down Chanoz for two points, then would let him out of it, giving Chanoz one point. The process was repeated several times, as Giblin was essentially trading two points for one.
“If they’re really doing well on the bottom, or we’re making simple mistakes on top, but we’re taking it to them on our feet, we’re going to go after them,” Benson said.
Giblin went ahead 15-11 late in the third period, holding on for the one-point win.
“With Gabe, from his freshman year all the way through, we’ve always known when he steps on the mat, he’s going to be aggressive,” Benson said. “He’s never stepped on the mat and I not know what’s going to happen. We’ve really worked those doubles, elevating and shooting that half, and I thought he had some great doubles today.”
Although no other Wolves wrestlers won Jan. 4, a few others have had pretty good seasons so far, Benson said.
Aldo Gonzalez (160 pounds), Duncan Shultz (170) and Abraham Rivera (113) have all placed in tournaments this year. Rivera placed fifth at the Big Red Invitational Dec. 9 at Agua Fria and sixth at the Jerry Benson tournament. He was pinned at 4:59 against Shadow Ridge’s Mark Prada Jan. 4, but was wrestling at a lower weight class for the first time.
“He’s cutting down right now to 115; this was the first week of him getting there, so it was a little rough there,” Benson said. “But otherwise, he’s done really well. He placed in both tournaments as a freshman.”
Gonzalez is a junior, and in his first year wrestling varsity. He was fifth at the Agua Fria tournament.
“He’s wrestling really well,” Benson said.
Schultz was third at the Agua Fria tournament.
“Duncan has had a good season so far,” Benson said.
Estrella returns to the mat today in a dual meet at Buckeye. This weekend, the Wolves compete in the Demon Classic tournament at Dysart High School in El Mirage.
With such an inexperienced team, Benson said his goal for the rest of the season is to have a leader emerge.
“It’s hard when you’re so inexperienced and young, no one is used to that leadership position, no one has had to be that leader,” Benson said. “Kids we thought were going to be captains this year didn’t come out. So, we’re in the practice room, and the coaches can say all we want until we’re blue in the face, and eventually it just kind of drowns out. If one of their peers is saying something similar, they take it a little more serious. I’ve had former wrestlers come in and talk to the kids, kids who have had success, they’ve come in and talked to them, but again, they need to find their own leader.”
Casey Pritchard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or on Twitter @CaseyonSports.
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