|Written by Brian Bergner Jr.|
|Thursday, 17 February 2011 00:00|
The four-time defending 4A-II conference state champions went through a new experience Saturday, Feb. 12: second place.
In the first Division III Wrestling State Championships at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley this past weekend, the Marauders came one point shy of tying, and two points within claiming their unprecedented fifth straight championship.
Forty-seven schools stood in the way of the Mingus Union High School wrestling team’s fight for a title, but only one found a way to beat them — Thunderbird High School.
Thunderbird scored 158.5 points, or exactly 1.0 points more than Mingus [157.5] to claim the first Division III state championship.
Also making it to the podium was Rio Rico High School, which finished a distant third place, scoring 127 points.
Other notables included Blue Ridge High School which finished sixth overall with 60 points while old 3A conference powerhouse Payson High School finished 10th with 47.5 points.
After the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board made the decision to realign the schools to save money on state championship tournament costs, Mingus knew it was going to be tough to five-peat.
In the past, the more than 250 Arizona schools fought over six state championships in wrestling; now there are only four handed out by the AIA. Only about 200 of those schools actually have wrestling programs, but losing two trophies can be difficult.
The Marauders also went through a coaching change, hiring Mingus alum Klint McKean over the summer to take the reins of one of the best wrestling programs in the state, if not the country.
Despite the overhaul, the Marauders responded like the champions they are to take second overall in a much tougher field than in the past.
McKean did an excellent job taking over for longtime Head Coach Tom Wokasch according to several wrestlers and other coaches on the staff, making it an easy transition for Marauders fans.
Mingus wrestlers Logan Addis, Justin Zaske and Matt Chavez each earned an individual state championship Saturday in front of a raucous wrestling crowd in Prescott Valley.
Addis claimed the 145-pound state title, defeating Page High School product Sheldon Yellowman in the process to win gold.
Mingus’ Justin Zaske took first overall in the 152-pound weight class division, defeating Brandon Bodea of Fountain Hills High School in the title match. It was only the fourth loss all season for Bodea.
As for Chavez, he claimed the 152-pound title with his win over Zach Yazzie from Higley High School.
Zaske finished 37-9 this year while Chavez was an impressive 44-2 overall in 2010-2011.
Other notables individually for Mingus included 119-pound Cody Heflin who was 30-11 overall this season. Heflin finished second overall after losing the state championship match to Greg Ornelas of Safford. Ornelas did not lose a match this season, finishing a perfect 38-0.
Hank Goettl, wrestling in the 130-pound division, lost to Rio Rico star Dakota Beach in the title match. Beach was 38-1 overall this season while Goettl was 38-8.
Dillon Lightfoot finished fourth overall in the 135-pound third-place match, losing to Brad Lindsay of Flagstaff High School to finish 40-11 overall this season.
Brandon Luttrell won his third-place match, defeating Anthony Chavez of Amphitheater to finish 16-2 overall this season.
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