If early season results are a true measure of strength, the Rim Country Middle School Maverick wrestling squad could be in for a banner year.
At the Joseph City Invitational Tournament Nov. 7, the Mavs wrestled their way to a second place showing only 13 points behind champion Snowflake.
Prior evidence of Mav prowess came Nov. 5 in a 72-18 thumping of Holbrook and Oct. 29 in a 67-22 season-opening triumph against the Mogollon Mustangs.
The win over Holbrook was especially convincing in that the Runners were the WML's third-place finishers last year and were expected to be tough once again. But the Mavs dominated winning 11 pins, 10 of them in a row.
"It was a pin-fest," RCMS coach John Vick said.
The true test for the team, however, will come Nov. 19 in Payson when Snowflake visits for a dual meet.
The teams will meet again in the league championship tournament Dec. 17 in Show Low.
To capture the league championship, RCMS must find the points to defeat the traditionally powerful Lobos.
Vick says it is possible. "I believe we can beat them."
The coach said part of his optimism was based on the fact that at the Joe City tournament, RCMS wrestlers bested the Lobos in all four of the gold-medal match-ups.
In all, seven of the nine RCMS grapplers who reached the finals emerged victorious.
The champions included Billy Bob Hoyt (80 pounds), Matt McCary (95), Larry Wilbanks (100), Zack Lee (105), Waylon Quotskuyva (135), Taylor Walden (124) and Jason Welch (225).
Justin Deaton (90) and Bryce River (165) were silver medalists.
Mark McCarty (65) and Trevor LaHaye (85) took fourth-place honors.
In the season-opening victory over Mogollon, Hoyt (80), Trevor LaHaye (85), Matt McCarty (95), Wilbanks, (100) River (165) and Welch (225) won their weight class battles.
Against Holbrook, winners included, Hoyt (80), Matt McCarty (95), Wilbanks (100) , Lee, (105) Ashton Shewey (112) Brandon Bell (119), Evan Griffith (127), Quotskuyva (135), Walden (145), River (165) and Welch (225).