Winning a state high school wrestling championship is a much sought after goal that eludes a huge majority of Arizona’s finest grapplers.
But that’s not the scenario for Payson High’s Jacob Spear who was celebrating on Feb. 10 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. There, the PHS senior wrestled his way to the 138-pound Division III state championship by posting a 4-0 tournament record.
Most impressive about Spear’s win is that it was accomplished while entered in a highly competitive weight division that housed some of the state’s finest teenage athletes.
In the tournament finale, Spear won a decision over Mohave’s Andrez Perez by a 4-1 count.
Just one round earlier, Perez had defeated No. 1 ranked Chris Mata of Youngker 6-5. Mata entered the postseason 51-2 and was a huge favorite to win the weight division championship.
But when all was said and done, it was Spear carrying the gold rather than Mata.
Perez finished the year and tournament with an impressive 53-10 record and as state runner-up. Spear wrapped up the campaign 45-6 and clutching an all-too-elusive gold medal.
Spear took a No. 3 seed into the D-III tournament and in the first round pinned Chase Reams of Mingus.
In the second round, Spear won by a fall in 2:42 vs. Verado’s Daquota Avila.
The Payson grappler reached the championship round by defeating Campo Verde’s Rand Hawk, 13-4, in the semifinals.
Spear’s performance was one of the more dominating of the tournament that saw 14 weight class champions crowned.
His efforts over the course of the finals also helped PHS garner 39 team points and finish a respectable 18th among the 47 teams in the D-III field.
While Spear was the Horns’ only top-six medalist in the tournament, PHS did receive valuable team points from Dallin Macnab (113), Conner Anderson (152) and Anselmo Vasquez (195).
Macnab finished 2-2 in the tournament winning an opening round match vs. Campo Verde’s Zach Sanchez, but losing a second-round skirmish to Ted Rico of Combs.
Relegated to the consolation bracket, Macnab decisioned Empire’s Marco Coljo, but was eliminated from the tournament by a 5-3 loss to Chino Valley’s Kody Davis.
Anderson, a Section III silver medalist who entered the tournament clutching a No. 9 seed, lost in the opening round to No. 8 Dominic Romero of Show Low.
The two had met in the regular season with Anderson winning when Romero was disqualified because of blood.
In the consolation bracket, Anderson came roaring back to decision Tempe’s Marco Salgado and Jamir Moore of Coolidge before being eliminated by Winslow’s James Martinez.
Vasquez carried an eighth seed to state and in the tournament opener he defeated Mingus’s Brian Kachler, a ninth seed, 9-4.
After losing 7-2 to Dirk McOmber of Empire in the second round of the championship bracket, Vasquez fell to the consolation tournament where he defeated Matthew Ong of Greenway, but then was eliminated by an 8-3 loss to Campo Verde’s Alex Buppert.
With the state tournament and 2011-12 season at an end, the wrestlers will take a brief respite before returning to USA Wrestling off-season action as well as other summer camps and training activities.