A band of determined Payson High wrestlers grappled their way to a Division III, Section IV second-place finish by producing four weight class champions, eight state qualifiers and the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.
While Campo Verde narrowly edged the Horns for the team title, Dallin Macnab (120), William McCrary (126), Kyle Brown (170) and Anselmo Vasquez (220) wrestled to undefeated tournament records and gold-medal finishes.
Silver medalists Conner Anderson (160) and Tate Sweeney (145) also qualified for state, as did third-place Chase Elmer (138) and fourth-place finisher Trevor Anderson (132).
In a voting of coaches at the conclusion of the tournament, Vasquez was named the event’s outstanding wrestler.
In the weight class’ final round, Vasquez pinned Coolidge’s David Canus who entered the tournament with a 44-6 record. Vasquez was 26-7 at the onset of the tournament.
Macnab, who posted a 36-5 record during the regular season, won the S-III title with a forfeit, or injury default, over Zachary Sanchez of Campo Verde in the gold-medal match.
McCrary (34-8) scored a 4-2 win by a decision over Austin Doll of Campo Verde in the weight class’ final match.
The gutsy Brown (32-9) totally dominated the 170-pound weight class, winning three matches by pins including pinning Jacob Anderson of Williams Field in the final round.
Conner Anderson (38-7) dropped a hard-fought and heartbreaking 4-3 decision to Andrew Capirchio of Fountain Hills in the final round of the 160-pound battles.
Sweeney also lost a narrow decision in the weight class finale, falling 6-2 to Chandler Follett of Williams Field.
Elmer was beaten in the championship semifinals by Jacob Lamas of Florence, but battled back through the loser’s bracket to decision Williams Field’s Justin Darlington 7-2 in the bronze-medal showdown.
Trevor Anderson advanced to the weight class semifinals where he was decisioned, 6-3, by Coolidge’s Sergio Chavez.
Relegated to the losers’ bracket, Anderson won a gut-wrenching 10-9 decision before being pinned in the battle for third place.
The eight Payson High qualifiers now advance to the Division III “state” championships to be contested Feb. 8-9 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. Division III will feature three sessions and a medal round.
On Friday, Feb. 8, D-III sessions begin at 11 a.m. On Saturday, Feb. 9, D-III wrestling kicks off at 10 a.m. The medal rounds are slated for 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9.
Admission is $15 for an all-day adult pass and $10 for an all-day student pass.