2/9/2013 12:26:00 AM Wrestling Finals, Day 2: Badgers place 3rd in Div. 2 behind handful of medal winners
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier Prescott’s Dakota Vaughan captured third place at state over Gila Ridge’s Joseph Varella in the 152-pound division at the AIA Div. II State Wrestling Tournament Friday night at Tim’s Toyota Center.
Matt Santos/Chino Valley Review, Courtesy Prescott High’s Talon Vaughan (bottom) lost to Jake Allen of Ironwood Ridge by an 8-1 decision Friday morning during the Div. 2 AIA Wrestling State Tournament. Vaughan clinched a fifth-place finish at state.
The Daily Courier
Prescott High's wrestling team captured an impressive third-place finish in the 2013 Division 2 state tournament Friday at Tim's Toyota Center on the strength of five medal winners.
PHS compiled 85 points and wound up behind only Ironwood Ridge, which won the team title with 216.5 points, and runner-up Gila Ridge (128 points).
"It was awesome the way we finished - we had dropped all the way down to 10th place (after the first day)," said Prescott coach Eric Koehler, who garnered his highest state placement as the Badgers' lead mentor. "But these boys just decided they were going to keep wrestling and do whatever they could to win."
A handful of the Badgers' nine state-qualifying grapplers advanced to the medal round Friday night, with 152-pounder Dakota Vaughan and 285-pounder David Rupp taking home third-place medals. Talon Vaughan at 132 and Zach Koehler at 182 claimed fifth, while Dominic Garduño at 160 captured sixth.
Dakota Vaughan defeated Joseph Varella of Gila Ridge by decision, 5-1, in the third-place bout. Earlier in the day, he pinned Liberty's Louis Miller in 2 minutes and 36 seconds in the fourth round of the losers' bracket to advance.
Rupp pinned Ironwood Ridge's Elijah Cox in 4:37, avenging a loss to Cox at sectionals, for the third-place prize.
After losing in the opening round Thursday, Rupp roared back out of the losers' bracket, winning five straight matches by pin to snag his medal.
Sophomore Talon Vaughan grabbed fifth by defeating Peoria's Juntor Santiago, 11-1.
Earlier in the day, Vaughan lost to Ironwood's Jake Allen by decision, 8-1, in the fourth round of the losers' bracket to drop into the fifth-place match.
Zach Koehler, like Rupp, lost his opening-round bout but clawed back in the losers' bracket. Koehler compiled a 4-1 record in the consolation rounds to snare a fifth-place medal. In one of the finest matches of his prep career, he pinned Camelback's Eric Hernandez in 3:50 to pick up the hardware.
Earlier in the day, Koehler pinned Poston Butte's Michael Spencer in 3:31 in the third round of the losers' bracket. But he lost 11-1 to Deer Valley's Matt Sahotsky in the ensuing round to slide into the fifth-place bout.
At state, senior Zach Koehler ended up breaking the Badgers program's single-season record for pins with 34. The previous best had been 31.
"That's pretty phenomenal," coach Koehler said of his son's feat. "That record had stood for quite a few years."
At 160, Prescott's Dominic Garduño was pinned by Deer Valley's T.J. Hauptman in the fifth-place match to take sixth.
Earlier in the day, Garduño was pinned by Clint Allen in 1:40 in the fourth round of the losers' bracket.
In other Div. 2 final-round action for Prescott on Friday, 138-pound senior Eric Cassetta was eliminated from the medal round after being pinned in 3:16 by Ironwood Ridge's Tyler O'Neill in the third round of the losers' bracket.
"I was so proud of the way Eric wrestled in this tournament," coach Koehler said. "He was one match away from placing, and he gave it his all."
Coach Koehler added that his wrestlers kept Prescott senior Joe Arter, who was in the 220-pound weight class, in their thoughts and hearts throughout the two-day state tournament.
On Jan. 11, Arter and his stepfather, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Lt. Wayne Loughrige, died in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 69 in Dewey-Humboldt.
"He's always been on their minds ever since the tragic accident, and those boys just pulled it all together," coach Koehler said. "That's what they were saying, 'This is for Joe.' So it was pretty cool."