The Basha wrestlers let their coach, Mike Garcia, know they were worried about the schedule being a little light since the Bears were not heading to Flowing Wells this season.
It is generally considered the toughest test each season.
Garcia, whose team is going to the Red Mountain Duals instead of Flowing Wells, had news for them.
Flowing Wells, held Jan. 18 and 19, is no longer the toughest tournament in the state this year.
It’s the Division I, Section III sectional tournament.
“We are in a tough sectional,” Garcia said. “We have to prepare for it. It is all we can do. We have five of the top 10 schools. It’s the new Flowing Wells.”
He might have a point.
The DI, Section III tournament has Basha, Chandler, Corona del Sol, Desert Vista and Sunnyside. Additionally, Tucson now has Robert DeBerry, the former Sunnyside coach, running the program so it will be stronger. Perry is very good this year, recently pushing Desert Vista is a dual meet, and Buena always has some good individuals.
Next year, Tucson Ironwood Ridge joins the field.
With the top four individuals from each weight class heading to the state tournament there are going to be some very good wrestlers that are podium worthy needing a ticket to get into Tim’s Toyota Center the second weekend in February.
Then again DI, Section IV is pretty brutal as well.
Dobson, Highland, Mesa, Mountain View and Red Mountain are top programs while Desert Ridge, Westwood, Gilbert, Desert Mountain, Mesquite and Skyline always have a crop of top individuals to make things intersting.
The AIA has it tough.
The teams have to put somewhere. Geographical placement makes sense in today’s economic-collapse, high-gas price environment.
Coaches wouldn’t mind going back to a sectional rotation based on the previous year’s team standings. Yes, teams are different from year to year, but the top teams are generally strong.
So the top four teams from last year’s state tournament would be in separate sectionals this year then so would teams five through eight, nine through 12 and so on.
It would eliminate perceived free rides for top programs in other sections like Cibola, which will win the DI, Section I with ease and just might be a better solution.
And then maybe Flowing Wells can be restored as the state’s toughest tournament.
Contact writers: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.