I was surprised to hear that some of the wrestling sections changed this year because I thought it followed the two-year block the Arizona Interscholastic Association loves to abide by.

Apparently not.

Last year Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe were in Section I with programs like Cibola, Sandra Day O'Connor, Cesar Chavez, Mountain Ridge and Maryvale.

The two local schools are now in Section III with a much tougher lineup with Mesa Mountain View, Mesa, Red Mountain, Westwood, Horizon, Brophy and seven other mostly quality programs.

In other words it is going to be a much tougher road for Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista wrestlers to qualify for state, which is Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11 at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

According to the AIA's Dean Visser last year was a "pilot" year for individual sports and the sections were built in-house.

It allowed for some tweaking.

Beginning with this school year, the individual sports joined the team sports in the two-year block format and sections were built on the basis of a "geo-mapping" type of system.

It left Cibola, a year-in and year-out top eight program, with little resistance in the Section I tournament. The Raiders could qualify all 14 wrestlers to state and become an instant favorite based on sheer numbers.

Meanwhile Section II teams, which is led by Corona del Sol, Chandler, Basha, Tucson Sunnyside and Dobson, and Section III teams will struggle to get their best wrestlers through let alone second-tier competitors who would easily qualify in Division I.

Cibola probably has six definite placers with three possible champs in Rafael Jaimes (106), Andres Gandara (113) and Isaac Camarillo (126). Cibola wrestlers always have a toughness about them and they will buy into the team concept at state which might mean not getting pinned as much as winning a match late.

It could lead to a lethal combination for the rest of Division I.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

(3) comments

AZPat

A couple of of problems within this article. Once you qualify wrestlers, you still have to score points at the state tournament. Also, Cibola's team is the Raiders, not the Criminals. Let's do some research.
Where was this article last year when DV had to only deals with Cibola, SDO and Chavez at sectionals? Just a bit biased, no?

Thanks for pointing out the Criminals/Raiders mistake. it has been changed.
The article does have a DV/MP slant as this paper is for readers in that community. The point of every article on this website has an Ahwatukee tie so the fact that Cibola could have an advantage directly affects them.

AZPat

I guess my point is that Cibola will have to win matches at state. It looks like Chavez and Cibola could have an easy path to take 13 or 14 to state. However, just because they beat teams like South Mountain or Valley Vista at Sectionals, they could easily have a kid go one-two barbecue in Prescott. I think after watching FLowing Wells, Cibola is a favorite to win the state team title in February. Coming out of the easiest section will not nake much of a difference. And if you look at their kids, they are young! Like Corona, many underclassmen.

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