Fifty-six wrestlers earned their way to an individual state championship the last two weeks.

They come from different backgrounds and experience.

Their individual plights to the top of the podium differ as much the singlets they wear.

We’ve touched based with many of them over the last few weeks, but weren’t able to get to them all in this space.

Two wrestlers from the area would deserved more coverage were Corona del Sol’s Ethan Tursini (160) and Basha’s Trey Ronayne (170).

They both won their second Division I titles this past weekend.

Ronayne, who got hurt in the postseason his sophomore because of a torn led to Tommy John surgery, lost only once and it came in to a top five nationally-ranked wrestler.

Tursini was a leader on a great senior class for the Aztecs. He rolled through the preliminaries and semifinals. In the finals he held of Mountain View's Weston Taylor, who was pinning everything in sight, for a 3-2 win.

Another is Marcos de Niza’s Richard Florez.

He made the DII 138-pound state semifinals last year but lost three straight to finish sixth. It was a disappointing end to a good year.

It happens a lot. When the goal is to win a state title and a loss occurs in the semifinals it can be hard to get mentally ready to go for the next match.

The senior took that out of the equation this year as he methodically made his way through the DII 152 pound bracket as Florez won his four matches by a total of 14 points.

It takes a mentally strong individual to win four close matches at state.

Then there is Tempe’s Marcus Whitmore.

He only started wrestling three years ago. It's essentially the polar opposite of most state champions.

He took his early beatings but eventually developed into a state champion in a relative short time considering most state-level wrestlers begin around the age five.

Whitmore, a 4.0 student, qualified for state last season, but missed placing by one match.

He wasn’t considered a favorite heading into the Division III tournament two weeks ago after losing eight times during the season while competing in one of the tougher weight classes (132) in DIII, if not all of the state.

Yet he managed to come away with the state title - along with teammates Paul Gonzalez to help Tempe to a third place finish – by beating several opponents he lost to earlier in the season.

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


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