PEORIA – Derek Andresen is nearly there.
The Hamilton senior is still breaking down his body and building his way back into wrestling shape after essentially missing all of his junior season.
Rusty or not, Andresen did enough to be one of four area wrestlers to make Saturday night’s finals at the Peoria Invitational. He finished second after losing 4-3 to Servite’s Johnny Beltran for the 182-pound title.
“It was tough getting back into it after missing it for so long,” said Andresen, who was a state runner-up as a sophomore. “I’ve only been wrestling for four weeks after football season plus I missed last year. I tried and tried to get that last (takedown) but he just sat back and blocked all my shots.”
The Southeast Valley went 2-2 in the championship round as the Basha duo of Robert Latin (160) and Trey Ronayne (170) won titles, while Andresen and Desert Vista’s Adam Ortega (HVY) came up one win short.
Latin defeated Westview’s Kordell Porvchy 2-0 with a third-period reversal with 1 minute and 16 seconds left before riding out the former state runner-up.
“He wrestled the smartest tournament of his career,” Basha coach Mike Garcia said. “Ever since Reno (Tournament of Champion) he says he’s a different wrestler. That he learned some things, especially mentally, and he showed that this tournament as he won late (in the quarterfinals) and carried it into this next two matches. This was an important win for him.”
Ronayne, a state champion, was his usual methodical self in cruising to a 11-3 win over Sunnyside’s Oscar Cuevas.
Ortega finished as a runner-up for the second straight week as he continues to develop. The fact that he was pinned quickly in the finals – 54 seconds by Jessen Hawks of Mountain Ridge – doesn’t take away from his progression.
“Last year I made state basically by using throws, but now I am a more well-rounded wrestler,” Ortega said. “I have leg attacks and can stop leg attacks. I’ve gained a lot of confidence and know I can make the championship of any tournament I’m in now.”
Sunnyside won the 31-team tournament with 232 points and three champions in Juaquin Olivas (120), William Olivias (126) and Gabriel Gonzalez (195).
Outstanding wrestlers were Gila Ridge’s Mendivil (106), Goldwater’s Troy Vandall (145) and Michael Suwyn (152).
Servite (Anaheim, Calif.) was second with 188, while Gila Ridge (178), Holbrook (146) and Desert Vista (129) finished out the top five.
Basha (127.5) was next highest finishing team from the East Valley in sixth place. Westwood was 13th with 90 points, while Mesquite (17th place, 71 points) and Hamilton (21st, 61) were the other local squads.
The Thunder had five placers as Jeremiah Imonode (fourth, 182), Nico Campbell (fourth, 138), Tristan Ezell (fourth, 220) and Alex Carillo (sixth, 113) backed Ortega’s performance.
Imonode (eye) and Carillo (head) didn’t wrestle in the placement round, while Campbell lost 5-2 and Ezell was pinned in the second period.
The Thunder crank it back up next weekend for the Flowing Wells Invitational, which is considered the top in-state tournament in Arizona.
“We are in the meat of our schedule and that’s the toughest one there is,” said Imonode, who lost by 1 in the semifinals to Andresen. “I feel like I’m right where I need to be. I know I can come back next week and be ready to go.”
1. Sunnyside 232; 2. Servite 188; 3. Gila Ridge 178; 4. Holbrook 146; 5. Desert Vista 129; 6. Basha, Mountain Ridge 127.5; 8. Cimarron Memorial 125; 9. Sunrise Mountain 118.5; 10. Deer Valley 110;
11. Liberty 98; 12. O’Connor 92; 13. Westwood 90; 14. Desert Edge 88; 15. Goldwater 85.5; 16. Centennial 74; 17. Mesquite 71; 18. Peoria 69; 19. Alamoso, Westview 67.5
21. Hamilton 61; 22. Cholla 54; 23. Cesar Chavez 49; 24. Ironwood 48.5; 25. Kellis 41; 26. Verrado 38.5; 27. Moon Valley 35; 28. Safford 32; 29. Lake Havasu 22; 30. Paradise valley 21; 31. Copper Canyon 10.5.
106 – Mendivil (GR) dec. Courtney (DE), 2-0. Third – De La Cerda (Ala) dec. Cronin (Servite), 11-4 ; Fifth – Latin (Basha) dec. Kaye (Peo, 5-3).
113 – Chamanzad (Cim) dec. Murillo (Sunny), 4-1. Third – Wright (Peoria) dec. Mendez (MV), 7-5 ; Fifth – Rodriguez (Servite) by default Carillo (DV) .
120 – Olivas maj. dec. Kelley (Ala), 17-6; Third – Hart-Holmes dec. Johns (Holbrook), 6-4 ; Fifth – Kramer (DE) by default Zuckerman (Kellis).
126 – Olivas by default over Cox (GR); Third –Blakley (Servite) dec. Love (Sun Mtn), 7-5 ; Fifth – Ramirez (Holbrook) dec. Masters (Basha), 4-3.
132 – Laurente (Cim) dec. Decker (Sun Mtn), 5-4. Third – Ford (GR) maj. dec. Robinson (Mesquite), 12-0; Fifth – Breeser (MR) by deault over Reynoso (Ironwood).
138 – Swift (Deer Valley) maj. dec. Jensen (DE), 10-2. Third – Lopez (Sunny) ; Fifth – Cordova (Servite) .
145 – Vandall (Gold) pin Riley (GR), 1:58. Third – Perez (Sun Mtn) dec. Miranda (Sunny), 3-1; Fifth – O’Neill (Ironwood) pin Vance (Ala), 2:47.
152 – Suwyn (Mtn Ridge) tech. fall Miranda (West), 15-0. Third – Sheldahl (GR) dec. Setter (Sun Mtn), 4-3; Fifth – Hammontree (Cim) by default over Fowler (Desert Edge) .
160 – Latin (Basha) dec. Provchy (West), 2-0. Third –Villegas (Sunny) by forfeit over Roberts (Cholla); Fifth – Turk (SDO) pins Vidal (Servite), 2:46.
170 –Ronayne (Basha) dec. Cuevas (Sunny), 11-3. Third – Burden (Deer Valley) dec. James (Mes), 5-3; Fifth – Kuckuk (GR) pin Gonzalez (Mtn Ridge), 4:07.
182 – Beltran (Servite) dec. Andresen (Hamilton), 4-3; Third – Smith (Deer Valley) by default over Imonode (Desert Vista); Fifth – Hansen (Liberty) dec. Ferniza (Holbrook), 12-5 .
195 – Gonzalez (sunny) dec. Bowman (Hol), 7-4; Third – House (Mtn Ridge) dec. Mason (Liberty), 8-4; Fifth – Johnson (Mesq) dec. Pacheco (Cholla), 5-2 .
220 – Poisall (SDO) dec. Burston (Chavez), 8-4; Third – Arendall (Cent) pin Ezell (Desert Vista) 1:23; Fifth – Hardesty (Safford) pin Lavey (Servite), :38.
HVY – Hawks (Mtn Ridge) pins Ortega (Desert Vista), :54. Third – Eagar (Westwood) dec. Amador (Servite), 4-3; Fifth – Blackwell (Liberty) dec. White (Goldwater), 7-2.