The true-second place match is a novelty unless of course it is your match.
Then it is the most important match of the weekend-long event.
With the decision to seed only the top two wrestlers at each weight class from the three sectional tournaments, there had to be a true-second match implemented for seeding purposes at the state tournament that starts Thursday at Tim's Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
Desert Vista found its way in all three of those situations on Saturday in the Division I, Section I tournament it hosted.
"I knew I had to win that match," Desert Vista 160-pound senior Ace Martinez said. "It gives me a chance to have a (lesser) opponent in the first round and get comfortable. If lost it, then it might be a tough kid from the start."
Here's how it works.
If the second-place finisher at each weight class didn't face the third-place wrestler in the tourney then the two faced off to see who was the true second-best wrestler in order to make sure the proper kid got the seed at state.
It happened at three weight classes and the Thunder, who finished second overall to Yuma Cibola, were involved in all of them with the second-place finisher winning in all three.
"It worked out the way it was supposed to," Desert Vista coach David Gonzalez said. "We had a shot at a couple but came up short."
Desert Vista had 10 overall placers just missing out on an 11th when Jessie Ortega (112) finished sixth. The three sectionals advance the top five in each weight to fill 15 of the 16 spots. One of the sixth place finishers gets a wild card and will wrestle the top seed in the first round.
"I thought we'd get at least 11," Gonzalez said. "We had a good weekend. Now it is just a matter of seeing where everyone falls at state."
Mountain Pointe was able to get three to the state tournament as Cody Rojas (112) finished third, while Robert Link (152) and Nick Olguin (160) were fourth.
"The seniors all scored points and wrestled hard," said Mountain Pointe coach Shannon Radford, whose team finished 12th in the 16-team tournament said. "As young as we are we did pretty well. Nick was the real surprise. He had a great tournament."
Rojas was trailing 13-0 in his third-place match before picking neutral to start the third period and ended up pinning Yuma Kofa's Miguel Arce in 5 minutes and 45 seconds.
"I had to do something and I got what I needed," Rojas said. "It gives me confidence heading into state that I can comeback from anything."
The Thunder had two champions in Robbie Mathers (125) and Alex Bambic (215) as neither was really challenged and head into the state tournament with championship aspirations.
Kendall Love (135) and Martinez were second. Martinez, who lost 9-7 to Sandra Day O'Connor's Daniel Cotton in the finals, held on to second by pinning Cibola's Pedro Rosas in the true-second match.
"It didn't bother me to wrestle again," Martinez said. "I shook it off and knew I had to come back strong. I couldn't let the loss bother me."
The Thunder's other two wrestlers who had a chance in the true-second match after fininshing third were senior Tyler Struck (119) and junior Jimi Dixie (189) but they came up short.
"I wrestled hard and lost it in the last second," said Struck, who lost 9-7 to Cesar Chavez's Adam Jaime. "What bothered me was losing the last match I'll ever wrestle here (at home). That stinks, but I wrestled a good tournament.
"I lost my first match (2-1 against Mountain Ridge's Ronnie Soos) of the tournament and came all the back and beat him (8-4 in the consolation semifinals). I wrestled my match the second time."
Dixie was pinned by Westview's Zach Chavez.
"I wanted to get into the top four and I was third," Dixie said. "I have some health issues but I am getting stronger."
The other Desert Vista placers were Matthew Mathers (103, fourth), Cooper Gardner (130, fourth), Sam Schoepf (171, third) and Mike Arredondo (HVY, third).
For all of the results, click here:
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