PEORIA - It should have been a proud moment for Desert Vista wrestling coach David Gonzalez.

And there is no question that winning the Peoria Invitational on Saturday ranks up there with the top accomplishments in his coaching career, but there was something eating at him.

"If it is in your hands you have to put the nail in the coffin," he said. "This morning (in the semifinal round) we could have big time and didn't. We made up for it tonight.

"When you win you want to make a statement. You want to go out and take it and not let someone else dictate if you win or lose."

The Thunder won the tournament with 205.5 points to outlast Sunnyside, which had 198 points.

Desert Vista had two champions in Jimi Dixie (170) and Alex Bambic (195), a runner-up in Derek Allen (152) and four other placers.

Gonzalez felt they could have made it easier on themselves if they had won a couple of head-to-head matchups with Sunnyside in the semifinals but two-time state champion Robbie Mathers lost to 5-3 the Blue Devils' Raul Moraga at 132 and Robert Sobarzo (138) dropped a 6-4 decision to Sunnyside's Andres Piedra.

It left the team title in doubt heading into the championship round, but the Thunder clinched it with Bambic's 6-4 win over Hamilton's Alex Burgoyne even though Sunnyside had two wrestlers remaining.

That's because Mathers and Sobarzo were able to come back to finish third along with Cooper Gardner, who defeated Sunnyside's Ricky Miranda 17-7 in the consolation semifinals.

"That was a big win because Sunnyside had pulled a couple of upsets and started to take the lead," said Gardner, who pinned Thunderbird's Andrew Veilleux in 2:17 for third.

Allen, who finished fifth the previous two years at Peoria while wrestling for Mountain Ridge, lost 9-4 in the finals to Moon Valley's Ryan Kulesa.

"Making the finals is better than fifth I guess, but I still have some work to do," Allen said. "There is some time before state but I have to get stronger and tighten up my technique."

Bambic's match with Burgoyne was tighter than expected after Bambic pinned the Hamilton's 195-pounder earlier in the year.

After a scoreless first, Bambic escaped and received a penalty point because of a second stalling call on Burgoyne. Bambic got a takedown in the third to go up 4-1, but Burgoyne got a reversal to close within 4-3.

Burgoyne was nailed with stalling again to make it 5-3 and when Bambic escaped to make it 6-3 it was enough for the win.

Dixie, who beat Westwood's Seb Grasser 5-3 for the title, looked good in winning his first major tournament and credited drilling with Bambic all week for getting him ready.

"We had to get after it again," Dixie said. "I've worked on being more aggressive. I got the first takedown and tried to control the match after that."

Desert Vista's Matt Mathers finished fourth at 113, while every Thunder wrestler scored points.

The lineup was missing state champion Kendall Love, who is struggling to make 126 pounds, and state placer Mike Arredondo, who didn't wrestle because of the football banquet.

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


Team standings

1. Desert Vista 205.5; 2. Sunnyside 198; 3. Alamosa 157.5; 4. Servite 143; 5. Hamilton 141; 6. Cimarron Memorial 135; 7. Mingus 118; 8. Thunderbird 101; 9. Basha 10. Sunrise Mountain 90; 11. Deer Valley 88.5; 12. Cesar Chavez 87.5; 13. Moon Valley 82.5; 14. Westwood 80.5; 15. Gorman 79; 16. Westview 77.5; 17. Safford 67.5; 18. Holbrook 67; 19. Mountain Ridge 65.5; 20. Cholla 63; 21. Ironwood 60; 22. Cactus 58; 23. Goldwater 57; 24. Peoria 54; 25. Centennial and Greenway 46; 27. Liberty 44.5; 28. Raymond Kellis 44; 29. Lake Havasau 40.5; 30. Mesquite 28.5; 31. North Canyon 18; 32. Copper Canyon 12; 33. Paridise Valley 9.

OW: Robertson (Westwood, 120), Ashjian (Cimarronn, 132) and Smith (Sunrise Mountain, 160).

Championship round

106 – Olivas (Sunny) dec. Esparza (Liberty), 6-2. Third – Zuckerman (Kellis) dec. Kelley (Alamoso), 6-4. Fifth – Kuhn (Basha) dec. Mainez (Thund), 3-2.

113 – Felipe (Thunder) dec. Reece (Chavez), 7-3. Third – Malouff (Alamosa) dec. Mathers (Desert Vista), 4-0. Fifth – Anderson (Servite), tec. fall (Simon), 15-0.

120 – Robertson (Westwood) dec. Andrews (Safford), 7-3. Third –Olivas (Sunny) maj. dec. Kelley (Alamosa), 9-0 . Fifth – Hunt (Sun. Mtn) dec. Vandall (Gold), 1-0.

126 – Coronado (Sun. Mtn) dec. Miranda (Sunny), 6-3. Third – Ulibarri (Hamilton) def. Latin (Basha), 15-11. Fifth – Colwell (Cimarron) dec. Vandall (Moon Valley), 8-7 .

132 – Ashjian (Cimarron) dec. Moraga (Sunny), 7-2. Third – Mathers (Desert Vista) dec.  Goettl (Mingus), 5-2. Fifth – Mahaney (Alamosa) dec. Alvardo (Holbrook), 10-6.

138 – Ortiz (Alamosa) dec. Piedra (Sunny), 7-4. Third – Sobarzo (Desert Vista) maj. dec. Suwyn (Mt. Ridge), 16-8. Fifth – Buono (Basha) dec. Shumway (Holbrook), 4-1.

145 – Gavre (Hamilton) dec. Henry (Servite), 10-5. Third – Gardner (Desert Vista) pin  (Thund), 2:17. Fifth – Miranda (Sunny) dec. McCurdy (Basha), 7-4

152 – Kulesa (Moon Valley) dec. Allen (Desert Vista), 9-4. Third – Curits (Alamosa) maj. dec. Pugh (Thunder), 11-0. Fifth – Cordova (Peoria) dec. Lightfoot (Mingus), 3-1.

160 – Smith (Sun Mtn) dec. Bertsch (Alamosa), 10-5. Third – Bearman (Cimarron) dec. Zaske (Mingus), 7-6. Fifth – Falcon (Hamilton) dec. Smith (Moon Valley), 3-0.

170 – Dixie (DV) dec. Grasser (Westwood), 5-3. Third – Rivera (LH) by default over Gunter (Hamilton). Fifth – Morales (Mingus) dec. Martinez (Gorman), 3-1 OT.

182 – Torres (Gold) dec. Hinson (Cactus), 4-0. Third – Beltran (Servite) dec. Andressen (Hamilton), 9-8. Fifth – Brown (Cholla) dec. Ward (Safford), 12-6.

195 -  Bambic (Desert Vista) dec Burgoyne (Hamilton), 6-4. Third – Lopez by default over Kaehler (Mingus). Fifth – Westbrook (Centennial) by default over Gatzmemeir (Deer Valley).

220 – Gonzalez (Sunny) dec. McKinney (Servite), 5-1. Third – Bennalley (Peoria) dec. Vazquez (Mtn Ridge), 8-4. Fifth – Ladesma over Catermole (Deer Valley).

HVY – Sinyard (Cimarron) dec. Johnson (Servite), 3-1. Third – Singer (Gorman) dec. Villegas (Sunnyside), 3-2. Fifth – Rediger (Westview) pin Cortez (Deer Valley), :42.

Semifinal results

106 – Esparza (Liberty) dec. Kuhn (Basha), 10-7; Olivas (Sunny) dec. Zuckerman (Kellis), 4-3.

113 – Reece (Chavez) dec. Malouff (Alamosa), 7-5; Felipe (Thunder) dec. Mathers (DV), 6-2.

120 – Andrews (Safford) dec. Kelley (Alamosa), 10-3; Robertson (Westwood) dec. Vandall (Gold), 5-2.

126 – Miranda (Sunny) dec. Colwell (Cimarron), 7-4; Coronado (Sun Mtn) dec. Latin (Basha), 8-1.

132 – Moraga (Sunny) dec. Mathers (Desert Vista), 5-3; Ashjian (Cimarron) dec. Alvarado (Holb), 7-5.

138 – Ortiz (Alamosa) pin Suwyn (M. Ridge), :45; Piedra (Sunny) dec. Sobarza (Desert Vista), 6-4.

145 – Henry (Servite) pin McCurdy (Basha), 3:42; Gavre (Hamilton) pin Gardner (Desert Vista), 4:41.

152 – Kulesa (Moon Valley) pin Curtis (Alamosa), 1:45; Allen (Desert Vista) maj. dec. Pugh (Thunder), 8-0.

160 – Bertsch (Alamosa) pin Beaman (Cimarron), 4:51; Smith (Sun. Mtn) dec. Zaske (Mingus), 4-2.

170 – Dixie (Desert Vista) dec. Rivera (L. Havasu), 5-4; Grasser (Westwood) dec. Martinez (Gorman), 8-3.

182 – Torres (Goldwater) dec. Andresen (Hamilton), 3-1; Hinson (Cactus) dec. Ward (Safford), 4-2.

195 – Bambic (Desert Vista) pin Lopez (Ironwood), 3:53; Burgoyne (Hamilton) dec. Gatzemeir (Deer Valley), 12-10.

220 – McKinney (Servite) dec. Catermole (Deer Valley), 5-1; Gonzalez (Sunny) maj. dec. Bennalley (Peoria), 10-2.

HVY – Johnson (Servite) dec. Cortez (Deer Valley), 3-0; Sinyard (Cimarron) dec. Singer (Gorman), 4-3.


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