TUCSON - For a sophomore Matthew Mathers showed a lot of maturity and restraint early in the season.
And it is paying dividends now.
The Desert Vista 113-pounder placed at his third straight tournament Saturday, finishing fifth at the meatgrinder known as the Flowing Wells Invitational, after missing the start of the season because he felt he wasn't ready to compete.
"I trained really hard (leading up to the start of the season) and it got to be too much," he said. "I probably shouldn't have done it. I was burned out. I needed a break."
Taking the break appears to have been the right move as he placed seventh at a 64-team in California after Christmas, was fourth last weekend at Peoria and now fifth at Flowing Wells.
"He is in a good place right now," Desert Vista coach David Gonzalez said. "We are working toward the end (state tournament). He is doing what he needs to do for the end."
Mathers was one of the few bright spots for Desert Vista, which finished eighth with a scrambled lineup because of illness, injuries and recruiting trips.
After winning the Peoria tournament last weekend it appeared the Thunder were ready to make a statement as one of the Division I title contenders.
Then something happened.
"Friday the 13th," Gonzalez said.
Desert Vista was without two-time state champion Robbie Mathers at 132 due to what might be pneumonia, state placer Mike Arredondo (220) was at Northern Arizona on a recruiting trip for football, state champion Alex Bambic (195) lost his first match when he was called for an illegal slam and then after winning five matches to place he defaulted out to sixth place and state champion Kendall Love (126) defaulted out with an ankle injury.
The Thunder were out of title contention on the first day but did enough to finish in the top 10 behind four placers as senior Robert Sobarzo finished third at 138, senior Jimi Dixie was fourth at 170 along with Matt Mathers and Bambic.
Sobarzo defeated Mesa Mountain View's Blake Monty 9-4 for third place. It made up for losing to Monty 6-5 in the quarterfinals.
"I got it in my head that he shouldn't even be on the same mat as me," Sobarzo said. "I didn't keep the pressure on (after grabbing the early lead) the first time."
Dixie followed up his championship at Peoria with a thud as he lost in the first round to Ironwood Ridge's Tristan Mordecai only to win the second meeting with a pin in the consolation quarterfinals.
"I wanted to get third, but getting in the top five was pretty good," Dixie said. "We have a few more weeks and I have to just keep getting better."
Gonzalez said the gauntlet of three difficult tournaments in four weeks put a strain on the team but also showed them what needs to be done.
"We've seen everybody we need to see," he said. "We've seen every team that's going to be in the hunt. We have to get healthy the next couple of weeks and get ready for sectionals."
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
1. Ironwood Ridge 175.5 (2 champs, four total placers)
2. Cibola 165.5 (0, 5)
3. Sunnyside 148 (2, 6)
4. Mesa Mountain View 139 (0, 6)
5. Corona del Sol 134.5 (0, 4)
6. Horizon 133 (2, 4)
7. Chandler 128.5 (0, 5)
8. Desert Vista (0, 4)
9. Marcos de Niza (2, 3)
10. Amphitheather (1, 2)
11. Hamilton 100; 12. Thunderbird 97.5; 13. Safford 84; 14. Marana Mt. View 81.5; 15. Brophy 79; 16. Marana 73; 17. Basha 71.5; 18. Eagle Crest 71; 19. Sahuarita 69; 20. Highland 68.5; 21. Desert Mountain 63.5; 22. Boulder Creek 63.5; 23. Mingus 62.5; 24. Queen Creek 59; 25. Willcox 54; 26. Cienega 51; 27. Montwood 46; 28. Canyon del Oro 44; 29. Rio Rico 42.5; 30. Pueblo 39; 31. Silver City, Tucson 35; 33, Carl Hayden 34; 34. Maryvale 33; 35. Centennial 27; 36. Flowing Wells 23; 37. Socorro 5; 38. Paradise Valley 4.
106 - Gallego (Pueblo) dec. Olivas (Sunny), 5-3. Third - Moran (Chandler) dec. Jaimes (Cibola), 4-3. Fifth - Sapien (Montwood) dec. Calderon (Mary), 12-6.
113 - Felipe (Thunder) dec. Matt (Horizon), 7-4. Third - Janis (Mar MtV) maj. dec. Sanchez (Mont), 10-0. Fifth - Mathers (Desert Vista) pin Martinez (Maryvale), :38.
120 - Andrews (Safford) dec. Maxson (Horizon), 8-1. Third - Uribe (Queen Creek) dec. Carrasco (Thunder), 5-3. Fifth - Sanchez (Cienega) by default over Brady (Chandler).
126 - Wilson (IR) dec. Pennuri (Mesa Mtv), 5-0. Third - Camarillo (Cibola) dec. Hernandez (Hayden), 14-8. Fifth - Miranda (Sunny) dec. Ulinarri (Hamilton), 16-10 .
132 - Morales (MdNiza) dec. Moraga (Sunny), 2-1. Third - Nunez (Cibola) dec. Walton (Corona), 4-2 . Fifth - Goettl (Mingus) dec. Nielson (Mesa MtV), 1-0.
138 - Piedra (Sunny) dec. Cartagena (Corona), 5-1. Third - Sobarzo (Desert Vista) dec. Monty (Mesa MtV), 9-4. Fifth - Moran (Chandler) dec. Moreno (Cibola), 3-0.
145 - Wood (Horizon) dec. Monty (Mesa MtV), 5-1. Third - Lopez (Rio Rico) dec. Gaud (Cibola), 5-4. Fifth - Schmidt (Brophy) dec. Gomez (Willcox), 6-2.
152 - Filbert (Ironwood Ridge) dec. Landrum (Corona), 15-8. Third - Varner (Brophy) tech. fall Darveaqux (Highland), 15-0 . Fifth - Buelna (Chandler) dec. Lightfoot (Mingus) 5-1.
160 - Patrick (Des. Mtn) maj. dec. Bingham (Ironwood Ridge), 15-2. Third - Huber (Mesa MtV) maj. dec. Savage (Chandler), 10-1. Fifth - Razo (Cibola) pin Pugh (Thunder), 2:37.
170 - Ryan (Horizon) pin Freibaum (Marna), :52. Third - Morales (Cibola) dec. Dixie (Desert Vista) dec. 4-3. Fifth - Alvarado (Chandler) dec. Moore (Queen Creek), 8-3.
182 - Allen (Highland) pin Beauford (Eagle Crest), 3:15. Third - Andresen (Hamilton) dec. Robles (Sahuarita), 6-0. Fifth - Olson (Desert Mountain) by default over Ward (Safford).
195 - Pavlenko (Marcos) dec. Burgoyne (Hamilton), 5-3. Third - Alvarez (Mar. MtV) pin Miller (Willcox), 4:36. Fifth - Cantelme (Boulder Creek) by default over Bambic (Desert Vista).
220 - Gonzalez (Sunny) dec. Humphries (Basha), 7-3. Third - Floyd (Amphi) pin Overly (Mesa MtV), 4:56. Fifth - Garcia (Cienega) dec. Frank (Brophy), 7-3.
HVY - Austin (Amphi) pin Joseph (Hamilton), :39 . Third - Castro (Marcos de Niza) dec. Otuafi (Ironwood Ridge), 2-1. Fifth - Rodriguez (Corona) dec. Villegas (Sunnyside), 3-2 2 OT.
106 - Juaqin Olivas, SUNNYSIDE Dec Rafael Jaimes, CIBOLA, 8-6; ALVARO GALLEGO, PUEBLO Dec Tristan Moran, CHANDLER, 7-1
113 - Ryan Felipe, THUNDERBIRD Dec Luis Martinez, MARYVALE, 5-2; Travis Matt, HORIZON Dec Bailey Janis, MARANA MT. VIEW, 4-3.
120 - William Maxson, HORIZON by default Dalton Brady, CHANDLER; Trey Andrews, SAFFORD M-Dec Cristian Sanchez, CIENEGA, 12-0.
126 - Octavio Penunuri, MESA MT. VIEW Dec Sergio MIranda, SUNNYSIDE, 8-5; Trevor Willson, IRONWOOD RIDGE Fall Isaac Camarillo, CIBOLA, 3:40.
132 - Raul Moraga, SUNNYSIDE Dec Luis Nunez, CIBOLA, 5-3; Jesse Morales, MARCOS de NIZA M-Dec Hank Goettl, MINGUS, 12-2.
138 - Daniel Cartagena, CORONA DEL SOL Dec Dalton Moran, CHANDLER, 9-2; Andres Piedra, SUNNYSIDE M-Dec Blake Monty, MESA MT. VIEW, 10-2.
145 - Bryant Wood, HORIZON Dec Austin Schmidt, BROPHY PREP, 3-0; Seth Monty, MESA MT. VIEW M-Dec Anthony Gomez, WILLCOX, 11-0.
152 - Matt Filbert, IRONWOOD RIDGE Fall Marshall Varner, BROPHY PREP, 0:21; Jason Landrum, CORONA DEL SOL Fall Mason Darveaqux, HIGHLAND, 3:07.
160 - Adam Bingham, IRONWOOD RIDGE Dec Jawuan Pugh, THUNDERBIRD, 5-2; Dante Patrick, DESERT MOUNTAIN M-Dec Daniel Savage, CHANDLER, 16-3.
170 - Scott Freibaum, MARANA Fall Hayden Moore, QUEEN CREEK, 4:16; Garrett Ryan, HORIZON Fall Diego Alvarado, CHANDLER, 2:31.
182 - Christiaan Allen, HIGHLAND AZ T-Fall Seth Ward, SAFFORD; Trevon Beauford, EAGLE CREST Dec Justin Olson, DESERT MOUNTAIN, 4-2.
195 - Alex Burgoyne, HAMILTON Dec Ricky Alvarez, MARANA MT. VIEW, 7-6; Adam Pavlenko, MARCOS de NIZA Fall Ben Miller, WILLCOX, 3:58.
220 - Cedric Gonzalez, SUNNYSIDE Fall Chase Frank, BROPHY PREP, 2:10; Jared Humphries, BASHA Dec Jones Floyd, AMPHITHEATER, 4-2 OT.
HVY - Patrick Joseph, HAMILTON Dec Richard Castro, MARCOS de NIZA, 4-1 OT; Andrade Austin, AMPHITHEATER Dec Ricky Villegas, SUNNYSIDE, 8-1.