Div. II state wrestling: Seton has team lead, 10 area wrestlers make finals

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Updated: February 16, 2016

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PRESCOTT VALLEY – Seton Catholic has been laying the foundation for a team state wrestling championship for the last few years.

It is just about set.

The Sentinels had a very good first day of wrestling Thursday at the Division II state wrestling tournament at the Prescott Valley Event Center.

The decision to hire Erik Larkin, one of Arizona’s most accomplished wrestlers, a few years back was intended to bring a championship mentality to the program that was near extinction at one time because of a lack of numbers.

Now the numbers Seton Catholic is putting up are just fine as in seven wrestlers advanced to the semifinals on the first day of competition with five of them winning to find their to title match.

It gave the Sentinels a 132 to 114.5 lead over Liberty heading into Friday’s final day of action.

“Five finalists is a pretty good that number that sets up pretty well,” Larkin said. “We still have to put a few more wins together but we feel like we are in good spot.”

The finalists for Seton Catholic are Weston Milnes-Bowers (138), Vincent Dolce (145), two-time champion Quentin Hovis (152), state champion Brandon Konecny (160) and Bridger Barker (182),

Konecny topped Queen Creek’s Matt Saba in a match that didn’t see much action, but it was never in doubt as to who was going to win after Konecny scored two near fall points at the end of the second period.

“He wasn’t going to score on me,” Konecny said. “He was getting in on my legs or doing anything on bottom. I had to stay patient and trust that my conditioning and the work I’ve done would get me the win.”

The Groves brothers – Gator (126) and Marco (132) – are in position to win their second titles after cruising to the finals to push their combined records to 119-2 on the season.

Campo Verde had four semifinalists, but were able to get one into the finals.

“That was just about best case scenario,” Coyotes coach Chris Bishop said before the semifinals. “We had some good performances and now we have to finish it.”

Only senior Alex Dunham (126) was able to get through as Billy Fiore (145), Jeff Smith (195) and Trevor Kauer (220) placed but lost in the semis.

Fiore lost to Poston Butte’s Shavez Hawkins to give the area one more shot at a champion.

Mesquite state champion Roy Lopez is in the Division II title match after winning the heavyweight championship in Division I a year ago.

Lopez pinned Maricopa’s Dakota Halverson in 4:32 to move to 25-0 on the year.

The Wildcats’ other semifinalist came up short as Spencer Stagg lost 4-0 to Sunrise Mountain’s Caden Perez at 106.

Queen Creek twice matched up with Seton in the semifinals and settled for a split as Saba lost Konecny, but Denen Fernandez gave the Bulldogs a shot at a champion after beating Seton’s Jacob Garcia 9-0.

Skyline’s Kolo Uasike will have to settle for a spot on the podium rather than a championship after losing 9-3 to Cholla’s Jerome Doss.

* Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 orjskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPSkoda.

 

By Jason P. Skoda, Prep Sports Director

Action from the first round of the Arizona state wrestling tournament for Division I and Division II in Prescott Valley.

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