Article Courtesy of Jason P. Skoda. MyNewsMesa.com
By the end the voice was a little raspier, the Desert Ridge hat was crooked on Travis Jackson’s head and the Jaguars were huddle around their wrestling coach as he held the Division I, Section I wrestling championship plaque.
The first in program history.
“There’s so much that has gone into this,” Jackson said. “We set a state record for state qualifiers (12), had five sectional champions, but we won it because of the guys on the bottom (consolation bracket) came through.
“I had a mentor – Herb Stinson who is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame – tell me a long ago that your studs are going to be studs, but you win as a team when the guys come through on the bottom. These guys have bought into the team concept and this is what happens when you fully commit to something.”
The Jaguars sealed the title by going five for five in the championship round as Alex Wood (126), Antonio Esteban (145), Cody Lewis (160), Dillon Stevenson (182) and Bailey Young (HVY) secured a top four seed at the Division I state tournament on Thursday in Prescott Valley.
Wood finished third last year, Esteban was diagnosed with form of Hodgkin’s disease after last season, Lewis placed a sophomore, but failed to last year, Stevenson recovered from two dislocated shoulders to win his first title and Young won his title in overtime.
In other words, nothing came easy for this group.
“We’ve been working toward this since our freshmen year,” said Stevenson, who pinned Kofa’s Jose Rascon in overtime for the title. “We had a lot of things to overcome and we did it.”
Desert Ridge won the 10-team tournament with 206.5 points to top Mountain View (186) and Kofa (181.5).