KINGMAN - Finishing in fifth place at this weekend's Joseph City Invitational shows that the Lee Williams High wrestling team is taking significant steps forward. But winning the Ron Morris Outstanding Sportsmanship Award shows that the Volunteers are achieving beyond expectations for a squad made up of freshmen and sophomores.
"The most important thing is that this was the first team award for the kids," said LWHS coach Tom Jonseck. "Assistant coach Daniel O'Hara could not be more proud of the kids. They went out, competed and looked good doing it."
Lee Williams went 5-2 at the tournament as a team. The Volunteers defeated Many Farms (48-26), Bourgade Catholic (46-36), Antelope (48-18) and host Joseph City (54-24). Lee Williams fell to Flagstaff (66-12), which finished second overall at the tournament. The Volunteers also lost to a team comprised of extras from the other teams (42-30).
"The kids wrestled great," Jonseck said. "Things are starting to click for them now."
Nick Verville led the Volunteers with a second-place finish at 120 pounds. Verville went 8-1 in the tournament and is now 19-3 overall. Verville, a freshman, suffered his only loss to a senior from Pinnacle.
Lee Williams also had four wrestlers who all placed sixth. Richard Serrano at 126 (5-3), Kip Penny at 285 (5-3), Devin Arnett at 182 (5-3), and Kyle Wegner at 195 (4-4) earned medals for the Volunteers.
"Our main goal was to bring back a few medals," the coach said. "I never thought we would be one place out from winning a trophy."
Also grappling at the tournament for Lee Williams was Tiberius Williams (5-2), Dylan Nicoletti (4-3), Trevor Shaffer (3-4), Timmy Lutz (3-4) and Matt Allbee (3-4). Jeremiah Graffius (4-3) won by pin in just 11 seconds in his last match of the day.
"All in all, this was a great weekend for the team. It shows that we as a team are headed in the right direction as a young program," Jonseck said. "These kids amaze me more and more every week."
The Volunteers next wrestle River Valley and Buckeye today at 3 p.m. in Mohave Valley.