Photo by JT Keith.
KINGMAN – Lee Williams senior Nic Verville’s sole mission this season has been to dominate his 132-pound weight division.
For five years he has put everything into winning a state championship. As a freshman, he made it to state as a 126-pounder, but did not place. In his sophomore and junior years he has finished in third place at 132 pounds.
“I’m going in there to dominate,” Verville said. “I put in my whole life into the last five years. I came up short the last three years. “This is the first year I can say that I have no doubt in my mind, and that I’m fully confident I’m going to win. Spiritually, I’m ready.”
Verville’s quest to win the championship began Thursday, he knows some of the wrestlers he may face at state, but no matter who is put in front of him, Verville feels he will beat them.
“I’m a very spiritual person as it is,” Verville said. “This Friday is a triple threat, it is a full moon, a comet, and a solar eclipse which means the universe is telling me it is my time.”
Verville’s go to move for a takedown is a high crotch, which he wants to execute in the first 10 seconds of the match to let his opponent know he is there for business.
“Nic is one of the best kids I have ever seen on his feet,” Vols wrestling coach Dan Ondrejka said. “He is quick and can scramble like no other. When he lost to Daniel Rios, he lost on his feet. Rios exposed something and we’ve been working on it.”
For Verville, this weekend may be the most important of his life. He is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to be a champion. Time will tell if he is good enough.
Thursday’s action, Round 1: Verville won by fall over Zachary Salberg (Prescott) 2:56.
Quarterfinal: Verville won by fall over Zachery Sias (Safford) 0:36.http://s200.trackwrestling.com/tw/PortalPlayer.jsp?videoId=343255076
Bulldogs’ senior wanting a place
Kingman wrestler Ramon Chavez is finally going to state. Last season he barely missed the call. As the leader of a young team Chavez had a dominating season, winning 28 times this year.
One of the things he was worried about before heading to Prescott for the state meet was if he would make weight. As he weighed himself the scale said exactly 145-pounds.
“I’m pretty excited I was .4 of a point away from going last year,” Chavez said. “That’s when all the seniors who taught me how to wrestle went. I wanted to go with them. This year, the year after means a lot to me, so I can tell them how far I’ve come.”
With the graduation of several senior’s Bulldogs, coach Brandon Clor has had to rely on Chavez to provide leadership for the younger wrestlers. With just one senior and very little experience, Chavez a junior has led by example, becoming the only Kingman wrestler to qualify for the state tournament.
“I know at state I can’t get on my heels when I get tired,” Chavez said. “I need to keep my hips back, and focus on my feet, and keeping my head up.”
Chavez’s goal is to wrestle hard this weekend and do his best. For him to win state he may have to wrestle the guy that defeated him at last weekend’s AIA Division 3 Section 3 tournament.
“We are looking for Ramon to place this weekend,” Clor said. “The guy we wrestled and lost to, we hadn’t seen before and didn’t know what to expect. Ramon hadn’t seen him this year. The guy came real heavy on his head and we worked on that this week.”
In Thursday’s 2017 AIA State Championship results: Round 1 (29-7) won by fall over Patrick Allison (Apache Junction) by a fall 2:49.
In Chavez’s quarterfinal match Lucas Svoboda won by decision over Chavez 8-3.
Freshman went for title
Lee Williams freshman Jimmy Wayman has no problem getting ready for his state match. In fact, he feels that wrestling for the Vols helps him get better and deal with the pressure.
Wayman thinks his offseason work ethic has put him in this position to win a title at state this weekend. He has wrestled for seven years. He has gone to several wrestling camps, all that of has prepared him for this meet. Wayman has wrestled for his current Lee Williams coach Dan Ondrejka, and for Ondrejka club wrestling team, The Falcons.
It is easy to compare Wayman to his teammate, senior Nic Verville. Both are going to state winners, both started their high school career at 126-pounds and both made their first appearance at state as freshmen.
“It is definitely what you put in, is what you’re going to get out of it, Wayman said. “ I wouldn’t be here without coach Ondrejka’s help.”
As an Ondrejka protégé, Wayman goes back to fundamentals as the key to his success on the mat. One of the main reasons he is having a winning season has been a move called riding. Riding allows him to be on top and control his man until his opponent gets tired. This move gives him a chance to rest while his opponent is underneath straining to break free.
“I’m ready for state this weekend,” Wayman said. “There is always going to be pressure when you’re on the mat, but I’m going to give 100 percent. If I walk off the mat knowing I gave 100 percent, then I will be satisfied.”
Wayman will look to finish opponents off this week, with his two strongest moves fireman carry, or front headlock.
“For Jimmy to win 40 matches this year was huge,” Ondrejka said. “He has done something that only Nic (Verville) has done in this school. We have worked on him with his riding skills and taught him how to ride someone. He has won matches 2-0 by riding them. That’s going to be huge for him this weekend. A lot of things we do is ride kids out.”
Riding has allowed Wayman to apply pressure to his opponents and do gut wrenches and wear them down. Ondrejka prefers his team to ride out their opponents until the third and then take over a match when their opponents are tired.
Wayman is looking to ride enough opponents to a state title.
In Thursday’s round 1 action: Wayman won by fall over Loren Garcia (Cortez) 1:1.
Quarterfinal Dylan Keeney (Payson) won by major decision over Wayman 13-2.
Ashton the Newcomer
For Lee Williams, junior heavyweight wrestler Edmond Ashton’s first-year of wrestling has been a success. Ashton has never wrestled competitively before this season. He came out for the team just to have fun. Ashton wanted to go against the best at Lee Williams and try to beat them.
While other Vols wrestlers favorite moves are tight waist or to ride an opponent, Ashton go to move is called the “powerhouse.”
“I like to powerhouse them and leg trip them over,” Ashton said. “I credit coach (Dan) Ondrejka’s for showing me my shots and some breakdowns. Everything I need to know for wrestling.”
Once on the mat, Ashton is not a patient wrestler constantly on the attack and looking to pin his opponent quickly with his shot.
The key for Ashton this weekend is to push the tempo and not wait for his opponent to set the pace. With another year left he feels that he can get better next season.
While waiting for the command to wrestle, Ashton looks across the mat at his opponent thinking:
“What’s my first move,” Ashton said. What should I put on my opponent, and what position should I not put myself into.”
Ashton has won 40 matches as a first-year wrestler, which has shocked his teammates and coaches.
“I didn’t expect to make it to state, but it motivates me to go even harder.”
“Ashton is extremely intelligent when it comes to being on the mat,” Ondrejka said. “His mat awareness has helped him this year, and he is extremely coachable. If you ask his football coaches, they would say the same thing. If you show Ashton one thing he gets it the first time.”
In Thursday’s action, Champ. Round 1 Ashton 47-9 won by decision over Ben Martinez (Marcos De Niza) 21-15 (Dec 4-0).
Quarterfinal - Jaisen Brown (Show Low) 47-1 won by fall over Ashton 47-9 (Fall 1:22).
Shaffer experiences state
What Dylan Shaffer has been exposed to in the Lee Williams wrestling room is confidence. Maybe it is because he gets to train with the supremely confident Nic Verville, or freshman Jimmy Wayman, or that he is going to state with Edmond Ashton. No matter, he expects to do well and win.
Shaffer is making up for lost time. He missed last season with a broken nose and this season he is on a mission to make up for last year.
“I’m just going to do what I do best,” Shaffer said. “I know there are a lot of big headed people out there, so I’m going to pull some upsets if I can. I will leave everything I have on the mat.”
Shaffer is looking to make the most of his first appearance at state as a chance to redeem himself for some of the losses he has experienced this season. In his last match he hesitated, slowing down his natural aggressiveness. When he gets on the mat this weekend he plans on being the aggressor.
“It means a lot to me to go to state,” Shaffer said. “It kind of surprised me at first. I was hoping to have a decent showing in Division 3 Section 3 tournament. I did, but now it means more to me going to state.”
Shaffer’s power move at a 160-pounds is a tight waist, he feels in control being on top of his opponent to start the match, as opposed to being on bottom.
“He didn’t even wrestle last season because of a facial injury,” Lee Williams wrestling coach Dan Ondrejka said. “Dylan rally hit the weights hard and that is a big part of his success. He is always wanting to look at video and is always asking questions. Dylan is really strong when he pushes the pace.”
This weekend will come down to Shaffer wrestling at his own pace. He will find out if he is ready, because his opening match will be against the No. 1 seed in the 160-pound division.
Shaffer dream of becoming a champion will have to wait until next season.
In Thursday’s action, Round 1: Jackson Allen (Show Low) won by a fall over Shaffer, 0:52.
Cons. Round 1 Marco Rodriguez (Safford) won a decision over Shaffer 7-5.