KINGMAN – This past weekend the Lee Williams wrestling team took part in the 46th Annual Joseph City Wrestling tournament. The Volunteers finished with a 4-2 dual record and seventh out of 24 teams competing in the two day tournament.
Friday’s matches started out shaking as the Vols’ lost their opening matches to Arizona Lutheran 48-30 and to Pinnacle 39-33. The team bounced back and picked up wins against Flagstaff 42-39, Sierra Linda 45-30, and Valley Christian 78-6.
“For the level of competition that was there I was really happy to get six guys in,” Coach Dan Ondrejka said. “They wrestled well, but our goal here is to get guys ready to qualify for state and this was a good indicator on what we need to work on individually and as a team.”
In a dream season Lee Williams’ Nic Verville wrestling at 132 pounds continues his dominance in that weight class by defeating the No.1 ranked wrestler in Division IV. He was awarded Outstanding Wrestler.
The Vols qualified six wrestlers to the individual portion of the tournament.
Edmond Ashton (220) had a great tournament going 8-1 to finish fifth. He set a new record for fastest pin in school history with a six-second pin.
Jimmy Wayman (126) finished fourth with his only losses of the tournament coming to the top- ranked wrestlers in Division III and IV.
Dylan Shaffer (170) had a strong run also finishing fourth place.
Both Zachary Sanchez (138) and Trevor Shaffer (160) withdrew due to injury after the first round, finishing eighth.
“Joseph City is not the tournament it used to be,” Ondrejka said. “More teams were added with a lot of really good competition. We started out kind of slow, but picked it up by the end of day one.”
Lee Williams’ wrestlers return to the mat on today at 4 p.m., at Peoria High School against Dysart and Peoria
What a difference a year makes for the Kingman Bulldogs wrestling team. Last season they won the Colorado River Region Champions. They took four wrestlers to state and three of them placed. Ten of their wrestlers graduated and two of them did not return. Team captain and junior Ramon Chavez is the only full-time wrestler with any varsity experience on the team.
“We’ve also been hammered with eligibility issues,” coach Brandon Clor said. “We’ve have four wrestlers out of our lineup because of grades and several wrestlers quit over break. We forfeited five weights all weekend. That means we start down 30 points against another team with a full lineup.”
The Bulldogs went 0-6 this weekend losing on a tie breaker to Red Mesa 31-30, Sierra Linda 54-24, Page 67-9, Wickenberg 48-21, and Many Farms 36-30.
Still coach Clor was impressed with his team’s effort: Lucas Drummand (170) finished in eighth place, going 4-1 on Friday. Chavez (145), Kalani Levrets (152) and Paul Jones (182) all went 3-2.
The only senior on the team, Bryce Benevidez, (195), is giving a good effort in his first season wrestling.
Clor has a squad of young athletes with promise and he is encouraged the team will be better off next year, with more seasoning.
“However, the team turned the corner,” Clor said. “Looking better and gaining confidence. Nearly all of them contributed wins to the overall effort.”
The Bulldogs will compete again m when they travel to Shadow Mountain Thursday at 4 p.m.