The Salt River High School varsity wrestling team competed in the Cactus Classic Wrestling Tournament on December 9 and 10 in Glendale. While most teams brought 14-plus wrestlers to compete, the Eagles were two strong, with sophomores Blaine Hillis and Jesus Salazar competing.
Salt River’s wrestling coaches, Marc Hillis and Simon Smith, led a new team named “Team X,” which was a combination of individual wrestlers from various schools who were brought in as extras to the meet. Bourgade Catholic, Greenway, Sunrise Mountain, Cactus, Mingus, Millennium, Sahuarita, Dysart, Notre Dame, Catalina Foothills, Coronado, Valley Christian, Ironwood, Campo Verde, Liberty and Seton Catholic took part in the tournament.
Blaine Hillis took on a wrestler from Sahuarita in his first match, and Marc Hillis said he was the best opponent Blaine had faced all year. Blaine was down 4-1 when he suffered a sprained elbow and was knocked out of the competition.
“I felt he had a good shot at placing at the invitational, as his level of wrestling has improved this year,” coach Marc Hillis said. “I am not allowing him to push it, but he will be ready soon.”
Blaine’s record at press time was 6-7 on the year.
Salazar went 2-6 in the tournament. He won a forfeit over Notre Dame and pinned a Coronado wrestler. He suffered losses to Sahuarita, Greenway, Mingus, Williams Field, Cactus and Liberty.
“It was his first meet of the season and he did OK, especially since it was a big tournament with big schools,” Hillis said.
The coach said they have one new wrestler, Eugene Lewis, and he was glad he came out. “He’s learning, and his record stands at 3-6,” Hillis said.
Hillis encourages all wrestlers to come out, and so does his team.
“Our team is struggling this year, if one compares it to the success of last year’s squad,” he explained. “Injuries and bad grades are part of what has kept the level low this year. There is also the portion of kids that chose to not come out or those that left. I should have six or seven kids again this year.”
Hillis believes because the wrestling program demands a high level of commitment, such as good grades and practicing and competing at a high intensity level, that may have something to do with the decline.
“That’s just wrestling, and it is not an easy sport—otherwise everyone would do it,” Hillis said. “All we can do is look ahead and build with what we have.”
2012 Salt River Eagle
Salt River High School will host its first high school wrestling invitational. You are welcome to come and support this first ever event to be held in the Community at Salt River High School.
Bisbee HS, Cactus Shadows , Notre Dame Prep, Northwest Christian, Hopi, Valley Lutheran, San Carlos, Valley, Seton Catholic, Baboquivari, South Mountain, Catalina Magnet, Red Mesa, Phoenix Christian, Fairview (Boulder, CO)
Friday, January 13 8 a.m. Weigh-in
9:30 a.m. Coaches Meeting
10:30 a.m. Session 1 - Rounds1-2
1 p.m. Intermission
2 p.m. Session 2 – Rounds 3-4
Saturday, January 14 7 a.m. Weigh-in
9 a.m. Session 3- Rounds 5-7
2 p.m. Intermission
3 p.m. Coaches Meeting
4 p.m. Session 4 – Gold Medal Champion- ship Round
(Semis first, then Finals/Consolations/5th)
Immediately following Semis we will have the Parade of Finalists