Sports & Health
Brothers; Curtis, Adrian and Christian Lopez all pose before their meet. Photo courtesy of Henry Osif
Salt River High School Wrestling Update
By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

Battle for the Nest Meet

On March 27, SRHS hosted the third annual Battle for the Nest Tournament. Representing the Ba’ag Wrestling Club for Salt River were Curtis Lopez, Christian Lopez, Joaquin Suniga and Emilio Garcia, who battled for the championship trophy to stay at the high school this year. The team went up against Tohono O’odham High School (T.O).

At the beginning of the event, the young Ba’ag team members were introduced and had the chance to sit on the team bench with the SRHS varsity wrestling team for the entire dual meet. Curtis was first to take to the mat and won his match for the first time against another youth from T.O. His younger brother Christian followed and was able to also score points for the team. Both have showed great improvement in building their skills.

This was the third time that SRHS has competed against Tohono O’odham High School. It started out as an event only for high school wrestlers, and then this year they got two clubs together and had some opening matches for the younger students. From Ba’ag there was a fourth-, seventh- and eighth-grader to compete in the opening matches. And the younger wrestlers also got to sit on the team bench.

The club kids did well; the coach went over how some of the participants did from Salt River: Curtis Lopez and Suniga won their matches by pins, and Christian Lopez won his by points. Emilio Garcia tied up the match.

Tohono O’odham High School won the tournament at the end, scoring 24 points to SRHS’s 18 points. So the trophy took a road trip down south to T.O. It has been sitting at Salt River High School for a while and will be missed. Next year Salt River wrestlers say they plan to travel to T.O. and bring it back to the Community.

The dual meet showcased two wrestlers at a time, which is a great way to highlight the wrestlers.

Youth Club practices have started for the spring and are open to all ages; there is no cost and a waiver must be signed. Practice starts at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Salt River High School at (480) 362-2000.

Jason James, Jr. Qualifies for the Arizona National Team

Salt River High School state wrestling champion Jason James, Jr. recently qualified for the Arizona National Team with a third-place finish at this year’s events. As James placed third in the tournament, earning a spot on his second Arizona National Team, he will represent the State of Arizona at the 2016 ASICS/Vaughan Cadet-Junior National Championships on both the Freestyle and Greco-Roman teams in Fargo, North Dakota, July 18-25 (http://usawevents.sportngin.com/fargo).

James became the third student from SRHS to qualify for a national competition, following his first qualification in 2014 in his freshman year, and Orlanthia Chase, who qualified in 2015, her senior year.

James qualifies along with 35 other students from all over Arizona. “There will be a lot of preparation ahead of him, including fundraising and getting ready for this tournament,” said SRHS wrestling coach Na Humma.

“On the Ba’ag tournament, it wasn’t a bad turnout; I wrestled with an injured knee and ankle too, but none of them bothered me, although my stance was hard to keep during the matches,” said James. “My first match wasn’t so good, but in my second match I pinned a guy in the third round.

“My whole season has been a blast. I will be going to Fargo to compete, then I will continue my football and wrestling season back at Salt River for the last time during my senior year.”

James will also be refereeing for freestyle club wrestling and will be on travel to ref for the state of Arizona. His coach said James will become the first wrestling referee developed out of Salt River High School.

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