The Deer Valley Middle School Wrestling Invitational took place on December 3 at Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix. This was an open tournament, and most of the teams were private club teams, where team members pay for their coaching and team membership. The Salt River junior high wrestling team competed, representing the school.
It was an extremely long day of competition for the wrestlers. The team left the school at 5:30 a.m. and did not wrestle in their first event until after 10 a.m. Head coach Simon Smith said the boys have to practice on keeping good mental focus in situations when they have long breaks between bouts.
“They have to wrestle, but they also have to continuously get mentally ready and physically warmed up to be ready to wrestle at different times throughout the morning, afternoon and early evening of the tournament,” he said.
Smith said the wrestlers performed well and are showing continuous improvement.
“Our wrestlers wrestle for a school that emphasizes academic eligibility to compete and travel to competitions,” he said. “Eighth-graders Chris Alanis-Mejia and Jeffrey Thomas attend Salt River High School for their algebra math class.”
Smith said the junior high wrestlers are continuing to progress. “This was only the third competition ever for four of our wrestlers, and only the second competition ever for Jeffrey (Thomas).”
Thomas won a bronze medal in the consolation round, beating a club wrestler from the Buckeye Falcons. In the semifinals, he competed against an eighth-grade club wrestler from Anthem, and Smith said he took his opponent the distance, with a 0-0 score heading into the third period.
“Our team did well considering no one on our team has more than two seasons of experience,” Smith said. “The boys had fun and are in good spirits.”
Denton Miguel competed in the 133-pound weight class and lost in the first round by pin. He was down 8-0 in the second round and was pinned in the second period. Thomas pinned his first opponent of the tournament in 20 seconds. Alanis-Mejia lost in his second-round match 12-0.
Alanis-Mejia, Miguel, Lakota Scabby, Thomas Brown, Andre Anas, Lavell Benally and Thomas competed in the tournament.
The junior high team is set to participate in the Mile High Tournament at Mile High Middle School in Prescott on December 17.