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Division III wrestling: Amphitheater, Safford loom large in title chase

February 10, 2016 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Amphitheater wrestling has been on the cusp of a championship breakthrough of late. The Panthers have back-to-back runner-up fnishes in Division III. Two of the top contenders from last year -- champion Thunderbird and third-place Seton Catholic -- are gone. Both are batting for the top slot in D-II this year. It would figure to be Amphi's turn with five state-placers returning.

But Safford and Show Low may have something to say about that Friday (Feb. 12) and Saturday (Feb. 13) at this year's state tournament at Prescott Valley Event Center in Prescott Valley.

Amphi's lineup is features (seven seniors and juniors of its 11 qualifiers), which may give it an edge. However, last week at sectionals Amphi settled for second behind Safford, which is dominated by underclassmen (four sophomores and two freshmen among a deep lineup). Safford was the lone D-III contender to compete in the Flowing Wells Invite and finished fifth overall behind D-I and D-II powers. Amphi, Safford and Show Low each qualified 11 for state. Amphi and Show Low bring five section champs each and Safford four.

Amphi is led by Kyle Rodriguez, Yarhoki Aldiva and Cris Sanchez. Safford's lineup is powered by Chanse Rios and Dawon Andrews. Show Low by Jackson Allen, Willie Wyatt and Jaisen Brown.

Here are the top four seeds in each weight class, plus divison champions returning from last season.

Last year's returning champions: Isaac Cabrera, Coconino, senior (106). Cabrera is competing at 113 this year. He was 47-4 last year and brings a 44-7 record. He placed fifth in 2014. Jackson Allen, Show Low, sophomore (113). Allen is competing at 138 this year. He was 44-3 last year and brings a 21-3 record this year. Yarhoki Aldiva, Amphitheater, senior (132). Aldiva was 45-9 last year and is competing again at 132. He brings a 49-4 record this year. Kyle Rodriguez, Amphitheater, senior (195). Rodriguez was 46-4 last year and competiing again at 195. He brings a 47-0 record this year. He pinned all four opponents in winning state in 2015, placed third in 2014 and sixth in 2013.

106-pounds: 1. Diego Guerrero, Walden Grove. 2. Jonathan Ruiz, Yuma. 3. Hunter Bateman, Show Low. 4. Nathan Smith, Williams Field. 113: 1. Adan Guillen, Tempe. 2. Jacob Frias, . 3. Carlos Alcantar, Yuma. 4. Dante Garcia, Page. 120: 1. Byron Finch, Safford. 2. Elias Gonzales, Tempe. 3. Adrian Gomez, Yuma. 4. JC Mortensen, Chino Valley.126: 1. Kendall Foster, Chino Valley, 2. Ramiro Vasquez, Yuma. 3. Joey Basila, Sabino. 4. David Marquez, Coolidge. 132: 1. Yarhoki Aldiva, Amphitheater. 2. Raymond Correa, Coronado. 3. Mason Fagotti, Show Low. 4. Kuayveon Dyer, Sierra Linda. 138: 1. Jackson Allen, Show Low. 2. Jaren Savage, Tempe. 3. Chanse Rios, Safford. 4. Max Alcala, San Luis. 145: 1. Dawon Andrews, Saffor. 2. Logan Lamoreaux, Williams Field. 3. Mason Wester, Kingman. 4. Camilo Dela Torre-Hern, Cortez.152: 1. Kyle Robbins, Cesar Chavez. 2. Treyton Jundt, Wickenburg. 3. Adam Henderson, Blue Ridge. 4. Saul Payan Diaz, Amphitheater.160: 1. Lisandro Soto, San Luis. 2. Gary Medevielle, Chino Valley. 3. Rafael Parades, Amphitheater. 4. Jesus Zamorano, Coolidge. 170: 1. Karl Halstead, Moon Valley. 2. Spence Coffin, Chino Valley. 3. Zane McKinney, Williams Field. 4. Ricky Telles, Sahuarita. 182: 1. Uriah Dobell, Coconino. 2. Jacob Advincula, Greenway. 3. Diego Huerta, Salpointe. 4. Briggs Conway, Williams Field.195:. 1. Kyle Rodriguez, Amphitheater. 2. Assis-El-S Abdul-Aziz, Apache Junction. 3. Wilie Wyatt, Show Low. 4. Adrian Madrid, Yuma. 220: 1. Jaisen Brown, Show Low. 2. Damien Mendez, Cesar Chavez. 3. Dustin Rivera, Buckeye. 4. Chase Umphres, Safford. HWT: 1. Cris Sanchez, Amphitheater. 2. Dakota Richardson, Page. 3. Malik Clark, Moon Valley. 4. Michael Uehling, Apache Junction.