The Hayden High School wrestling team is back and better than ever. The Lobos ended the season winning six out their last seven team dual meet matches in preparation for the state sectional tournament this weekend.
The Lobos achieved more than Hayden High School head wrestling coach Jeff Gregorich expected this year. One of the biggest wins of the year for the Lobos was beating state wrestling power house San Manuel High School 42-30 on Jan. 7. “The Lobo wrestling program had a 20 year losing streak to the Miners,” said Gregorich.
“Other notable victories include team dual meet wins over San A Cruz Union High School, 33-30, and Globe High School, 42-30, as well,” Gregorich Added.
The Hayden wrestling team ended their season with 11 dual meet team wins, 10 loses, and one tie. He said that the most notable achievement of the season was the fourth place finish in the 16 team Salt River Wrestling Championships. Nine out of 11 Lobo wrestlers walked away with individual medals. Gregorich said that it was a big improvement considering the Lobos placed 16th last year or in last place.
Individual wrestlers placing in the tournament were: Brandon Cruz, placed second at 106 pounds; Austin White, placed fourth at 120 pounds; Ryan Donovan, placed second at 126 pounds; Manuel Palofox, fourth place at 126 pounds; Jacob Marquez, placed fifth at 132 pounds; Roman Romero, placed third at 145 pounds; Manny Armenta, placed second at 170 pounds; Francisco Moreno, placed fourth at 195 pounds; and Juan Hernandez, placed fifth at 220 pounds.
Gregorich said, “I believe the key element to the success of the Hayden wrestling team this year is the number of wrestlers that came out. Hayden wrestlers started the season with 13 wrestlers and finished with eleven. Prior to this year, the Lobo wrestling teams averaged only five wrestlers a year. That made winning team dual meet matches and tournaments impossible. Not only did we have more wrestlers, but the toughness of our wrestlers made other teams’ wrestlers and coaches take notice. On more than one occasion, I had officials and coaches tell me how much the Lobos had improved this year and that they were all glad to see the Lobo wrestling program back in action.”
“I feel that we made significant improvement this year, but I know we need too and will continue to improve over the coming years. Most of the wrestlers are first or second years wrestlers which make it difficult to compete with some of the more experienced and established wrestling teams, but surprisingly my wrestlers outperformed my expectations this season,” stated Gregorich.
“I look forward to the next few years as some very talented junior high wrestlers come up to the high school with prior wrestling experience. I believe if we continue to improve and work hard we will be taking the next step with our program, which is to bring home a state wrestling championship,” Gregorich said.
The Lobo wrestlers are preparing for the State Sectional Wrestling Tournament this weekend in Benson. Individual Lobos ended their regular season with good overall records and high hopes for the state wrestling tournament. Individual regular season records are; Brandon Cruz (19-13 overall), Austin White(12-18 overall), Ryan Donovan (17-12 overall), Manuel Polofox (12-10 overall), Jacob Marquez (9-3 overall), Roman Romero (21-8 overall), Ernesto Magallenez (5-12 overall), Manny Armenta (17-12 overall), Francisco Moreno (21-13 overall), Juan Hernandez (23-10 overall), and Antonio Treviso (23-9 overall).
The Lobo wrestling motto this year is “No Excuses.” Good luck Lobo wrestlers at State!