The Hayden High School Seniors, Francisco Moreno and Manny Armenta, end their season by wrestling deep in the state wrestling championship tournament held on Feb. 14 and 15 in Prescott. Moreno placed in the top eight at the 195 lb. weight class. He won four matches and lost two. Armenta won three matches and lost two finishing in the top 12 wrestlers at the 170 lb. weight class.
“Both wrestlers saved their best wrestling for the state tournament,” said Gregorich. “They beat some tough opponents and put a positive end to a great season for themselves and the Lobo Wrestlers.”
Junior Juan Diego Hernandez and Sophomore Antonio Treviso also won two matches at state and lost two.
The season ended in a crazy way because of the postponement of the section wrestling tournament schedule in Benson on Feb. 7 due to a skin infection. Gregorich said, “I have been around wrestling for 40 years and have never seen a post season wrestling tournament postponed due to a relatively common skin problem in wrestling. I guess it is better to be safe when it comes to student health.”
The AIA and health officials perceived the infections found on some wrestlers as a potential harmful outbreak and dangerous to the wrestlers.
Gregorich commented, “The delay of one week worked to our advantage because Moreno was hurt and may have needed to sit out the sectionals and would not have qualified for state. In addition, the entire wrestling team had a chance not only to watch the state wrestling tournament, but to participate in the event.”
“I have always believed that the first step for any wrestler is to get to the state tournament, the next is to place at state. This crazy finish to the AIA wrestling season will help the Lobo wrestling program take the next step,” Gregorich added.
The larger than normal state wrestling championship event took more time, especially the first day of wrestling. Day one ended after midnight. This didn’t provide much sleep for Moreno and Armenta but they said that the adrenaline of wrestling the second day at the state wrestling championship tournament keep them fired up.
“The experience of participating in the state wrestling tournament, especially for the young wrestlers will build confidence. It isn’t enough just to go to state next year, we want to take home some medals too. I feel we have the potential to be a top 10 wrestling team at state next year. We have a great deal of talent coming up and returning back next year. I feel we are just going to get better and move into that next level of teams,” said Gregorich.