By Frank Smith
The Miners will be under the direction of first year Head Coach Daniel Najera. Najera has been an assistant coach with the Miners for five years and was an assistant coach at Empire High School for three years. The Miners will also have the services of assistant coaches Amanda Trejo and Pablo Robles.
San Manuel is ranked second in Sectionals and sixth in Division IV State, with a 35-15 Dual Record from last season after finishing third at Sectionals and placing eleventh at State.
The Miners lost seven starter from last years team but will return five starters in Frankie Tamayo, a junior wrestling at 106 lbs. who was a State Qualifier last season. Marty Rodriguez, a senior wrestling at 126 lbs. who placed sixth at state in 2010.
Colten Smith, a Junior wrestling at 152 lbs. placing third and fourth at state in 2011 and 2012. Adrian Torres, a junior wrestling at 160 lbs. placed sixth at state in 2012 and Gilbert Boyer, a junior wrestling at Heavyweight is also a state qualifier.
The top returners to this year’s squad are Marco Salas, a sophomore wresting at 106 lbs., Anthony Lopez, a junior wrestling at 120 lbs. Cisco Medina, a sophomore wresting at 132 lbs., Gary Maestas, a senior wrestling at138 lbs. Jared Gonzales, a sophomore wrestling at 138lbs., Shane Kelly, a sophomore wrestling at 145 lbs. and Manny Reynoso, a sophomore wrestling at 195 lbs.
Top Newcomers are Freshman Joseph Lopez wrestling at 115lbs, Patrick Lopez wrestling 115lbs, and Lawrence Sanchez wrestling at 220lbs.
Coach Najera said, “Hard Work & Dedication is the theme for this season’s wrestling campaign. After a great spring and summer offseason that consisted of tournaments, open mat, practices and wrestling camps, the 2012-13 squad feels prepared to compete for the section title. That has been the burning desire since last February.
The Miners return 5 out of 14 wrestlers from last year’s Varsity squad, with 3 of those 14 being state placers. With great leadership and JV wrestlers from last year squad ready to crack the line up, we will be very competitive. We’re reloading, not rebuilding. We also have a great incoming class of freshman wrestlers that so far have shown a lot of enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
San Manuel will be a junior dominated team that will most likely be ranked in the top 5 in Division IV when the ranking come out later next month. This year’s schedule is challenging but nothing the Miners can’t handle. The Miners will be wrestling the top teams in 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A. This gauntlet of a schedule should more than prepare us for the region and state meets.
The Miners varsity squad will get it started today with a meet in Florence at 4pm – taking on Coolidge, Tombstone, Florence, and Paradise Valley.
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