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5 Chino Valley wrestlers medal on final day of Mile High Challenge
Prep Wrestling

Five Chino Valley wrestlers medaled at the annual Mile High Challenge tournament Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Prescott Valley Event Center. They are, from left, 145-pounder Kyle Lund (sixth place), 120-pounder Wade Payne (fourth), 113-pounder Colby Evens (runner-up), 160-pounder Keller Rock (runner-up) and 126-pounder Lane Evens (third). (Kevin Giese/Courtesy)

Five Chino Valley wrestlers medaled at the annual Mile High Challenge tournament Saturday, Dec. 29, at the Prescott Valley Event Center. They are, from left, 145-pounder Kyle Lund (sixth place), 120-pounder Wade Payne (fourth), 113-pounder Colby Evens (runner-up), 160-pounder Keller Rock (runner-up) and 126-pounder Lane Evens (third). (Kevin Giese/Courtesy)

Cougars’ Colby Evens, Rock place 2nd; Prescott’s Tomitz finishes 5th

PRESCOTT VALLEY — Five Chino Valley wrestlers medaled on the final day of the Mile High Challenge Saturday, Dec. 29, at Prescott Valley Event Center, led by runners-up Colby Evens and Keller Rock.

Colton Tomitz of Prescott was the only other local wrestler to medal at the 31-team tournament that featured competitive squads of all levels from Arizona, California, Nevada and Wisconsin.

Tucson Sunnyside ran away with its second straight team championship trophy at the Challenge after tallying 275 points to runner-up Chandler Hamilton’s 195.5 points. Chino Valley finished fifth with 153 points. Prescott took 23rd and Bradshaw Mountain was 25th.

“We didn’t finish as well as we wanted, but many of the wrestlers came to wrestle, and they looked good,” Chino Valley coach Kevin Giese said of his Cougars’ Challenge performance. “This tournament should be a wake-up call for many of our wrestlers. We definitely need to get back in the wrestling room and clean a few things up.”

What follows is a synopsis for how Chino Valley, Prescott and Bradshaw Mountain’s grapplers fared on Day 2 of the Challenge.

CHINO VALLEY

Medalists

• 160 pounds: In a championship showdown between the top two seeds in the weight class, second-seeded Chino Valley junior Keller Rock narrowly lost to No. 1 seeded Horizon senior Scott Kellenberger, 6-4, for the runner-up medal.

Earlier, in the semifinals, Rock pinned third-seeded Canyon del Oro’s Zane McKissick in 47 seconds.

On opening day Friday, Rock registered pins of Payson’s Travis Christianson and Gilbert’s Daniel Gregory before beating Hamilton’s Freddy Latu by tech fall in the quarters.

Rock’s record stands at an impressive 38-2. Kellenberger improved to 20-1.

• 113: Third-seeded Cougars sophomore Colby Evens succumbed to top-seeded Tucson Sunnyside sophomore James Brown, 6-0, in the championship bout Saturday to take home the second-place medal.

Brown’s record remains unbeaten at 25-0, while Evens sits at 35-4.

Earlier, in the semifinals, Evens upset Chandler Hamilton’s Eric Ramos, the No. 2 seed, by decision, 9-5.

• 120: Third-seeded Chino Valley senior Wade Payne (37-5 record) lost to second-seeded Tucson Magnet sophomore Kaleb Pool, 12-4, to claim the fourth-place medal. And Payne had to fight every step of the way to do it.

Earlier in the consolations on Saturday, Payne won by forfeit over Chandler Hamilton’s Preston Ferrell and pinned Canyon del Oro’s Micha Berna in 2:30. He then qualified for the third-place match after upsetting top-seeded Tucson Sunnyside freshman Jaime Rivera in the consolation semis.

On Friday, Payne lost in the second round of the winners’ bracket but rallied in the consolations – tallying pins of Yuma Kofa’s Ricardo Caudillo, Prescott’s Blaise Wilson and Brillion’s (Wis.) Mavric Nohr.

• 126: Cougars senior Lane Evens pinned Yuma Kofa’s Isai Alonso in 2:54 to win the third-place medal, bouncing back nicely from an earlier defeat on Saturday.

In the winners’ bracket semifinals, Evens was pinned by top-seeded Tucson Sunnyside junior Jesse Ibarra in 1:31. Ibarra later won the championship buckle. Evens’ record stands at 32-6.

• 145: Senior Kyle Lund lost to top-seeded Brillion (Wis.) freshman Garnett Stebane in a narrow 7-5 decision to finish sixth.

Lund, who lost in the winners’ bracket’s third round on Friday, rallied in the consolations, pinning two straight opponents. He then defeated Campo Verde’s Alex Sandavol, 7-5, and St. Johns’ Trevor Harris, 7-3, before losing to second-seeded San Tan Valley Combs’ Corbin Nelson, 10-3.

Other Finishers

• 126: Chino Valley junior Zach Giese was a surprise in this tournament, bouncing back from a loss in the winners’ bracket to post three consecutive wins in the consolations. He subsequently lost to Deer Valley senior Jeremy Wilkins, coming within a victory of qualifying for the medal rounds.

• 132: Cody Jasper, a second-seeded junior who was upset in the winners’ bracket quarters by Chandler Hamilton’s Jonah Muhammad, came within a win of the medal rounds after beating Marcos de Niza’s Stefan Sulentic and losing to Liberty’s Cade Ignatov in the consolations.

• 152: Senior Clayton Stephenson lost in the winners’ bracket quarters, but he rallied in the consolations, pinning Sunnyside’s Ricky Escalante in 49 seconds before being eliminated from medal contention in a loss by tech fall to Yuma Kofa’s Anthony Morales. Morales later medaled.

• HWT: James McCormick lost in the winners’ bracket quarters and was later eliminated by Gilbert’s Manuel Meza, who pinned him in 2:27 in the consolations.

PRESCOTT

Medalists

• 126: Third-seeded Badgers junior Colton Tomitz pinned Glendale Deer Valley’s Wilkins in 1:50 to nab the fifth-place medal.

“I know that there’s always tougher competition out there, but I’ve just got to keep working to be the best,” Tomitz said afterward.

Earlier, in the winners’ bracket semifinals, the previously undefeated Tomitz lost by tech fall, 18-2, to second-seeded St. Johns’ Tanner Crosby at the 3:51 mark. Tomitz later lost, 14-2, to Yuma Kofa’s Alonso in the consolations to drop into the fifth-place match.

Other Finishers

• 132: Lincoln Eby, who narrowly lost to Tucson Magnet’s Ibrahim Sadi, the No. 4 seed, in the winners’ bracket quarters on Friday, forfeited to Brillion’s (Wis.) David Geiger in the consolations on Saturday to end his run.

• 145: Jack Northrup, who lost in the third round of the winners’ bracket on Friday, rallied in the consolations with two straight victories before being eliminated by Canyon del Oro’s Austin Pitts, 7-6.

• 220: Jadon Rummage, who lost in the first round of the winners’ bracket but won twice in the consolations on Friday, was eliminated Saturday after Tucson Magnet’s Santi Miranda pinned him in 48 seconds.

BRADSHAW MOUNTAIN

Top Finishers

• 113: Blake Huenemeyer, who lost in the second round of the winners’ bracket but moved on to win two matches by pin in the consolations on Friday, was eliminated by Mountain Pointe’s Keegan Arthur, 13-4. Arthur later placed fifth.

• 132: David Medevielle, who lost in the second round of the winners’ bracket and pinned his next two opponents in the consolations, was pinned in 54 seconds by Liberty’s Cade Ignatov on Saturday and eliminated. Ignatov later medaled.

• HWT: Cameron Harris, who lost in the first round of the winners’ bracket and pinned his next two opponents in the consolations, including teammate Payton Hines on Friday, was pinned by San Clemente’s (Calif.) Harold Robinson in 1:31 and eliminated on Saturday.

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