Sports Notebook: Wrestlers prep for a chance to win national team honors
Five Corona wrestlers have been training non-stop for the past two weeks as part of an elite group of athletes on the Arizona National Dual Wrestling Team who will represent the state later this summer in a quest for a national team title.
Other wrestlers on the team go to school at Sunnyside, Verrado, Cibola, Apollo, Cesar Chavez and Chaparral high schools.
Zach Walton, Daniel Cartagena, Ethan Tursini, Brix Kronborg and Darius Ryan are part of a cadet national dual team from the Tempe area who left last week for Daytona Beach, Florida, to compete in the USAW Cadet National Duals Championships due to run through June 18.
The championships provide an opportunity for wrestlers to compete with national-caliber opponents, as well as a chance to qualify for the national championship team that will compete in Fargo, N.D., July 18-24.
Getting the opportunity to compete nationally not only has an impact on a wrestler’s success at the high school level but can also lead to a college scholarship.
“It is my belief that the early- and on-going success achieved by the wrestlers in high school and beyond can be directly attributed to the fact they get to compete in several of these national-type tournaments every summer from the seventh or eighth grade on,” said Keith Walton, the Arizona team’s coach.
“College coaches will attend these tournaments to quietly observe the competition,” said Walton. “These have proven to be fertile ground for our nation’s best wrestlers to get experience and to get discovered by college recruiters.”
Walton, a junior next fall, was the 2012 Arizona high school state runner-up in the 138 pound bracket and qualified to represent Arizona as part of the Arizona National Dual Team by winning the AZUSA Regional Championships held at Desert Vista in May.
Zach Walton also won the freestyle championship in the 145 pound bracket at Highland High May 19. He was runner-up in the 132 pound weight class during the folkstyle season.
Cartagena, a sophomore next fall at Corona, was fourth in the 2012 state championships, compiling a 34-1 record with 22 pins.
Tursini was fifth at the state championships with a season record of 27-2. A junior, he qualified to go to Daytona by winning in the 160-pound weight class. Sophomore Kronborg wrestled in the 220 pound bracket at Corona and won the 220-pound category at the 2012 freestyles.
Ryan, a junior next fall, will wrestle in the heavyweight category.
The dual team is sponsored this summer by Power MMA.
“Power MMA in Gilbert has opened up their facilities to our team so we can practice three times a day,” said coach Walton. “They are also providing catered meals so the team has healthy and appropriate fuel to meet a wrestler’s needs as they train for this type of intense competition.”
The team considered it lucky to gain a sponsor’s support because it costs about $1,800 for each wrestler to compete in Daytona and Fargo. It has been difficult on a lot of families, according to Walton, with the economy the way it is, to afford this opportunity for their son but the corporate sponsorship has definitely helped.
Walton hopes to get more corporate sponsors in the future to help offset the cost for Arizona wrestlers to attend these types of tournaments.
Live feeds from the wrestling matches at both Daytona and Fargo can be seen at www.themat.tv.
Corona sophomore Daniel Butwin, age 14, was a member of the Aztec wrestling club and Corona band before he died tragically June 4. Although Daniel did not participate as a freshman on Corona’s team, he did wrestle at Aprende.
“I coached Daniel at Aprende and he wrestled with my son, Zack,“ said coach Rhett Turner. “He wrestled with our Aztec Wrestling Club this spring and, although he had to do band instead of wrestling, he was planning on wrestling at Corona in the fall.
Daniel’s sister Malessa, 16, was also a member of Corona’s marching band, where she played clarinet. She was a member of the Aztecs’ color guard.
The Arizona Republic and the Tribune regularly present athletic awards, and the following have been recognized based on the papers’ reviews of seasonal achievements.
Several members of Corona’s boys volleyball team received recognition after the season.
Senior libero Charlie Hualde was named to the All-Arizona high school boys volleyball team. The 6-foot-1 Hualde led the team in digs, even though opposing teams tried to avoid placing the ball anywhere near him. Three-year starter Hualde was also named to one of the state’s premier boys volleyball second teams.
Named in the same competition to the first team was Jake Nuneviller, based on his ability to set up his teammates for powerful kills with a quick but varied offense all season long. Six-foot-4 senior Nuneviller, who was also respected for his blocking and hitting abilities, was also named to the All-Arizona second team.
Powerful outside hitter Alex Davis was named to the second team on two well-regarded lists of high school boys volleyball teams for his volleyball skills and his leadership abilities. Davis was not only the Aztecs’ go-to hitter but a great passer, serve receiver and server who led by example how to be a true team player.
Matt Seall was given Honorable Mention on the All-Arizona Team.
Track and Field
Corona senior Dana McKenzie was named to the Girls Second Team for taking home the runner-up medal at the Division I state championships for clearing a season best 5-foot-4 in the high jump event at the state meet. She is tied for fifth in the 2012 state records book for this height.
Corona’s sophomore runner Nathan Rodriguez was named to the First Team for his 4:18.65 finish in the 1600 meter run at the state championship meet. Rodriguez is fourth in the state for his 1:53:31 run in the 800 meter he ran at the Thunder Last Chance Meet and fourth in the state for his 1600 meter run at the Tempe City Meet.
Named to the Second Team was McClintock senior Eduardo Roa for his superior race at the Division II state meet in the 3200 meter run. Roa came in second with a time of 9:30.15 and he has the fifth fastest time in 2012.
Corona’s Alex Lawson was name Player of the Year for boys high school tennis. Lawson, who won his fourth state high school title and is headed to Notre Dame in the fall, was also named to the First Team.
Marcos de Niza’s Peter Hemes received Honorable Mention.
Corona’s girls team had five players receive recognition by the Tribune. Named to the All-Tribune Second Team was sophomore Sarah Rutkowski for her 15-3 record and district championship winner at the No. 2 position in both singles and doubles.
Honorable Mention went to Corona juniors Maia Castiglione, Rachel McKay, Hannah Pfotenhauer and Tien Tran.
McClintock senior Dynasty Lauvai was named by the Arizona Republic to the Arizona Softball second team as a designated player. Corona seniors Lani Redmond, Abby Spiel and Paige Vallejos won Honorable Mention.
Corona senior Kyle Jorgensen was named to the Arizona high school baseball Division I Second Team as infielder. Juniors Josh Ethier and Colby Hamilton got Honorable Mention.
Also receiving Honorable Mention were Marcos de Niza seniors Nick Fatica and Noel Rodriguez.
Arizona All-Section Basketball Teams
Several Corona basketball players were named to the All-Section Teams including Calaen Robinson, Avery Moss and Casey Benson to the All Division 1st Team.
Robinson was named All Division I Player of the year while Sam Duane, Jr. was named Division Coach of the Year.
Corona played in Section II where Robinson and Benson were named to the 1st team and Moss to the 2nd team. Robinson was name Player of the year and Duane Coach of the Year for this Section II also.
Corona girls basketball player Alexa Hogberg was named to the Division I, Section II 2nd team.
Named to the First team was senior midfielder Ed Magana, who gave opposing coaches sleepless nights trying to figure out how to pass him in the middle of the field. Helping Magana was Honorable Mention junior defender Ellis Rutili.
Corona’s Zach Von Allworden was named to the Second team due to his physical presence.
Senior captain Danny Molina of Marcos de Niza was named to the Second team for his role in helping the Padres have one of their best seasons in more than 10 years with his leadership ability and role-modeling behavior even when injured.
Honorable Mention went to Marcos forward Connor Buckley, midfielder Nick Palomares, defender Mike Reddington, goalkeeper Victor Sanchez and forward Jose Segura.
Tempe Honorable Mention was midfielder Kevin Reyes, defender Gilberto Rios and midfielder Salvador Sanchez.