Wrestlers, like most high school athletes, use their summer vacation from school to sharpen their skills against the best competition they can find to further their specific athletic development in preparation for the high school season.
Most Corona wrestlers have such a strong desire to be one of the athletes standing on the state championship podium that they spend their off season further developing their techniques.
“Our wrestlers have not let the spring and summer pass without doing the things they know will keep them in the fight for state wrestling titles next season,” said head coach Jim Martinez. “Several of our wrestlers have been competing in tournaments within Arizona and outside the state to gain additional match experience.”
Four Corona wrestlers placed in their weight class at the Arizona State Greco-Roman tournament held earlier this summer. Zach Kvavle, entering only his second year of high school this fall, took home the first place trophy.
Kvavle, with a 32-14 record his freshman year and a 6th place at the state tournament in the 106-pound weight class, is working to make it onto the state championship podium.
Hunter Carmona took second place. Carmona, who finished third at the state tournament last spring, will get his last chance at the championship trophy this winter when he tries to improve on his impressive 42-11 record as a junior.
Cam Upshur, with a third place at the Greco-Roman tournament, will be entering his junior year this fall. He is striving to improve on his 37-11 record and fifth place finish at state as a sophomore in the 113-pound category.
Jacob Santa Cruz was fifth at the Greco-Roman tournament.
At the Arizona State Freestyle tournament held at Highland High School, Kvavle again took first place while Upshur and Carmona both finished in third place.
Kvavle continued gaining match experience as he traveled with the Arizona Dual Junior Freestyle/Greco-Roman team during June and July where he compiled an 11-1 record.
Kvavle competed at the Western Regional Championships held June 28 in Pocatello, Idaho, where he placed fifth in Greco-Roman, second in Folkstyle and second in Freestyle, according to Martinez.
Four wrestlers with plenty of match experience are expected to join the Aztec wrestling program this fall after transferring from Seton Catholic. “We are happy to have join our team, after satisfying the AIA half-season transfer rule, seniors Brandon Konecny and Vincent Dolce, junior Jacob Garcia and sophomore Bryce Nickel,” said Martinez.
In addition to being a two-time DII state champion, Konecny competed for Arizona at the Junior Nationals Duals in Tulsa, Okla., where he competed in both Freestyle and Greco Roman tournaments.
Konecny, who is committed to wrestle for the Air Force Academy when he graduated, was named to the All-Tournament team in Tulsa in the 145-pound weight class.
The three other transfers bring some valuable skills and excellent match experience with them as well.
Dolce is a state champion, Garcia was fourth at state and Nickel placed fifth at state.
Although Corona students will be picking up their books next week, six members of the wrestling team have unfinished business to take care of before classes start.
Kvavle, Upshur, Cole Bernstein, Dolce and Garcia are preparing to compete at the ASICS National Championships in Fargo, ND, July 16-23.
McClintock’s Groves competes at Western Regional finals
Marco Groves, the Chargers DII two-time state champion, also traveled with the Arizona Dual Junior Freestyle/Greco-Roman team where he competed at 145 pounds while in Pocatello, Idaho, June 28, at the Western Regional Championships.
Groves, who won his first state championship as a freshman in 2015 with a 47-4 record, was amazing as a sophomore when he won his second straight championship compiling a 62-0 record.
Groves, competing at the junior level in the 145-pound weight class, finished second at the Western Regionals. He is no doubt expected to do well at the ASICS National Championships in Fargo next week.
Tempe All-City Awards — Tempe’s All-City Award members held their spring sports banquet recently where athletes from the Tempe Union High Schools received recognition for their achievement in baseball, softball, track and field and boys volleyball.
Marcos de Niza Awardees — Two Padres received awards for baseball at the banquet. Conner Woods, who also pitched for the team, received the award for the catcher position. Woods was second on the team in batting average at .436 with 17 runs on 34 hits with 23 RBI’s and two home runs.
Nicholas Leach was recognized for his play at middle infield but contributes in all aspects of the game for Marcos. As just a sophomore, he led the team in batting average at .63 while at bat 95 times with 29 runs on 44 hits.
Sara Duncklee and Taylor Delgado were recognized for softball. Senior Duncklee for first base and Delgado, just a freshman, for the shortstop position.
McClintock Awardees — Gavin Emerson was honored for his volleyball skills while Mario Munoz and Daniel Gorman for baseball.
Tempe High Awardees — The Buffaloes had two softball players receive All-City awards. Dienna White was recognized for her skills at catcher and Desiree Muniz for her outfield play.
Corona Awardees — Baseball awards went to Daniel Sotelo, for pitcher, Connor McCord for first base, and Ryan Novis for outfielder.
Sotelo, a freshman on the varsity team, started in eight games and is credited with winning seven games with a 1.32 ERA.
McCord, a senior, played in all 27 games and had a big role in the Aztecs success. Besides playing first base, he also started seven times as pitcher and is credited with winning five games. He had a .400 batting average and was second on the team to Novis in RBI’s at 28.
Novis also played in all 27 games his senior season batting .468 with 33 runs on 44 hits and led the team in RBI’s at 33. He ended up with a .964 fielding percentage putting out players 50 of his 55 total chances.
Corona had two players recognized for softball: Allyssia Sanchez for her play at third base and Olivia Miller at outfield. Sanchez played in all 31 games earning 14 runs on 26 hits with 22 RBI’s. Miller, only a sophomore, led the team in batting average at .491 earning 34 runs on 57 hits with three home runs.
The Aztecs had three girls and two boys recognized for track and field at the awards banquet.
Jaclyn Martin was honored for the 400 meter run, Renee Payne for the 800 meter and Alexis Artiaga for the3200 meter.
Martin took third place at the state meet in the 400 meters and was a member of the 4×400 relay team, along with Payne, that took third place at the state meet.
Payne took third place in the 800 meters at state and was part of two relays teams. Besides the 4×400, she ran in the 4×800 relay race that took fourth place.
Artiaga, besides taking 12th place at state in the 3200 meters, also ran the first leg of the fourth place 4×800 relay team.
Freshman Logan Cromeens and senior Zach Frampton were recognized for their doubles tennis play and Antonio Guarino and Ryan Iskandar for volleyball.
Cromeens and Frampton, with an excellent regular season record, entered the DI state double tennis tournament as the No. 4 seed and advanced into the semifinals before being eliminated.
Guarino, the Aztecs libero, was known for his ability to dig balls. His stats put him way out front of the team in digs with 355 digs over the season or close to four digs a set.
Iskandar was one of those all-around players who was the leading hitter on the team with 312 kills, the leading server with 42 aces, the second leading blocker with a total of 39 blocks and second in digs with 269. Because he played opposite hitter, he had the responsibility to set the ball at times earning him 106 assists.