Tempe wrestlers prepare as state championship approaches

Sierrah Thrun, center, on the podium after winning sectionals and advancing to state championships. — Photo courtesy CDS Wrestling

By Alex Zener

Editor’s note: The following sports commentary was originally published in the February 8th issue of Wrangler News. For current rankings and results that may have changed since the publication date, visit AZpreps365.com/sports.

Corona’s girl’s state championship wrestler from last season, Sierrah Thrun, competed at Section I sectionals on Feb. 1 held at Desert Vista High School to qualify for the 2020 Division I State Wrestling Tournament to be held Feb. 14-15 at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

Thrun won her section on Saturday and will be the defending girls champion in the 110-pound weight class.

Thrun won in the same weight class last year in the girls inaugural championship wrestling tournament which included 10 weight classes.

This year 160 girl wrestlers qualified for the state tournament based on the results from the 10 weight classes in eight sections held on Feb. 1.

According to the AIA rules, though, the top two finishers in each of the weight classes will advance to the state tournament after the victories are certified.

Besides Thrun, three other Tempe girl wrestlers were listed in the top three finishers at the sections.

Sofia Rubio from Marcos de Niza was first in the 185-pound division from Section I while her teammate, Ashley Troglia, took third place in the 145-pound weight class. Sunshine Romero from Tempe High School placed third in Section I in the 160-pound weight class.

Corona Boys Wrestling

The Aztec boy wrestlers have their Sectional III Tournament this weekend, Feb. 8-9, at Desert Vista High School to qualify for the tournament in Prescott Valley. On Jan. 24-25 the Aztecs competed in the Diego Gadea Wrestling Invitational held at Salpointe High School.

Corona took 4th place out of 22 teams that participated in the event, missing out on taking 3rd place by .5 points. Gila Ridge scored 175.5 points to take 3rd place while the Aztecs scored 175 points for 4th.

Taking the honors for the Aztecs with a first-place finish in the 122-pound division was senior Anthony Gonzales, who defeated a Pueblo wrestler to maintain his 33-4 record.

Freshman Tyler Ham, with a 26-9 season record, took home a fourth-place medal in the 108-pound weight class after losing in a 2:10 fall to a Blue Ridge wrestler.

Senior Matthew Gable, 15-17 record, was sixth in the 128-pound event as was sophomore Sasso Villasenor, 17-18 record, in the 162-pound weight class.

In the 140-pound division, Corona sophomore Anthony Garcia, 25-11 record, defeated a Sahuaro wrestler to take 5th place, while senior Shane Aguarin, 30-8 record, lost to a Sahuarita wrestler in the 147-pound weight class to receive a 4th place medal.

Sophomore Micah Castro, 24-13 record, in the 154-pound weight class defeated a Sahuarita wrestler to take 5th place and Corona junior Joshua Gutierrez, 17-9 record, lost in a 5-0 decision to an Empire wrestler to earn a 4th place medal in the 172-pound event.

Aztec sophomore Eldon Milton, 8-3 record, defeated a Gila Ridge wrestler in a 2:41 Fall to earn a 3rd place medal in the 184-pound weight class while senior Jack Koeller lost in a 197-pound 3rd place match to a Waldon Grove wrestler to earn a 4th place medal.

Corona Boys Basketball

The Aztecs, with only three regular season games left, are fighting to be one of the top eight teams who get a bye and do not have to play in the 6A Conference Play- in Tournament to be held Feb. 14.

Currently ranked No. 13, just ahead of coach Sam Duane’s Perry Pumas, the Aztecs are going to have an uphill battle to make any headway against their No. 13 ranking because all three of the last regular season teams Corona is scheduled to play against are ranked above them.

First, the Aztecs were scheduled to play at No. 2-ranked Highland on Feb. 4, and on Feb. 7 Corona has a game at No. 1 Desert Vista.

Finally, on senior night, Feb. 11, they are scheduled to play at home against No. 10 Mtn. Pointe.

Depending on what ranking they receive after the regular season, the Aztecs will most like have to fight their way out of the Conference Play-in Tournament on Feb. 14 in order to play in the 6A State Basketball Tournament starting at the higher seed, Feb. 19.


Marcos de Niza Basketball

The Padres, with a 13-11 record, are currently ranked No. 16 in the 4A Division with three games left in the regular season.

Unlike Corona, Marcos has a good chance to move up in the rankings because all three games the Padres have left to play are against teams ranked below them.

On Feb. 4, currently No. 16 Marcos was scheduled to play at No. 21-ranked Poston Butte; then, on Feb. 7 the Padres will play at home with a game against No. 36 Saguaro. The Padres’ last regular game of the season will be an away game on Feb. 11 at No. 26 Seton Catholic.

The Padres will honor their nine seniors during their last home game, Feb. 7.

Marcos’ senior-laden team is led by two brothers, Russ Lingruen and Tommy Lingruen. Both have started and played all 24 games so far this season and are leading the team in several statistical categories.

Tommy has scored 494 points, or an average of 20.6 points a game, hitting 54 percent of his shots, while Russ has scored 487 points or 20.3 points a game shooting 52 percent.

The only other player on the team with significant points is senior Asael Worden, who has scored 281 points playing in 23 games for an average of 12.2 points per game.

Tommy Lingruen leads the team in rebounds with 289 total rebounds or an average of about 10 rebounds a game while Russ Lingruen has 148 rebounds in 24 games or close to six rebounds a game.

Worden is next in line with 107 rebounds or 4.7 rebounds a game.

The only area where the Lingruen brothers do not dominate is in the assist department. Worden is the assist leader with 2.4 assists a game, followed closely by senior Camrion Bryant with 2.2 assists a game.

Senior Ethan Arroyo and junior Nehemiah Washington are the only two players besides the Lingruen brothers who have played in all 24 games.

Arroyo fills in where needed averaging 3.3 points a game hitting 54 percent of his two-point shots while averaging two rebounds a game along with 1.5 assists and .5 steals a game.

Washington averages 3.2 points a game hitting 56% of his shot attempts.

Senior Jaden Upshaw has played in 22 games and leads the team with his 1.88 assists to turnover ratio, while senior Matt Canada has played in 19 games and is second in assists to turnover ratio at

1.11.The last two seniors on the team who will be honored senior night are Jaden Davis and Garrett Lamb. Both have seen time on the court and played in significant games this season: 18 games for Davis and 16 for Lamb.

The only players on this season’s team who could be back next season, in addition to Washington, would be juniors Jase Langley and Brennan Hill, and sophomore Aidan Baker.

Corona’s junior striker, Amaya Antonio, has been named player of the game three times after scoring eight goals and earning 16 points in nine games. — Photo courtesy Kris Cartwright

Corona Girls Soccer

Corona’s girls soccer team, with a 7-5 overall record, is currently ranked No. 13 in the 6A Division rankings but would like to move up in the rankings before the end of the season to get a better seeding for the 6A Conference Play- In Tournament scheduled for Feb. 13.

As it stands, the No. 13-ranked team would play the No. 20 ranked team, or Tolleson Union, and have to win to get into the 2020 6A State Girls Soccer Tournament.

Corona was scheduled to play currently No. 6-ranked Desert Vista on Feb. 4 at home on senior night and sat currently No. 17-ranked Mountain Point on Feb. 7.

Defeating Desert Vista would definitely move the Aztecs up in the rankings, but losing to Mountain Pointe would most likely move them down in the rankings.

The Aztecs are led in goals and points by junior striker Amaya Antonio who currently has scored eight goals and 16 points playing in only nine of the possible 11 games.

Antonio has been named player of the game three times this season by head coach Matt Smith.

“Amaya can dominate a game, scoring goals with a solid finish,” said Smith. “She does a good job scoring off of set pieces.”

Other players of the game include sophomore Allyson Watchel (two times), Cassida O’Connor, Suzannah Scheuerer, Kira Caspers, Samantha Camino and Paige Sever.

Sophomore Watchel is a defender and team captain that coach Smith counts on to organize Corona’s defense and keep the young team focused.

She also had a header goal that helped win the game against Basha early in the season. She has scored two goals and four points this season playing in all 11 matches.

Sophomore O’Connor scored two goals, including the winning goal, plus two assists in Corona’s 4-0 win over Maryvale. She has played in all 11 matches, scoring a total three goals and five assists to earn 11 points, the second most on the team.

Coach Smith can count on senior midfielder Scheuerer to put forth a great defensive effort in winning balls and being defensively accountable.

She has played in all 11 matches scoring two points on two assists.

Sophomore midfielder Caspers had three assists and helped create goals for her teammates in Corona’s big 5-0 win over Cortez in early December. She has played in 10 matches tallying five assists and five points

Freshman Camino scored her first career goal early in the year in the Aztecs’ 3-1 win over Kofi and currently has three assists and five points playing in 10 matches.

Coach Smith says he relies on striker Sever to come in off the bench and provide an impact both in the midfield and up top like she did in their game against Desert Ridge on Jan. 24. Sever has played in all 11 matches and is credited with two goals and two assists for a total of six points.

Senior midfielder Ally Sharp has played in all 11 matches scoring three goals and one assist for a total of seven points.

Other Corona athletes who have scored goals, assists and points for the Aztecs are senior midfielder Sheyla Castro, who has played in all 11 matches and is credited with two assists and two points, and junior defender Ashley Hill, who has played in 10 matches, scoring one goal and is credited with two assists for a total of four points.

Junior striker Emily Sammon scored one goal and one assist for a total of three points playing in nine matches and junior defender Abby Benedict who has played in all 11 matches scoring one goal for a total of two points and defender Aja Lister scored one goal while playing in 11 matches. Senior midfielder Catelyn Bradley played in seven matches scoring one goal and junior defender Jazzy Schineller played in all 11 matches recording one assist.


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