Mohave set to host Dan Salyer invite: T-birds welcome 17 high school wrestling teams
BULLHEAD CITY — The T-birds will host their 15th annual Dan Salyer Invitational, which begins at noon today and will continue at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Mohave High School, featuring 18 high school wrestling teams.
The invite’s two-time reigning champion Ironwood Eagles will not be competing at the invite to defend their title this season, but Mohave head coach Kory Burgess is impressed with a few of the new teams making their debut at the tournament this weekend.
Burgess said senior Dylan Tahbo, 132 pounds, wrestled “really well” and was victorious against the Lee Williams Volunteers on Wednesday night.
Senior Nick Swick, 152; sophomore Vinny Tahbo, 160; senior Will Robinzine, 182; and Martin Salazar, 220; also won their matches during Mohave’s victory against the Volunteers on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior Steven Matthews, 195, won by forfeit and senior Luis Martinez, heavyweight, also won by forfeit for Mohave.
Matthews placed fourth at the invite last season.
The Foothill (Las Vegas) Falcons placed second last season and will be among the field this weekend.
“Foothill is always really strong,” Burgess said.
The Lake Havasu Knights, who placed third last season, are expected to have a “strong team,” Burgess said.
The Spring Valley (Las Vegas) Grizzlies, who have won the Mohave invite multiple times and came in fourth last season, will be competing once again.
“Spring Valley, out of Las Vegas, is a fabulous team,” Burgess said. “They are usually here and they are strong this season.”
Mohave continues to improve at its own tournament, as the T-birds came in fifth last season, as eight of Burgess’ T-birds medaled a year ago.
“When they show up, they’re a great team,” said Swick about this season’s T-bird boys squad.
The River Valley Dust Devils, who grappled shorthanded all of last year, finished 13th out of 16 clubs at Mohave a year ago, but River Valley first-year head coach Zack Regan’s squad will be competing close to home for the first time this campaign.
Senior Francisco Walema, heavyweight, is 16-6; senior Ray Hernandez, 195, is 19-11; senior Anthony Gorrell, 182, is 18-10; and senior Seth Solano, 170, is 23-6 for River Valley this year.
Hernandez and Willema each finished sixth to medal at Mohave last season.
The Dust Devils took fourth place out of 18 teams at Joseph City High School on Jan. 3-4.
Gorrell took second place, Solano took third place, and Hernandez, Walema and Jeremy Stice took fourth place, Regan said. Damon Parks and John Skinner also took sixth for the Dust Devils at Joseph City.
“We wrestled very well throughout, especially Gorrell,” Regan said. “I can’t wait for the town to see what we have.
“The program has struggled for years, and its the first year River Valley has really had a wrestling team.
“Even though most of my guys are first- and second-year (grapplers), they are wrestling at very competitive levels.”
The Laughlin Cougars, who placed 12th last season, will be competing at Mohave once again this year.
The Kingman Bulldogs, who have been coming to Mohave for years, will be in action this weekend.
The Volunteers, the Parker Broncs, Aqua Fria (Avondale) Owls, the Cactus Shadows (Cave Creek) Falcons, the Castell (Queen Creek) Colts, the Millennium (Goodyear) Tigers, the North (Phoenix) Mustangs, and the Trevor Browne (Phoenix) Bruins are the other Arizona schools competing at this invite.
“Casteel is coming and is a great team,” said Burgess about the Colts, who will be making their debut at the invite. “North has a really good team this year.”
The Desert Pines (Las Vegas) Jaguars and the West Wendover (Nevada) Wolverines will also be the other schools that are from the Vegas area.