Salazar’s peaking at right time: Grizzlies regain perch, Mohave places eighth at Dan Salyer Invitational
BULLHEAD CITY — T-birds senior Martin Salazar’s best performance was a fifth-place finish at the Joseph City invite on Jan. 4.
The first-year grappler has come a long way in a few months, as he garnered second place in the 222-pound classification at the 15th annual Dan Salyer Invitational Tournament on Saturday at Mohave High School.
“It felt pretty good because it’s my first year of wrestling and I’m only going to get better,” Salazar said. “I can’t wait for sectional and state.”
The Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III, Section IV tournament will be held on Feb. 1-2 at Winslow High School, and the AIA Division III Championships will be held on Feb. 7-8 at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott in Prescott Valley.
Salazar beat Ely, Nevada’s White Pines’ Hexem Kegan 1-0 in the semifinals before falling 3-2 to Trevor Browne’s Ricardo Ramos in the finals.
When asked about dealing with the pressure of grappling in one-point matches during the semis and finals, Salazar said: “I just have fun. I don’t really think about the pressure, and I just stay on top of my game.
“I just wait for them to make a mistake and I’ll capitalize on it.”
Salazar said the competition at the Mohave invite was more difficult than in Joseph City.
“This tournament was the hardest and most intense,” Salazar said. “I’m improving quickly.”
Las Vegas’ Spring Valley came in first place with 547 points. Queen Creek, Arizona’s Casteel placed second at 490, Las Vegas’ Foothill finished third at 413, Avondale, Arizona’s Agua Fria came in fourth at 330 and Goodyear, Arizona’s Millenium followed in fifth at 328.
“We got a bunch of matches; we competed against some good teams: Casteel, Foothill, Millennium were all well-coached,” Spring Valley Grizzlies head coach Fred Meyer said by email. “This tournament was a positive turning point for our team.
“I have preached all season about supporting your teammates and taking pride in your teammates’ success, but we never did this prior to the Mohave tournament. For some reason at this tournament, our kids decided to rally around whoever was wrestling at the time.”
The T-birds came in eighth place with 297 points.
Torin Rocha finished fourth at 128; Trevor Salahub placed sixth at 115; and Mohave’s Damon Puryear came in sixth at 122 for Mohave.
When asked about the top three teams’ performances, Mohave head coach Kory Burgess said, “All three teams were great.
“This was the best competition we have seen in years at our tournament.”
Lee Williams finished sixth at 315 points, Lake Havasu seventh at 299.5, Las Vegas’ Cactus Shadow ninth at 277 and Phoenix’s North 10th at 247.
“As far as competition went, the tournament was at a extremely high level,” River Valley Dust Devils head coach Zack Regan said. “The competition there was top notch and for having so many first year and young wrestlers, we competed well.”
The Dust Devils finished in 11th place with 244 points.
“Our senior wrestlers performed how they needed to, all placing except our 182 who got hurt.” Regan said. “We are just kicking off with our program and we have nowhere to go but up from here.”
River Valley’s Anthony Gorrell was the Dust Devil who Regan was referring to at 182.
Regan said his seniors came through, as River Valley’s Seth Solano, 172, took third place, Ray Hernandez, 197, took fourth, and Sisco Walema, heavyweight, finished sixth.
Solano fell 8-3 to Millennium’s Jakob Hedge in the semifinals — Hedge went on to win the title, as Solano beat North’s Fernando Garcia in the consolation match for third place.
The Laughlin Cougars finished 18th out of 18 with 27 points.
Sam Harrison placed third by beating Hernandez in the 197-pound consolation match, Kyle Taijeron came in fourth place at 147, and Sam Nunn came in sixth place in the 222-pound class and Diego Webster finished sixth at 172 to lead the Laughlin Cougars.
Phoenix’s Trevor Browne came in 12th at 234 points, Desert Pines 13th at 222.5, Kingman 14th at 147, Parker 15th at 144, White Pines 16th at 129, and Nevada’s West Wendover 17th at 45.
CHAMPIONS: Millennium’s Eathon Rider pinned Casteel’s Will Effinger at 5:10 to win the 108-pound class; Spring Valley’s Ryan Mitchell pinned Lake Havasu’s Kyler Green at 28 seconds at 115 pounds; Spring Valley’s Christian Nishi-Rivera recorded a technical fall at 4:38 over Lee Williams’ Zackary Dixon at 122; Las Vegas’ Desert Pines’ Xavier Gonzalez pinned Millennium’s Daniel Conchaz in 2:39 at 128; and Spring Valley’s Daniel Hristov recorded a 2-0 victory over Lake Havasu’s Earle Parra at 134.
MORE CHAMPIONS: Spring Valley’s Andres Garcia pinned Cactus Shadow’s Payton Heles at 4:29 at 140; Spring Valley’s Michael Canada pinned Millennium’s Jordan Smith at 1:43 at 147; Foothill’s Micah Schneider pinned Cactus Shadow’s Jacob Muniz in 5:34 at 154; and Foothill’s Justin Wirig pinned Agua Fria’s Angel Martinez in 54 seconds at 162.
MORE, MORE CHAMPIONS: Casteel’s Bryce Mortensen pinned Lake Havasu’s Daniel Blalock in 3:54 at 184; Casteel’s Alejandro Torres topped Spring Valley’s Porter Abbott 12-1 at 197; and Foothill’s Julian Bradley pinned Spring Valley’s TZ Yehuda in 1:04 at heavyweight.