Some family names never seem to leave the lineup for certain wrestling programs.
The name recognition – Cejudos, DeBerrys of years past – can come with a level of expectation and even a little bit of a burden if the right attitude isn’t in place.
Mountain View has long been one of these programs that has sibling after sibling put on the red, white and blue singlets for the Toros.
This year alone there are at least four younger brothers in the practice room as the latest Doolen, Booth, Huber and Hollen take the mat at events like this weekend’s Coyote Open at Skyline.
Toros coach Corey Anderson believes his guys have done a good job of creating their own wrestling style and haven’t let the fact that their older brothers were accomplished and helped Mountain View to an unprecedented level of success on the way to being nationally ranked and team state champions.
“There isn’t any pressure there, in my mind,” he said. “Adam Booth is Adam Booth. Bowen Doolen is Bowen Doolen. Wrestling is an individualized sport. It is a family sport – dads, brothers and cousins. It only makes the sport better.
“They know who their brothers are and see them on the wall (of state placers in the wrestling room), but it should only serve as a motivator and not a barometer.”
The older brothers found their way to the podium at the big-school state tournament and their younger brothers have competed against them at home, in the wrestling room and anywhere else someone can hit a unsuspecting double leg.
“It’s different not having him in the room,” the 132-pound Bowen said of his bother Brock, a state champion at 182 pounds last season. “I have more time alone, I guess, and can do things differently, but he really helped me.
“We’re different wrestlers and I’m just trying to do the best I can. What he accomplished doesn’t change anything I can do.”
The Toros finished third with 184.5 points behind Chandler (191) and Desert Vista (184.5), while Desert Ridge (142.5) came in sixth behind Campo Verde (154) and Cienega (146).
Skyline (70.5) finished 12th and Dobson (8) was 19th in the 21-team tournament.
Mountain View had three champions in Hunter Richards (113), Jeremiah Hollen (195), and Johnathun Garcia (220), while Bradley Basgall (120) finished fourth.
The Toros lost the opportunity to win the team title after losing six consolation semifinals.
The other area teams – Desert Ridge, Dobson and Skyline – had varying degrees of success at one of the few varsity wrestling tournaments that allows teams to enter more than one wrestler at a weight class so the junior varsity wrestlers can also get vital mat time early in the season.
“It’s a good tournament,” Anderson said. “It’s a sleeper. In every bracket there are a few good kids and you can catch a tough match early. They pair the JV with it and get the whole program involved.”
It’s important for a team like Skyline, which has an untested lineup other than 113-pound two-time state qualifier Matt Martinez.
“It’s a young group coming through trying to battle through the wars,” Skyline coach KC Weitman said. “They need to get the experience so they know what to expect later in the season.”
He’s counting on Martinez, who finished third after losing in the semifinals to Highland’s Cael Figueroa, to show the way as he follows his path to finishing as a state placer for the first time.
“I’m looking for him to make a showing,” Weitman said. “He is tightening it up and using more sound technique. We are really hoping to see some big growth this season.”
Dobson, which didn’t have anyone win more than one match, is in a difficult situation with the program taking a major step back in recent years after regularly finishing in the top 10 in the early part of the decade.
The Jaguars have a lineup that features plenty of state experience and could very well make a push toward the top of the Division I state tournament in February.
Luckily, it isn’t February because the Jaguars are currently without most of their firepower with four wrestlers with state experience out of the lineup, including state-placers Alex Wood, who injury defaulted in the second round at 132, and Christian Medeiros (220).
Cody Lewis (160) was a title for the Jaguars, while Everett Gomez (126, third), Bailey Young (HVY, third), Dillon Stevenson (170, fourth) and Hunter Wold (195, fourth) also found the podium.
“We’re battling,” Desert Ridge coach Travis Jackson said. “We need to a get a little more tough with some of the other wrestlers. Still, we are doing OK with eight or nine in the quarterfinals. We just need to get healthy, get into our true weight classes and we’ll be all right.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.