Home Editor's Picks Red Mountain wrestling team plans to own the mat in 2017

Red Mountain wrestling team plans to own the mat in 2017

Doing a waterfall last season, senior Andrew Keeler comes around to gain a two-point takedown. (Ashley Meyer/Special to MyNewsMesa.com)

The Red Mountain wrestling team had a great season last year, placing seventh in the state tournament, but this year is going to be more of a challenge. The wrestling board has created new sections for the third time in five years, giving Red Mountain a variety of teams to compete against all over Arizona instead of only the Gilbert and Mesa Public Schools.

“There are four sections throughout the state, there is about 40 teams in our division and 10 to 11 teams per section,” varsity coach Scott Hare said. “Red Mountain has to place in the top four in your section to qualify in the state tournament.”

The wrestling sections have a tremendous role in the state tournament, deciding what schools are up against each other. The different sections this season created a wider range of high school athletes, giving the lions a taste of what some of the state’s competitors will be like.

“The new sections give me a chance to wrestle other kids that I do not usually see in the state tournament,” varsity wrestler and senior Ray Ramirez said. “So, I get to see how good I will do against a certain team and how I can adjust my practice for state.”

The wrestlers are keeping a positive set of goals, including getting at least fourth in their section, qualifying for state and showing the Red Mountain way in each match they compete in.

“I want all of our guys to qualify for state this year,” varsity player and senior Lochlin Howey said. “The wrestling team has some good guys that deserve to qualify from all their effort put into the team.”

Even with new sections, the Lions are confident they will do even better than last year’s state placement. The first section is on Jan. 25. For information about the state tournament or the sections, go to http://www.mpsaz.org/rmhs/athletics/programs/wrestling/.

– Hailey Hardy is a junior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.

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