By Eric Villanueva ’11
Kevin Malloy ’12, down by one in the final seconds of the match, pinned his opponent for two points to win fifth place in the 145 pound weight class at the Peoria High School Tournament of Champions Saturday night, Jan. 9.
Malloy, newly transferred from Pinnacle High School, was one of four who placed at “the toughest tournament in the state” and helped the team to rank 10th overall.
“We had a really, really good medal round,” said assistant wrestling coach Mr. Matt Gaimari. “We had four placers, which ties for the most we’ve ever had.”
Paul Looper ’10, continuing his season-long winning strike, stepped up to the medals stand to become Brophy’s first Tournament of Champions champion with his 12-10 win.
Tadeo Ruelas ’10, playing in his second tournament after a broken hand, and freshman Marshall Varner ’13 both placed fourth in the 130 and 140 pound weight classes respectively.
“Every one of our guys wrestled really hard, really tough,” Mr. Gaimari said. “The strength that some of them wrestled with and the convincing fashion was really impressive.”
Evenly matched, Malloy had faced his opponent four times before with the record split.
Down by one late in the third period, “something clicked in my head,” Malloy said. “I thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to lose this match.’ I stood up and just went crazy after him.”
“I’m proud of them,” said veteran wrestler Ruelas on his teammates’ medals.
Looking one month ahead, the AIA Wrestling State Championship will be in early February.
Ruelas said he “guarantees” there will be state champions, naming Looper, Varner, Malloy and himself.
Much of the team carries the same opinion.
“We are going to have state champions (in weight classes) from 125 to 145,” Malloy said.
According to Mr. Gaimari, the team “looks really good for the future” with several undefeated wrestlers on JV waiting to get their shot on varsity.
But, the team plans to take “one day at a time,” said head wrestling coach Mr. Brad Frank.
At Deer Valley High School Jan. 9, freshman and JV wrestlers Kaleb Mosier ’13, Chase Frank ’13 and Ben Sierpina ’13 as well as Josh Taylor ’12, Matt Valenzuela ’11, Tarren Villaverde ’12, Austin Schmidt ’12, Kiernan Bates ’12 and Will Herding ’11 were all undefeated 3-0.
The team travels down to Tucson Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15 and 16 for the Flowing Wells Tournament, which is an “equally hard” tournament, according to Mr. Gaimari.
Mr. Gaimari said he expects “five or six placers” in Tucson.
“We always are hoping and expecting our kids to wrestle their best and get a win,” Mr. Gaimari said.