Twelve members of the Prescott High School (PHS) Wrestling team are at Mountain Shadows High School in Phoenix, taking part in Sectionals this weekend. Everyone who places at least 5th, will qualify for the State Championships, which will be held in Prescott Valley at Tim's Toyota Center the weekend of February 10, 11.
The PHS wrestlers have had an outstanding tournament thus far, with every wrestler winning in the first round. Now, after three rounds have been completed, 11 of the 12 are still wrestling.
Senior Mike Burkeen, co-captain of the team, pinned his first opponent in 14 seconds. And he went on to pin his second-round opponent, too. Burkeen is ranked 3rd in this tournament for his weight class.
Garrett Hagen (2nd rank), the other Badgers co-captain, also won both of his first two rounds, as did Talon Vaughn (4th rank), Philip Eby (ranked 3rd), Dominick Garduno (ranked 13th) and Tyler Wilson, who is ranked 2nd and had 2 pins.
All these players have qualified for the Championship rounds, which take place tomorrow.
The 2nd round was a bit tougher on the team, with 6 wins and 6 losses. On to the third round, where those in the consolation bracket mostly held their own.
Saxon Vaughn (ranked 14th), Braden Brauberger (ranked 12th), Tim LaMaster (ranked 10th), Daniel Locke (ranked 10th) and Zach Koehler (ranked 6th) all won their third round, surviving for Saturday's tournament.
Only Sophomore David Rupp, wrestling as a heavy-weight, found himself outmatched in the third round, which forced his elimination from the tournament. "David Rupp's opponent seemed to be almost twice as big as he was, but he fought hard," said Lucinda LaMaster, who went to the event to cheer on her nephew Tim. She noted that it was too bad Rupp lost, but pointed out that he's only a sophomore, and he's got a lot of talent. He'll be ready for next year.
The rest of the team will compete Saturday morning. Wrestling is scheduled to start up again at 10 am.
Photos courtesy of Lori Burkeen.