The annual William Bell Wrestling Tournament on Saturday night at Pueblo High School had strong and dramatic finishes, a good indication for how competitive high school wrestling will be in Tucson this season.
It included Canyon del Oro convincingly winning the team competition 57-21 over Empire with nine Dorados victorious by fall, but the Ravens had a thrill of their own with 145-pound freshman Branden Peglow capturing the Danny Villa Most Outstanding Wrestler honor following a dramatic win by fall in the last minute of his title match.
Late reversal and pin by Empire's Branden Peglow over CDO's Austin Pitts at last second of third period in the 145-pound final earned him the Danny Villa Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in the William Bell Wrestling Tournament at Pueblo tonight. Peglow (10-1) is only a freshman. pic.twitter.com/jD3ZddmRdg
Down by one point in the waning seconds of his match against CDO’s Austin Pitts — who earlier in the day pinned Peglow at the 2:54 mark of the second period in the team competition — Peglow reversed out of a hold to go up by one and he pinned Pitts in the last second of the match to emerge the winner.
“I saw the girl (who alerts the referee the match is about to end) walking up behind me and I was like, ‘Oh crap, I’ve gotta get something right now,'” Peglow said. “That’s when I got the reversal. … I was so happy. I didn’t expect that to happen in a varsity tournament.
“I took from it that I should never give up and fight until the end. You never know what could happen. I didn’t expect (the pin) because last time I wrestled, he pinned me, so I was not expecting it all. I got up and I was like, ‘Yes! I won!'”
His teammates swarmed around him as he walked off the mat.
“We’re a good team … lots of friends,” Peglow said.
Empire, an emerging wrestling program, emphatically accepted the runner-up trophy, looking as if it won the competition.
That title was earned by the Dorados, who have been together so long, they took pride in winning the championship but they took it in stride.
“Some of these boys have been wrestling together for years, all the way since they were in middle school so it was really cool to see them get on top of the podium and achieve some success,” CDO coach David Sholes said.
Seven Dorados registered first period pins against Empire in the team championship competition: Romeo Avalos (113 pounds), Mylei Seigla (120), Trey Trejo (126), Rene Garcia (132), Shane Buda (170), Andrik Valdez (195) and Julian Moreno (220).
Pitts and 132-pound wrestler Mason Comer won by fall in the second periods.
Avalos, Trejo and 160-pound wrestler Zane McKissick captured individual titles representing the Dorados.
“It feels great to be a champion,” Trejo said. “Our team has been working really hard for this. It’s nice to see that our hard work has paid off these last couple of years and we’re finally back up on top.”
The following are videos and images from Saturday’s competition:
VIDEO INTERVIEWS OF CDO COACH DAVID SHOLES AND INDIVIDUAL TITLISTS
EMPIRE ECSTATIC OVER RUNNER-UP HONOR
106-POUND CHAMPION MATTHEW O’BRIEN OF SAHUARO
113-POUND CHAMPION ROMEO AVALOS OF CDO
120-POUND CHAMPION GILBERT RODRIGUEZ OF SAN MANUEL
126-POUND CHAMPION TREY TREJO OF CDO
132-POUND CHAMPION IBRAHIM SADI OF TUCSON
138-POUND CHAMPION ROBERTO SANTA MARIA OF TUCSON
145-POUND CHAMPION BRANDEN PEGLOW OF EMPIRE
152-POUND CHAMPION JONATHAN LOPEZ OF DESERT VIEW
160-POUND CHAMPION ZANE MCKISSICK OF CDO
170-POUND CHAMPION YOUSEF SADI OF TUCSON
Tucson's Yousef Sadi with the late score to top Shane Buda 4-3 in the 170-pound title match of the William Bell Wrestling Tournament. pic.twitter.com/TJq1PcG7bp
182-POUND CHAMPION CHARLES HINDLEY OF PUEBLO
195-POUND CHAMPION BREXTON THOMAS OF SAHUARO
220-POUND CHAMPION OMAR IBANEZ OF PUEBLO
Pueblo's Omar Ibanez with the pin in 21 seconds over Tucson's Santiago Miranda in the 220-pound final of the William Bell Wrestling Tournament. Ibanez also a standout football player for @coachBSanders18 and the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/uwoUEFdH3g
285-POUND CHAMPION ISAIAH SIERRA OF EMPIRE
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.