One of Tucson’s most storied dynasties in high school athletics — the Sunnyside wrestling program — will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first state championship team on Jan. 9 in a home match against Salpointe and Cienega.
Members of the 1978-79 team along with legendary coach Don Klostreich are expected to attend the event, with the wrestling to start at 3:30 p.m.
The most decorated wrestler from that 1978-79 team was the late Eddie Urbano, who won state titles in 1979 and 1980, NJCAA championships at Pima College in 1981 and 1982, and an NCAA championship at Arizona State in 1985.
Klostreich coached the Blue Devils to nine titles within 10 years after winning that first title in 1979. Last year’s state title behind Roman Bravo-Young increased Sunnyside’s championship total to 31.
Legendary Sunnyside wrestler Sam Portillo, in his first year as head coach at Desert View, will also be honored in the Jan. 9 event. He was recently inducted into the Sunnyside Hall of Fame for his state titles from 1983 to 1985 with the Blue Devils.
He went on to wrestle at Arizona State and has coached at the high school level and for USA Wrestling since 1991.
“It will be an honor to celebrate that achievement with Coach Klostreich and the wrestlers I’ve known from Sunnyside,” Portillo told me Saturday at the William Bell Tournament at Pueblo, where he coached Desert View’s Jonathan Lopez to the 152-pound title.
Portillo said Sunnyside wrestlers from different eras will attend the 40th anniversary celebration of the 1978-79 team.
“It should be a great night with a lot of the guys coming together,” Portillo said.