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SUNRISE REGION: Green Valley surges in finals, tops Liberty

Saturday’s final round of the Division I Sunrise Region wrestling tournament at Rancho almost could have been mistaken for a dual meet between Green Valley and Liberty.

Six of the championship bouts were between Gators and Patriots wrestlers, and with 13 points separating the two teams before the final round, the outcome of those battles would determine the region title.

The Gators dominated the battle — beating Patriots wrestlers 5-1 head-to-head finals bouts — and won the war, as Green Valley finished with six regional champions to top second-place Liberty 235-201½ and capture the Sunrise title.

“Obviously we see Liberty as a rival. But we just tried to go out there and do what we came to do,” said Green Valley senior Zach Perry, who won by technical fall over Liberty’s D’Andre Graham in the 145-pound title bout. “Our main goal is always to win the last one of the day. So it was up against Liberty. We just wanted to go hard and finish out and make an impact looking at state.”

As the defending state champions, the Gators set themselves up for another run at the state title by having 12 wrestlers finish in the top three of their weight classes in the Sunrise tournament to qualify for state.

Sean Cannon set the tone for the Gators in the finals, pinning Eldorado’s Trevor Perez in the 113-pound title bout. It was Cannon’s third win by pin in the tournament.

“My whole goal was to make a statement,” Cannon said. “We wrestle out of town a lot, so I wanted to be sure people knew I was one of the top athletes here.”

Spencer Watson had the most dramatic win of the finals for Green Valley at 132, breaking a tie with a shot for a takedown and near-fall with three seconds left in an 8-3 win over Liberty’s Tevin Ricci.

“When it comes down to 30 seconds left in the match, you just have to go,”  Watson said. “You can’t stop, you just have to have that mindset that you can’t lose.”

Green Valley’s other regional champs,  who each defeated a Liberty opponent in the finals, were Josh Temple (120), Jared Brathor (126) and Donovan Peek (160).

For Liberty, Daven Pope was one of two wrestlers to win a regional title, as he stopped Green Valley’s Richard Razo in the 138-pound final, 4-2. Pope had a two-point reversal with 45 seconds left.

“When I got the reversal, I pretty much knew I had it,” said Pope, who had two wins by pin on the way to the finals. “ I just rode him out.”

Michael Siwiec took Liberty’s other title with a 9-0 win over Silverado’s Ryan Contorelli in the 195-pound final.

Overall, Liberty finished the tournament with nine state qualifiers.

Las Vegas was third with 125 points. Alexander Aniciete led the Wildcats, winning the 152-pound title bout 18-9 over Liberty’s

Colin Schultz. It was Aniciete’s fourth regional title, and he will shoot for his third state championship next week in Reno.

Chris Caday (106) and Lahmad Evans (285) also won titles for the Wildcats.

Rancho’s Abel Gomez won the 170-pound title over Green Valley’s David Hosey. Foothill’s Jacob Ozuna had a two-point takedown with five seconds left to pull out a 5-4 win over Rancho’s Brandon Flores in the 182-pound title bout. Coronado’s Mack Murphy edged Canyon Springs’ Fabian Leos 10-9 in the 220-pound final.

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