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SUNRISE REGION: Liberty surge leaves Gators needing rally

Green Valley wrestling coach Jon Ferry wasn’t surprised his defending state champions weren’t in first place after the first day of the Division I Sunrise Region championships Friday at Rancho.

The Gators were second with 62 points, trailing Liberty, which had 73½.

“It’s a roll of the dice sometimes,” Ferry said. “Every time you come to this tournament, you have guys who you think are going to win that get beat, and you have guys who you think are going to lose that win.”

The tournament resumes at 10 a.m. today with consolation matches. The semifinals begin at noon, with the championship round scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Las Vegas was third with 42½, and Coronado had 38.

Michael Martinez (126) won twice by pins to power Liberty, which sent nine wrestlers into the semifinals.

Defending state champions Sean Cannon (113 pounds) and Jared Brathor (126) advanced for Green Valley, and Ferry said having Jon Gardner come through at 195 was an unexpected boost.

“It’s neat to see — at this time of year — his skill and talent coming together,” Ferry said.

Though Green Valley has wrestlers remaining in 10 weight classes, the Gators face a tall hurdle to overcome Liberty in the team standings and gain top-three individual qualifiers for the state meet, Ferry said.

“We got our work cut out,” he said. “Just because we have guys in the semis, that doesn’t guarantee us anything. There are some very key matchups, so I hope we can put ourselves in position to be in the finals.”

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