PHOENIX—Nero Collateta an Tyrone Humehoynewa from Hopi High School both place second at the statewide wrestling meet at the Phoenix Coliseum. Six Bruins competed in the meet.
Hopi placed 13th out of 31 schools in the 1A-2A state meet. Morenci took first and Mogollon placed second.
Nolan Martineau of Joseph City edged Collateta 6-4 to win the state championship in the 152-pound category. Buddy Swapp from Duncan beat Humemoynewa 9-5, in the 112-pound slot.
Hopi High wrestling coach Lemuel Sulu was beaming with pride for his top two wrestlers, who barely missed out on individual state championships. But Sulu emphasized that the Bruins would have done better overall if they had kept up their grades. Nine Hopi wrestlers had qualified for the state met, but three were academically ineligible for the state competition.
“We would have had a higher team score if we had everybody at state,” he said.
The other four competing for Hopi at state were Seth Collateta, 130 pounds, 2-3; Chris Collateta, 160 pounds, 2-2; Jeremy Laban, 171 pounds, 2-2; and Cory Honyaima, 275 pounds, 2-2.
“We did well at state. I knew we would bring home some medals,” Coach Sulu said. “I’m proud of our all of our wrestlers. We’ll be competitive in the 3A next year.”
Coach Sulu said Nero Collateta and Tyrone Humehoynewa have become good wrestlers because of their dedication and hard work. Both are juniors who the coach views as team leaders.
“They motivate everybody on the team,” he said.
The previous week Hopi finished fifth out of seven team in the North, but Sulu said this is deceptive because the North is so strong. Mogollon won the regional meet. He added that the North won several of the weight classes at state.
Those competing for regionals were Henry Lagarde, 119, fourth place; Wendell Navenma, 126, fourth place; Seth Collateta, 137, fourth; Stan Lomayaktewa, 130, fourth; Nate Kanitobe, 140, fourth; Eldred Nez, 145, didn’t place; Nero Collateta, 152, second place; Chris Collateta, 160, third place; Jeremy Laban, 171, third place; Darren Joseph, 215, didn’t place; and Corey Honyaima, 275, second place.
Coach Sulu said he would like to start a free-style wresting club at Hopi High to help prepare the wrestlers for next season. He also wants a summer program so wrestlers could improve their skills and hear from inspirational speakers.
“Every year we get better and better. We’re competing against the top schools that used to walk all over us, but now we’re right there with them,” he said.