Phoenix — Hopi High School’s wrestling team placed 20th at the 3A state tournament Feb. 14-15 at the Phoenix Coliseum.
Joseph “Buck” Auclair had the best showing for Hopi in the 130-pound category. He won three of five matches to take seventh place.
Hopi High Coach Jeff Crothers said this was the toughest competition he had ever seen at the 3A state meet.
“There were 10-12 teams that were legitimate contenders,” he said.
The East dominated the meet with Show Low taking first with 195 points, Payson snagged second with 183 and Blue Ridge finished third with 132 points.
Holbrook had the best showing from the North with a sixth-place finish and 100 points. Window Rock scored 56 points for 12th place, Monument Valley scored 27 points for 17th place, Ganado scored 18 points for 18th place and Chino Valley scored 10 points for 19th place. Greyhills scored six points for 21st place and River Valley scored three points for 22nd place. Several schools did not score or did not bring enough wrestlers for a team score.
Hopi’s Seth Collateta took eighth place in the 140-pound category. He won one of three matches. There were seven wrestlers in this weight category that scored more than 25 points.
Tony Puhuyesva finished eighth in his weight class as he had the unfortunate luck of facing the defending state champ in an early round. Puhuyesva won one of three matches.
Coach Crothers said this was a good experience for the Hopi High wrestlers.
“The kids saw what it takes to win at this level. Our kids wrestled hard and they’re a good group. I expect that we’ll work even harder so that we can improve at state next year,” he said.
Coach Crothers said he hopes the Bruins can go to a team wrestling camp this summer in order to keep working on their skills.
“We need to keep focused on wrestling all year,” he said. “I think some of our wrestlers will go to the next level next year. We’ll step it up and we’ll be okay.”
Coach Crothers said he enjoyed working with the wrestlers and appreciates the parents and the support that the wrestlers were given. He also thanks his wife Barbara for her continued support.