Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t help but be in awe of the Allen wrestling program. The UIL era of Texas wrestling has not seen a run like what head coach Jerry Best has crafted, and they just seem to be getting better. This year, they set new marks with their 8th consecutive team title and 9th consecutive team dual meet title. Individually, they topped their previous record by sending 9 boys to the individual finals – one more than their previous record of 8 in 2013. Alex Liles made her 3rd finals appearance on the girls side as well. The 264.5 team points is also a record (for both 5A and 6A), which beat their previous record score of 251. Winning 45 of 55 matches, Allen had surpassed the 251 team record with five finals matches remaining.
With five more boys picking up titles, they now have 31 individual champions in the UIL era, surpassing Canyon Randall’s 26.
What can we expect in the future from Allen? Are they finally graduating their core and letting the pack catch up? Not hardly. Even though graduating seniors Justin Villegas, Hunter Gibson, Evan Hackett, Alonzo Herrera, Mark Inglehart, and Nico Manzonelli accounted for a large chunk of those 264.5 team points. The underclassmen’s 142.5 point total was still better than the 100pt second place finish. Allen’s depth and youth programs are two big reasons Allen continues its winning ways. Last season, Mark Inglehart won a state championship after being a JV wrestler the previous year. This season the 106 Gabe Martinez placed 4th after being on JV last year, as well as Justin Villegas at 220 taking a 2nd place finish after a JV season last year and wrestling at the 182 lb weight all year. Another JV from last year, Cody Mirander at 132 came a up little short. So we can expect a fresh batch of JV wrestlers (who have trained with a room full of state champions) and a few rising freshman to fill out next season’s roster.
How each wrestler performed at State.
106-Gabe Martinez, SO, placed 4th, #4 ranked Martinez avenged 2 earlier season losses, 1 to #6 Adrian Rodriguez of Franklin, and #5 Isaih Calderon of Cy-Falls to make it to the 3/4 finals match. He lost to #3 Parker Decker of Frisco to take 4th.
113- Noah Yeamans, SO, placed 3rd, #3 ranked Yeamans barely escaped the 1st round over #5 Dominic Chavez of Arlington Martin in SV and then majored #9 Myles Thiergood of Klein Oak, then loss to the eventual state runner up #2 Christian Moreno of Austin Bowie. Then Yeamans had to wrestle Chavez again and barely getting by again 4-3, this time in regulation, than beat #4 Preston Decker of Frisco for 3rd place. Making Yeamans a 2X state placer
120- Alonzo Herrera, SR, placed 2nd, #2 ranked Herrera bettered his 4th place finish from last year cruising to the finals where he met #1 James McClain-Green of El Paso Franklin whom he had split with this season and lost 6-4. Herrera is a 2X state placer
126- Logan Brown, JR, place 2nd, #2 ranked Brown went through #6 Gregory Quintanilla of San Antonio Johnson a 5th place finisher last year and #4 Cole Fournier of Weatherford a 4th place finisher last year to meet #1 Jack Skudlarczyk of Austin Westlake. Skudlarczyk took the win. Brown is a 3X state placer
138- Trent Dooley, SO, placed 3rd, #3 ranked Dooley met up with #1 ranked Daniel Manibog of Katy whom he had split with this season already. The win went to Manibog with a 3-2 decision putting Dooley in the consolation bracket where he gets by #6 Eric Two Lance of Arlington Martin and #4 Zarik Anderson, a state runner up last year in 5A of Rockwall Heath to place 3rd.
145 -Hunter Gibson, SR, DNP, #7 ranked Gibson got edged by #4 Jacob Junk of Austin Bowie and #3 Alex Frometa of the Woodlands to keep him from placing, both guys took 4th and 3rd respectively
152- Juwan Robinson, JR, placed 1st, #1 Robinson eased into the finals over #7 Tyriere Mickens of Seven Lakes and #4 Riley Jacops of Austin Vandegrift, a 4x state placer, where he had an exciting finish in the finals. Being down in points to #2 Sam Mora of Tascosa 8-5 in the 3rd period, Robinson was able to turn Mora not once but twice in the last 30 seconds to score 5 points to take a 10-8 championship victory. An amazing finish. Robinson has now been in the finals 3 years in a row getting his 2nd state title.
160- AJ Ferrari, FR, placed 1st, #1 ranked Ferrari hasn’t been scored upon in the state of Texas. Ferrari majored his way to a state championship, winning the finals match over state runner up from 5A last year #2 ranked Adam Wachin of Austin Vandegrift. Ferrari will be one to watch the next 3 years. Ferrari is also the #4 ranked freshman over all in the National rankings and #12 over all in the 160lb nationally.
170 –Braedan Redlin, JR, placed 1st, #1 ranked Redlin cruised to the finals where he meet the #2 ranked Anderson Salisbury of Austin Westlake, the last meeting Redlin won with a fall at the state duals earlier in January, this time Salisbury was able to keep it narrow. Redlin edge him out 6-4 decision makin Redlin a 3X STATE CHAMPION. Allen has won 5 of the last 6 years at the 170/171lb weight class
182- Evan Hackett, SR, Placed 2nd, ranked #1 all season long #2 Hackett battled his way to the finals where he met the than #2 ranked wrestler Noah Vasquez of El Paso Eastwood whom he beat earlier this year at dual state. This time Vasquez holds on for a 8-6 decision to win. Hackett is a 3X state placer and last year’s State Champ.
195- Mark Inglehart, SR, placed 1st, The #1 ranked wrestler all year, Inglehart pinned his way into the finals over #4 Shakim Wright of Killeen, and #3 Jake Johnson of Southlake Carroll to meet the #2 ranked Collin McCoy. Inglehart and McCoy had met in the finals of District, Regionals, and now the State Finals. Inglehart won in regulation the 1st 2 times. It took Inglehart a Sudden Victory to win a 3rd time for his 2nd state championship
220- Justin Villegas, SR, placed 2nd, #2 ranked Villegas wrestled at 182 at the beginning of the year in Hackett’s absence, since January Villegas has jump up and taken a lot of people by surprise. Wrestling JV all last year, Villegas needed to bump up to 220 to find an open spot on the roster – where he won Districts, and Regionals. Villegas pinned the first 2 wrestlers and won a decision over #5 Tyrek West of Killeen Ellison to meet the #1 ranked Cameron Barnes of Katy, where Villegas dropped a 8-4 decision.
285- Nico Manzonelli, SR, placed 1st, #1 ranked all year at 220 or 285. Manzonelli made the finals with ease where he met for the 2nd straight finals match the #2 ranked Desmon Williams of Rockwall Heath. Manzonelli repeats again and wins by decision for his 1st State championship. Last year he was a state runner up at 285, this year a State Champion. Manzonelli is a 2X state placer. He will be attending West Point next fall.
On the girls side. Most Outstanding Wrestler, Alex Liles, won her third straight UIL State Championship and keeps her undefeated streak alive and well at 71-0. Liles credentials are a page long and could be one of Allen most decorated wrestler.
“She’s one of the best wrestlers in the world, I think,” Best said. “She’s already qualified for a couple of World teams. She’s just a stud.”