by: Eric Thiergood
Katy ISD’s Patricia E. Paetow High School, which opened in 2017, played host to the 2017-2018 Texas UIL Region 3-6A Boys and Girls Wrestling Championship were Houston Area 6A grapplers battled for a top 4 placing in their respective position and punching their ticket to the Texas UIL State Tournament next week at the Berry Center in Cypress, Texas. This year’s Region 3–6A finals treated the Houston high school wrestling fans in attendance to an even mixture of dominant wins and nail biting close victories and provided a number of shocking upsets.
Here is a summary of the Boys results:
Katy’s Jackson Crandall
The lightest of the boys weights saw #4 Jackson Crandall of Katy, a freshman with a 50-4 record winning, a close match against sophomore#5 Christian Lopez from Houston Westside by a score of 8 to 6. When asked about his feelings about the match, the tournament, and about qualifying for state as a freshman, Jackson’s response was direct and to the point saying “I feel great.” When asked if he had anything to add, Crandall’s response was an equally direct “No.” Clearly, Crandall plans to let his wrestling do the talking for him. Freshman #15 Jacob Grogan of Houston Cy-Ranch took home the bronze with a convincing 14-3 victory over Conroe Junior, #14 Wyatt Maturin. In a 4th place challenge match, unranked Douglas Melrose of Katy Morton Ranch challenged and defeated Maturin to capture the 4th spot representing the Region 3-6A 106 pounders at the state tournament.
Cy Falls’ Isaih Calderon injured and eliminated
The 113 pound division provided two of the most shocking results of the tournament, with the top two seeds failing to move on to state. Undefeated top seeded Junior #4 Isaih Calderon of Cy Falls and second seeded #5 Kynnyth Maban of Conroe Oak Ridge, both 2 time-state qualifiers at 106, failed to place in the top 4 and will both miss this years state tournament. Calderon was clearly hampered by an injury showing a lot of heart just getting through his last two matches, but that also speaks to the strength of the 113 division where two 2-time state qualifiers in the same division failed to make it to the big dance this year. #7 Jude Camacho of Houston Cy-Ranch took first place with a 6-0 shut out win over Katy Mayde Creek Junior, unranked Garrett Wing. Cy Ranch Head Coach, Chris Potter, had nothing but praise for his freshman 113 pounder. When asked about Camacho’s performance at the Regional Tournament, Coach Potter’s response was “Phenomenal! Jude is a Freshman coming in, and he is doing better and better every week.” When asked how he felt going into the state tournament Potter said, “Great, not only with Camacho, but we have 3 or 4 boys and 4 or 5 girls who qualified for state. We feel confident, and we are wrestling really well right now.” Jude was humble in victory and said “When I came in this year, honestly, I did not think I would do as well as I have done, but I am surprising myself, and I think I am surprising many others.” Camacho was complimentary of his opponent in the finals stating Wing is “a great and tough kid who gave me a hard match.” In addition to taking second place at the tournament, in the semifinals, Wing handed Calderon, who was previously undefeated (39-0) and a state placer last year, Calderon’s first loss of the season. Thomas Le of Houston Strake Jesuit beat Luke Holland of Katy 6-4 in a hard fought win to take the 3rd place position in the 113 pound division.
1st Place in the 120 lbs division when to #7 Daniel Hernandez-Mendoza, a Junior from Houston Westside High School, in a shut out major decision victory over senior #15 Austin Hernandez of Houston Cy-Ranch, 8-0. Daniel was a tough critic of his performance in the finals stating “I could have wrestled better and should have scored more points, but I feel good. I am confident that I will do well at state.” Daniel added that in addition to thanking his coaches and teammates, he wanted to make sure to thank his mother adding, “She’s the best. She really is the best.” 3rd Place was captured by #14 Richie Azbill of Katy Cinco Ranch who won over Tyler Sliman of Katy, by a major decisions victory (11-0). Silman was then defeated in the 4th place challenge match when Tyler Luna of Katy Morton Ranch defeated Sliman in a major decision of his own 11-1. By winning the 4th place challenge match, Luna earned his place at the state tournament.
In the 126 lb division #6 Joseph Segura of League City Clear Falls, an undefeated senior (Segura’s only 2 losses of the season came from injury defaults in the Cy Ridge II Invite) defeated #10 Andrew Parsons, a Conroe College Park senior in a convincing 9-2 victory. Clear Falls head coach Corey Kerr said the best word to describe Segura is “Relentless. He’s a great competitor, and he has been that way all year. He has a boxing background and works really hard in the wrestling room. We are going to hate to lose him this year, but we are excited for what he will do at state.” When asked about Segura’s plans after high school, coach Kerr said, “We would love to see him wrestling somewhere in college. He’s that good, but I also know Joseph wants to go into law enforcement, which would be a good thing too.” 3rd Place in the 126 divisions went to Brandon Diaz of Katy in a 7-3 win over Michael Castaneda of Houston Langham Creek.
The 132 division saw a bit of a shake up when Klein Oak senior #13 Abel Vasquez, who has managed to stay under the radar for a big part of this season peaked when it counted and shredded his way through the division earning three pins and one major decision in the regional tournament after winning all 3 of his matches in the district tournament by all pins last week. In what was likely the largest upset of the tournament, Vasquez stunned many in attendance with a first round pin of the heavily favored and first seeded #7 Garrett Orlando of Houston Cy-Fair, handing Orlando his second loss of the year and his first defeat by pin of his entire high school career. While Vazques’ dominant performance at districts and regionals may have surprised others, it did not come as a surprise to Klein Oak head coach Taylor Moses. “Abel has been wrestling sharp. Coach Osbourne and I have been able to bring him in, get in his head a bit, and the rest is all him. He hasn’t really received the attention he deserved in the rankings, but I really see him placing top 4 at the state tournament next week.” When asked to break down his finals win, Vasquez said “I really felt confident, even after he [Orlando] got the first takedown. I knew I was still in it. I knew I was going to win. I hit him with a sweep single. That was from Coach Niles [Peebles] at O-Athletik. Coach Niles told me if I could get that sweep single and lock in a cradle, I could pin anyone. He was right. That’s exactly what I did,” The 3rd Place Match was Kayvon Hall of League City Clear Creek over Katy freshman #12 Truman Timmons by a second period pin.
#2 Joaquin Bautista, the senior from Houston Cy-Lakes and League City Clear Creek Senior, #8 Timmy Johnson-Thompson, treated the wrestling fans to an absolute barn burner in a hotly contested match that saw Bautista winning by narrowly edging out Johnson-Thompson 3 to 2 and an action packed battle that truly could have gone either way. Joaquin’s coach and father Joaquin Bautista Sr. said this match was “A little too close for comfort” adding that Johnson-Thompson is a tough wrestler and a good kid. “He’s placed second at state, Timmy is a great wrestler.” Coach Bautista feels good about Joaquin’s chances going in the state tournament, but acknowledges the state tournament is always tough “Everybody is good at state, when you get to that level, there are no easy matches. Everybody at state is a tough wrestler.” Joaquin was also selected as the Boy’s Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. #9 Gabriel Palos of Houston Cy-Ridge took home the bronze with an 8-3 win over #13 Payton Grant of Katy.
In his typical dominant but humble fashion, Junior #1 Daniel Manibog of Katy, sporting a 55-1 record for the year, made quick work of the tough 145 pound division finishing the tournament with one major decision, one pin and two technical superiority falls with his last match being a 22 to 6 tech fall over #11 Jonathan Wertz of Houston Cy-Lakes. Always cool under pressure, Daniel was clearly in control of all of his matches throughout this tournament. Manibog will be looking to repeat his state championship of last year. #8 Christopher Walker of Klein placed third with a second period pin of College Park’s #18 Josh Thomas.
Senior #5 Carlos Cuevas of Houston Cy-Fair earned his gold medal with a 9-5 win over fellow senior and Cy Fair ISD wrestler, #16 Ali Ezzeddine of Houston Cy-Falls. Cy-Fair head coach, Tim Stockton, said of Carlos, “I could not be more excited for him, coming back from a serious injury last year. You are not going to find anyone who works harder than Carlos, no matter what. Everyday he does anything we ask him to do. He’d run through a brick wall for his teammates. Great kid on and off the mat. It shows you that if you work hard every single day even on the simple things, then everything will open up for you. It’s all coming together for Carlos.” Carlos was pleased with his performance, especially considering the broken elbow he suffered last year. “The beginning of the year was a little bumpy. I took some early losses, but I was able to avenge those losses and now I am the regional champ. #8 Gunnar Pierson of The Woodlands placed third by beating unranked Anthony Martinez of Katy Mayde Creek 7-3.
Senior and #4 DJ Owcarz of Conroe College Park won a narrow 3-1 victory over #8 Drake Stamatis, a Katy Seven Lakes senior. DJ feels good about his chances at state. “I have been wrestling good, I’m confident, and feel really good about the year so far.” Owcarz is planning on wrestling in college and is currently considering McKendree University. The 3rd place match was won by #10 Reagan Prevatt of Katy Cinco Ranch in a nail biter 4-3 win over #20 Kyle Colie of Klein.
1st Place in the 170 division went to senior, #3 Kyle Kretzer of League City Clear Springs, who won with a first period pin of #12 Manuel Elizondo of Friendswood. Kyle said of his season thus far, “You know when you work hard for 3 years, it starts to pay off. I’m ready to go in there an bang heads and take the state title.” Kyle’s hard nose, no nonsense attitude will serve him well as he plans to attend West Point after high school then serve his country in the United States Army. Klein Freshman #4 Eli Sheeren is continuing to make waves in the 170 lbs division with a 9-3 win over Katy Seven Lakes senior #20 Ariq Holland, making Sheeren the only freshman in the Region 3-6A upper weigh divisions to qualify for the state tournament this year. Eli will undoubtedly be a force on the mat for years to come.
The 182 pound division finals saw a battle between the top 2 ranked wrestlers in the state putting #2 Zyire Ardoin, a Katy Cinco Ranch senior, and #1 ranked Kimball Christensen, a senior from College Park against each other. Ardoin earned his first place medal in the Region 3 182 pound weigh class with a tough 5-3 win over Christensen. Fingers will be crossed that these two fantastic Houston-area grapplers will again face off in the finals of the state tournament, where the win could go to either senior. Colin Clark, a junior from Klein High clinched the third place win with a late third period pin of Devon Didion, a senior from Klein Oak with only 3 seconds left in the match.
#7 Josh Wilson, a senior from Houston Cy-Fair won by a major decision (9-0) over #11 Jarod Camacho of Houston Cy-Ranch. “Its great to see Josh wrestle when he gets after it. These guys have wrestled each other a bunch, and it is good to see Josh attack like we know he can and be the aggressor. We think Josh can do some amazing things next week at state.” Head coach Tim Stockton said of Wilson. 3rd place of the division when to #6 Franklin Fitzgerald, Houston Westside, by technical superiority fall (15-0) over #8 Jack Allen, Katy Cinco Ranch.
Dendy and Barron resort to “Rock, Paper, Scissors” in OT. Barron wins.
In what many considered the best match of the entire 2-day tournament, 220 pounder seniors #5 Isaac Barron of Klein Collins and #4 Tim Dendy of Cy-Woods battled it out in the only boys championship match that went into overtime where Barron won 13 to 8. After wowing spectators with a series of lightweight-style scrambles and momentum shifts, the match was delayed for almost 2 minutes with coaches and refs arguing over a series calls in the second overtime. With the tension in the gym becoming palpable, the two wrestlers, both great sportsmen, delighted the exuberant crowd with an impromptu game of rock, paper, scissors, drawing a standing ovation as action resumed. Barron ultimately took advantage a Dendy mistake, outscoring him 7 to 2 in the first and second 30 second ride out tie breakers, and won the gold. Barron, still understandably ecstatic after his win was surprisingly introspective not only about his win but about wrestling as a whole. “I love this sport! It’s the greatest sport, but its also the hardest sport because it is all on you. If you are willing to put your entire heart into it and work hard, you can do great things.” Head Coach Kenny Rucker was equally excited after Barron’s overtime win. “Wow! That was an amazing match. Isaac worked hard like always and he refused to give up. He earned that win! I am very proud of him. Great kid.” Coach Rucker said of Barron who is a multi-sport letterman lettering in football, track and field, as well as wrestling. #10 Jose Marcelo Acosta-Ruiz of Clute Brazoswood took third place with a 7-5 win over Clear Brook’s Ackerman. Klein’s Xavier Diaz defeated Ackerman 11-5 in the challenge match to advance tom State.
Heavyweight, #12 Grant Bordelon of Houston Strake Jesuit, took first place in the 285 lbs division by besting Katy Taylor’s #17 Curshawn Wilkins 5-3. Bordelon marched his way through the weight class with two impressive first period pins in under one minute a piece in the first two rounds of the tournament. The bronze in the heavyweight division went to#20 Devon Hopkins of Houston Cy-Lakes in his 5-3 win over Klein Oak junior TJ Senn. In the fourth place challenge match, Joshua Talman defeated Senn to earn the 4th and final spot to the state tournament in the 285 lbs division.