UIL Wrestling Preview: Allen brings qualifiers in all 14 weight classes, Centennial looking for 3-peat
The Dallas Morning News
By: RANDY JENNINGS/Special Contributor
Allen High School’s 138 pounder Juwan Robinson grapples with Anthony Navarrete of Amarillo Tascosa during the UIL Wrestling State Tournament at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Robinson won the bout by fall at 3:36. (Jim Tuttle/The Dallas Morning News)
By SportsDayDFW.com Contributor Contact SportsDayDFW.com Contributor on Twitter: @SportsDayDFW
By: RANDY JENNINGS/Special Contributor
Even in a current streak of six consecutive UIL boys wrestling team titles, Allen has never gone into the state meet with a qualifier in all 14 weight classes.
Not until this year.
“I don’t think anybody has done it,” said Eagles coach Jerry Best.
Allen is well-armed to extend its streak of state titles to seven at the UIL State Championships Friday and Saturday at Cypress’ Berry Center when boys and girls champions in two classifications will be crowned.
Senior Dalton Miller (182 pounds) along with sophomores Juwan Robinson (145) and Braeden Redlin (152) won individual state titles a year ago.
Robinson is one of four Eagles with at least 40 individuals wins this season along with seniors John McCabe (160) and Patrick Bryan (220) and juniors junior Evan Hackett (170) and Nico Manzonelli (285).
“We’re taking 14 guys and one girl to state and we hope for 15 state titles,” said Best. “We count on every single person scoring points. We strive to make our team like a family with everyone pulling together.”
The Eagles qualified a wrestler in all but one weight class last year on the way to scoring 199 points, 78.5 more than runner-up Arlington Martin.
Best expects Martin, also a runner-up in 2014, to again be a challenger along with Amarillo and Austin Westlake. Martin boasts returning state champions in senior Kennedy Monday (138) and sophomore Quincy Monday (113).
Since wrestling came under the UIL umbrella in 1999, no other school has won more than two consecutive boys state titles. Allen owns the record for points with 251.5 three years ago when it had six individual champions.
“Like any team, we’ve had different issues this season, but we’re healthy and 100 percent now,” Best said. “Our kids work hard and we get tremendous support from parents and our administration.”
In the middle of a run of success that does not appear to be ending soon (ten of the Eagles’ state qualifiers are underclassmen), Best does not worry about overconfidence.
“Any time we see that happening, we match the kid with one of our guys that can knock them down to earth.”
Going for three straight
Frisco Centennial is putting together its own run of success in Class 5A boys competition, having won state team titles the last two seasons.
With five state qualifiers this year, Jake Jackson’s team has a chance at another.
“I think we will definitely be in the hunt,” the coach said. “Unfortunately, we lost our best wrestler, Will Curtiss, a senior at 126, to a concussion two weeks before district. We don’t have much room for error now.”
Leading the way is senior Alex Hernandez (220) with a 42-3 record. Junior Noah Sims (195) has also reached the 40-win threshold. Both captured regional titles along with teammate Jacob Moore (138) last weekend when Centennial finished second in the team standings to Frisco Liberty.
In taking the 2015 state title, Centennial accumulated 133 points, 33 more than runner-up Canyon Randle.
Randle also has five state qualifiers this year and Jackson expects it to be a contender along with Liberty and Dumas.
DEFENDING THEIR TITLE
Area wrestlers taking aim at consecutive individual state championships:
|Rachel Bridges||Keller Timber Creek||Jr.||6A-215||29-0|
|Kennedy Monday||Arl. Martin||Sr.||6A-138||40-2|
|Quincy Monday||Arl. Martin||So.||6A-113||37-3|