State Champs Still On Course
By: Ray Shoaf
How are the returning State Champs doing and are they in position to repeat? We look at the 6A and 5A boys. Roads based on rankings and as always there may be the Cinderella story of the wrestler upsetting the ranked wrestlers, this is STATE. Starting with the 6A boys first up we have.
At 113 #1 Braxton Brown of Allen returning state champ from 113 and actually going for his 3rd championship and is 1 of 2 wrestlers in the state still on pace to be a 4x state champion. Brown is nationally ranked and only has 2 losses on the year and both are to the #3 wrestler in the nation. Brown hasn’t had a loss in Texas in his folkstyle career and barring a disaster should cruise to #3.
At 120 #1 Dominic Chavez of Arlington Martin is the returning state champ here @ 120. Chavez last loss in Texas in the past 2 years was to Braxton Brown 1-0 in the State finals in 2018. Chavez’s road isn’t quite as simple as Browns as he has #2 Cade Moore of Allen, #3 Christian Lopez of Houston Westside, and #4 Jackson Crandall of Katy. All 3 state placers themselves at 2,3, & 4 respectively. Chavez first test would be in the semi finals against Moore assuming Moore gets by Crandall again, last meeting was down to the last 1 minute.
At 126 #1 Donavan Whitted of Arlington Martin making the big jump this season from 106 where he beat Cade Moore in last years finals. Like his teammate Chavez, Whitted doesn’t have a loss to a Texas wrestler. Whitted ‘s road will be tested possibly in the semi finals as #3 Noah Gochberg of Austin Vandegrift a returning state champ (2018) and last years returning state finalist at this weight is on Whitted side of the bracket. If Whitted gets by Gochberg then he could face #2 Corey Camden who looks to be back in form after beating Gochberg in the Regional 2 finals. Assuming Camden can get by Rance Waigland again which took overtime last meeting. Whitted has a win over Waigland as well.
At 132, Hold on! Got to sit down here. Returning State Champ and defending his 132lb championship #2 Tagen Jamison of Plano West who is undefeated and on the top side of the bracket. Returning State Champ from 126 “who beat Gochberg in the last years finals” #1 Parker Decker of Keller who is also undefeated on the year is on the bottom side of the bracket. They should meet in the finals making a true State Championship Final. One thing is for sure, one of this guys wont be a state champ this year.
At 138 We have #2 James McClain Green of El Paso Franklin who is a 2x state champ. Green missed out on his senior year last year due to an accident and was able to return this year to fulfill his senior year. So he isn’t really a last year returning state champ but a returning 2x state champ from 2017 and 2018. Green had been working his way back to championship form all season beating earlier in the season last years returning state runner up #3 Luke Sloan of Vandegrift. However Green lost his #1 ranking status to Jaden Two Lance of Arlington Martin last weekend at the regional 1-6A championship finals match where Two Lance won in OT. Better to lose at regionals then the state tournament. Both wrestlers will be separated at state however Green will still have to content with #8 John Richardson of Prosper his first match of the tournament. Then it could be Mason Woodard, Jacob Nakamura, or Deshawn Cosby. Sloan will have to content with Two Lance to have a rematch with Green, needless to say it wont be a cake walk for McClain Green to repeat and join the 3x club.
At 145 is Mario Danzi of Allen. Danzi is another wrestler who has yet to be beaten from a Texas wrestler in his folkstyle career. Danzi is the 145 returning state champ set on defending his crown. Danzi is another wrestler still with 4x champion feats looming as he is only a sophomore. #6 Austin Hartmangruber of San Antonio Lee has been having a great year and only has 1 loss and that was to Tyler Ramirez who is out for the year with injury looks to be a contender but has a murders row to get there to have a chance at dethroning Danzi in the Semi Finals. Lots of room for upsets at this weight.
At 160 yet another Allen wrestler #1 Elise Brown Ton also a nationally ranked wrestler who hasn’t been beat by a Texas wrestler since Daniel Manibog in the state finals in 2018. Brown Ton beat the #2 wrestler in Jonathan Wertz of College Park in the regional 2-6A finals this past weekend. The #3 wrestler Darwin Hull from Schertz Clemens who is undefeated this year is on the other side of the bracket from Brown Ton and would have Wertz in the quarter finals. That match should tell us what we need to know. Brown Ton should make the finals for his repeat chance.
At 170 is #1 KiShawn Higgins of Katy the defending state champ at this weight. Higgin’s only Texas loss in the last 2 years is to Brown Ton at the Outlaw Tournament this season. #2 Farid Mobarak of Plano West made it a close match at dual state and could have the knowledge now on how to beat Higgins. If so it will be in the finals as they are on opposite sides of the bracket.
That’s it for the 6A returning state champs now for the 5A boys
At 120 is the 2x returning state champ and up a weight from 113, #2 Alex Pena of Lubbock. Why is a 2x state champ ranked #2? Because he was defeated in the championship finals match at regionals 1-5A last week by Now #1 Andres Mendoza of Canyon Randall. Pena should bull right through all the competition on the bottom side of the bracket and more then likely get a finals rematch with Mendoza.
At 145 the returning state champ and up a weight from last year is #1 Jackson Carter of Midlothian. Carter has beaten or beaten common opponents on his side of the bracket already so that leaves #2 Moses Torres of Canyon Randall on the top side as the next ranked wrestler to dethrone Carter. Torres will have the #3,4 & 5 ranked wrestlers to go through to make that happen.
At 152 Chase Warden of Dripping Springs who was out for a while this season but appears to be back in championship form. Warden returns from 145 last year and is still undefeated with no Texas losses in the last couple of years that I know of. Warden was also nationally ranked earlier in the year The #2 and #3 wrestlers are on the top side of the bracket away from Warden on the bottom side. Warden should breeze to the finals.
At 160 #1 Micah Wiginton of Pfluggerville Weiss was the 152 champion last season. Wigintons only loss this year was to Hull of Chertz Clemens in a last second takedown. Wiginton is on the top side of the bracket away from the #2 and returning runner up at this weight Jaydn Heaton of Canyon Randall and #3 Hank Meyers the runner up to Wiginton last year at 152 is also on the bottom side of the bracket. Wiginton should make the finals.
At 195 is Aiden Jean of Justin Northwest up a weight from last years championship of 182. Jean is undefeated so far this season and if he gets through #4 and All American Corbin Phelps of El Paso Hanks he will face the #2 Mason Ding also undefeated of Carrollton Creekview and or the #3 Kallon Guyton of Leander Glenn in the finals to repeat.
That wraps up last years returning champs preview of their road back to the finals.
Best of luck to all the state qualifiers