Rio Rico defeated Nogales 46-12 in high school wrestling on Wednesday, with the Hawks taking all four weight divisions in which both teams were able to field a wrestler.
In the 285-pound weight class, Jesse Callejo defeated Aaron Lerma, and in a 220-pound matchup, Quinn Duerkop bested Jose Martinez.
Jesse Parra followed with a win over Victor Lugo in the 195-pound class, and Miguel Grambs took down Bianca Esquivel in the 138-pound bout.
“I think what impressed me today was our 195 guy, Jesse Parra,” said Rio Rico coach Alex Palumbo. “He had wrestled before, and then he was out and came back, and he looked really good coming back into it.”
Nogales won forfeits in the 160- and 145-pound matches, while Rio Rico was awarded forfeits in four other weight classes: 132, 126, 113 and 106.
“As a group, we fought hard. Nobody quit or gave up or flopped to their back, which I was happy about,” said NHS coach Zach Bunnell.
“We’re pretty tough,” he said, adding that the Apaches wrestlers are having difficulty applying the technique they learn in practice to the competitive stage.
Nogales has two wrestlers in their third season with the team: Esquivel and Juan Hernandez, a 160-pounder. The other members of the small squad are seniors, plus one freshman, Alec Rendon, who was out with an injury on Wednesday.
Rio Rico has a more youth-oriented squad, and enough membership to field wrestlers in 12 of 14 potential weight classes.
“I was fortunate to follow a bunch of eighth-graders up to the high school level, so we have a nice core of freshmen and some sophomores that are there to help build this program back to what it once was,” said Palumbo, who is in his first year leading the RRHS program.
He cited Duerkop and August Roquet, a 132-pounder who won a forfeit and an exhibition match on Wednesday, as stalwarts among the Hawk upperclassmen. Younger standouts include Callejo; Aiden Roquet, who won by forfeit in the 106-pound class against Nogales; and Emmanuel Tapia, who didn’t wrestle on Wednesday.
“I think our goal for the season is getting our wrestlers some mat time and experience, and we want to be able to have a showing for Rio Rico at state,” Palumbo said, adding: “I know we have people in the room that can make it happen.”
Wednesday’s intra-county contest was the only local match of the season for both squads, though Palumbo said the Hawks could potentially host a match in January.