Riding high after recording his first Intermountain League dual win just two nights before, Bayfield's Roy Westbrook was even more elated after his team not only showed up, but for a while threatened a top-two result at last weekend's Sand Devil Classic in Page, Ariz.
"We walked in on Day 2 and we were sitting in seventh," he recalled, "but we were only nine points out of second! For us to come in off a win (39-26 over Monte Vista) and do what we did, was great. It went really well!"
And with another entrant or two, it could have gone historically better.
Led by junior Daniel Westbrook's title-winning 4-0 run at 220 pounds, the Wolverines ultimately amassed 114 team points for a solid sixth-place finish.
"There were 23...tough teams," said Roy Westbrook. "You had Mingus, Snow Canyon, Page, they've been building their team up for years, and what our kids are doing right now is amazing. We had the potential to put five in the finals, out of nine varsity wrestlers!"
En route to his title following a first-round 'bye,' Daniel Westbrook pinned 4A Flagstaff, Arizona's James Sun in 2:10, then 2A Keams Canyon, Ariz., Hopi senior Mike Puhuyesva in 1:34. 2A Pinon, Arizona junior Calvert Tsosie then fell by 6-3 decision, and Westbrook polished off his weekend defeating 3A Chinle, Ariz., senior (and D-III State qualifier at 220 last winter) Nathan Wagner, Jr., 4-2.
"Daniel had a pretty tough semi," Roy Westbrook said. "There's still stuff he needs to learn, but he secured the 'W.'"
Freshman Dylan Pickering lost in the semis at 113 to PHS frosh Zachary Ruiz, the eventual champ, but still finished 4-1 at the meet by pinning MUHS sophomore Braden Arnold 92 seconds into the third-place bout, after stopping Richfield freshman Garrett Beard by 16-1 technical fall.
"He really should have won," Westbrook beamed. "Lost 16-12 to the winner from Page, but where he's at, he could go to State as a freshman. Easily, if we play it smart."
After breezing through 1A Shonto, Ariz., Prep senior Carson Bryant by pin in 56 ticks, and 1A Monument Valley, Utah senior Matthew Atene via 10-0 major decision, Bayfield senior 145-pounder Jake Sandrey unluckily finished 2-3 after injury-defaulting to Wayne senior Luke Dahl in the fifth-place match. That followed a 6-4 loss to Snow Canyon sophomore Daxton Edwards in the consolation semis.
Sandrey had been initially bumped into the survival stages, 4 to 2, by MUHS' Lucas Svoboda-the eventual champ-in a tight semifinal clash.
"Jake's kneecap popped out in the consolation semis.and we just decided to default him out," said Westbrook. "We may even take Ignacio off, get him rested up for regionals."
Freshman 132-pounder Trey McKee went 2-2, and senior Garrett Beebe finished 3-2 (with two major-decision wins) at 138 and in fourth place after losing 9-4 to IML rival Matthew Broughton of Montezuma-Cortez.
Senior 152-pounder Lane Grimwood finished 2-2 but was stopped short of top-six status in Page as Richfield senior Jefferey Nowers pinned him 21 seconds into the third period of his last consolation-round bout.
Junior 120-pounder Colby Baker managed a consolation-bracket pin of 3A Tuba City, Ariz., sophomore Preston Jackson in 1:39, but ended up 1-2 after losing to Wayne freshman Trevor Barlow by pin in 1:28.
Shane Moore went 1-2 at 160, and after losing in the 195-pound semis to Page's Taylor Nez by pin in just 57 seconds, sophomore John Foutz finished 3-1 and in third place after consolation-bracket wins over Richfield's Chayden Christensen (pin in 1:17) and 4A Gilbert, Ariz., Higley's Justin Vargas (pin in 4:18).
"He lost to the eventual winner," Westbrook said, "but manhandled him. Tossed him around for a good 30, 45 seconds, and then he got caught. Should have won, hands-down."
"And Shane wrestled tough. He's still learning, but he's strong as an ox, gives you everything he's got. Never disappointed with him."
This week, the Wolverines have been prepping for the 2A Bobcats' Butch Melton Memorial on Saturday.