Sports > Schools
Wrestling: Jaguars can't match up with Allen, Akers brothers win regional titles
In the opinion of most Metroplex wrestling coaches, Class 5A Region II is as good as it gets.
That fact helps illustrate just how dominant three-time reigning state champ Allen is, as the Eagles dismantled the competition en route to the championship.
Allen (325.5) took the top honors ahead of Lake Highlands (148.5) and Flower Mound (144.5).
Lewisville (151) nabbed the top spot on the girls side, with Coppell (133) in second and R.L. Turner in eighth (42).
"We're absolutely disappointed we didn't hang on for second," said Steve Davis, Flower Mound head coach. "But in the grand scheme of things, I think we lost it at district. We had a couple of key starters out with illnesses and they weren't able to advance. That hurt us. And we had a couple of other kids that we expected to place that weren't able to. There are 100 ways you can come up with those four points."
Marcus (72) placed 10th on the boys side, while Lewisville (25) finished 23rd.
"We thought we would be able to get a couple of people through to state and we did that," said Mike Prado, Marcus head coach. "And we had a couple of guys who were right there on the periphery. Overall, everyone but one guy won a match and we finished the tournament 19-18, so we got on the right side there."
The Jaguars, meanwhile, were powered by the Akers brothers, with Dylan taking first at 126 and Scott accomplishing the same at 145.
"Dylan hasn't been challenged all year and if he wrestles well, I don't think there is anyone that can touch him," Davis said. "And Scott has only lost once and that was to the kid (Allen's A.J. Hinkle) he beat in the finals. So there was a little revenge factor and he took care of business. [Scott and Hinkle] look to be the top two guys in the state as well, and there could be a lot of finals that if the coaches have it ranked correctly, could be repeats in the state finals."
Also heading to Austin for state will be Drake Dudley (second - 160) and Weston Cronan (fourth - 120). Jordan Speckels (113), David Wojcicki (170) and Branson Roberts (220) also qualified as alternates after placing fifth.
"Drake lost to a guy that pinned him a few weeks ago," Davis said. "But he really made it interesting this time and is closing the gap.
"With Weston, I think maybe I had a little higher expectation than he did. Once he earned his trip, he might have gotten a little satisfied, so we're trying to raise the expectations a little more this week."
Speckels, meanwhile, advanced to state last year and had chances to win both matches he lost in this year before falling short. Heavyweight Ed Klecka was unable to advance out of the consolation bracket after dropping his first match.
"[Klecka] was extremely disappointed and I was for him," Davis said. "He's been a mainstay for us."
From Marcus, Dylan Ross (152) earned third with Brandon Litten in fourth (195). Lucal Lovell (106) qualified as an alternate.
"Lucas was seeded fifth and got fifth," Prado said. "Brandon wasn't at his fullest, he was bothered by an injury, but still managed to get fourth even though he couldn't really get any lift or put much pressure on his leg. Hopefully he will be good to go for state."
Ross was able to overcome a loss in the second round to win four consecutive (three via pin) matches and place third.
"He came back strong and avenged his only loss," Prado said. "He's been on a nice roll. And if Brandon is healthy, look out. He's a gamey kid. But state is going to be very tough and our guys are going to have to wrestle hard."
Lewisville's lone representative on the boys side is Jacob Pisana (138), who notched third.
Coppell will be represented at state by Daniel Murillo (132), who kept his unbeaten record intact by taking first.
Hebron, meanwhile, took 20th, which included a third-place finish from Patrick Davis (120).
In girls action, and just like at the district tourney, Coppell finished second behind a Lewisville squad that filled more positions.
"We won first, had two individuals finish first, two in second and two in third," said Joe Daniel, Lewisville head coach. "You can't ask for much more than that. We thought it was an attainable goal and it was. We were one of four teams that took eight wrestlers, so numbers-wise, we were in good position. You definitely want to build your lead early and then get some strong finishes late. But it got really tight just like at district."
It was Lewisville's first regional title and the most individuals the program has sent to state in its four-year history. As a result, Daniel was named the region's Girls Coach of the Year and Brent Wasche was tabbed as the top assistant coach.
Lewisville's Brittany Marshall will head south for the second consecutive season but will do so as a regional champ after taking first (165). Tommi Goodman (102) also earned gold after defeating an opponent she lost to in the finals at district.
Sanchez (110) makes the trek to Austin for a third straight year but is coming off her best finish at regionals after placing second.
"It's hard to say what is going to happen at state," Daniel said. "The best girls are all there. We got a chance to see a bunch of them at the Frisco Tournament. But that was in December, so a lot has changed. I expect them to do well, but how well I'm just not sure."
Rounding out the Lewisville qualifiers are Jennie Kim (second - 185), Selphia Galloway (third - 138)
Jordan Lee (third - 215) and Fernanda Hernandez (fourth - 119). Maria Mulero (fifth - 128) is an alternate.
The Cowgirls are sending seven qualifiers, all of which finished third or better.
Stephanie Martinez (148) notched a first-place finish, while Anna Woo (95) and Erika Lozano (128) placed second and Charlotte Lee (110), Cara Romeike (119), Leisa Hernandez (165) and Koa Moe (185) all finished third.
"We talked all season long about having a really young team and needing to grow," Lowery said. "If we did that, we thought we could do well, and that showed the last couple of weeks. Our goal was not to win, but for everyone to score points and we did that. Our only girl that didn't finish in the top three was sick all weekend."
Lowery believes the team has a chance to make some noise at state.
"There are a lot of tough opponents, but we hope to do well," he said. "We only have one senior in our lineup and are pretty experienced, but we'll have a lot of chances to score points."
From R.L. Turner, Heiley Garcia (138) won gold, while Enye Hernandez picked up silver (102).
Now each boys and girls squad will prepare for the three-day state tournament, which includes only Class 5A programs this season.
"I think all four of our boys have a chance to come back with hardware," Davis said. "But I'm unsure how we will fare in the team portion because some of the other regions are considerably weaker than ours and have a larger quantity or wrestlers. We're shooting for second but could wind up in fifth or sixth. It's just a matter of how it plays out early."
The Jaguars and other clubs also hope to benefit from the new format which has led to an increase in intensity in practice.
"There's nothing normal about this week," Davis added. "We're able to go in a room with some of the 4A teams and not worry about showing our hand. We want to stay fresh, but the practices also have an increase in intensity because there is a pride factor."
Dylan Akers (first - 126)
Scott Akers (first - 145)
Drake Dudley (second - 160)
Weston Cronan (fourth - 120)
Jordan Speckels (fifth - 113)
David Wojcicki (fifth - 170)
Branson Roberts (fifth - 220)
Jacob Pisana (third - 138)
Dylan Ross (third - 152)
Brandon Litten (fourth - 195)
Lucas Lovell (fifth - 106)
Nick Knill (sixth - 138)
Tommi Goodman (first - 102)
Brittany Marshall (first - 165)
Beatriz Sanchez (second - 110)
Jennie Kim (second - 185)
Selphia Galloway (third - 138)
Jordan Lee (third - 215)
Fernanda Hernandez (fourth - 119)
Maria Mulero (fifth - 128)