By Greg Perkins
Five of the 13 Holbrook wrestlers competing in the Division IV state meet in Prescott over the weekend placed at the meet. Shem Bowman was the highest finisher, placing third. Theron Johns and CJ Plumb were both fourth, Nikko Ferniza finished fifth and James Ramirez placed sixth.
As a team the Roadrunners placed eighth with 91 points. Camp Verde easily won the team title, scoring 243.5 points. St. Johns was second with 195.5 and Morenci third with 164.5.
Of the 13 wrestlers Holbrook sent, Shem Bowman had the best overall record, going 4-1. CJ Plumb, Nikko Ferniza and Theron Johns all went 3-2. James Ramirez was 2-3. Caleb McClellan, Levi McClellan, Michael McMonigal, Clayton Hunt and Kevin Self all went 1-2. Sam Plumb and Angel Aguilera both went 0-2. Joseph Herrerra had to forfeit both of his matches due to an injury.
“On Friday we did very well, finishing the day in third place. On Saturday we ran into some tough compe-tition. There were several matches that could have gone either way. We lost four matches in overtime,” said Coach John Bokker.
“We had five state placers this year compared to two last year. At 106 Samuel Plumb wrestled hard, but was beaten by larger opponents. I expect big things from him in the future. At 113 Theron Johns battled some very tough competition and came away with fourth place. He will be a state champion in the upcoming years.
“Levi McClellan faced the No. 3 wrestler at 120 right off the bat and lost a nail biter. Then he faced Joe Gaylor from Mogollon in the consolation round and lost a very exciting match in overtime. Levi is going to be one of the greats to come out of Holbrook. He had 34 wins this season, which is the best by any freshman since I have been here.
“Caleb McClellan had a tough weight class at 126, winning one of his matches in quadruple overtime. He worked extremely hard all year and more than doubled his wins from the previous year.
“At 132 James Ramirez placed sixth. I know he would have taken third if it had not been for a neck injury in his final match before championships. He is a very gifted wrestler. At 138 Michael McMonigal ran into the first place and third place finishers in his weight class. Michael scored some crucial points for the team. I am proud of Michael for his dedication to the sport and the improvements he has made over the years.
“Joseph Herrera qualified for state with a second place finish in sectionals, but was not able to compete due to an eye injury in his finals match. He is a sophomore who played a key role for our team at 152.
“Clayton Hunt faced some tough wrestlers at 160, losing two and winning one. His loses were to the first and third place finishers in his weight class. He will make a big impact his senior year for our team.
“Kevin Self won a crucial match for us at 170 before he had to face a wrestler he had lost to a couple times previously. He lost an extremely hard fought match in overtime. I am very proud of Kevin with the way he wrestles. I know he will give it his all every time he touches the mat. Look for him to make some waves next year.
“At 182, Nikko Ferniza gave the eventual state champion his toughest match of the entire state tournament. Nikko wrestled hard and came away with a fifth place finish. He is going to be a force next year for us.
“At 195, Shem Bowman’s only loss was in the semifinals. He lost in overtime to a tough Mogollon wrestler. He came back and took third place. Shem is a beast and will be unstoppable his senior year.
“CJ Plumb has impressed me so much! He has made huge improvements over the year. CJ gave the eventual state champ a run for his money in the semifinals and lost to an experienced wrestler from Camp Verde in finals. He has been giving up almost 20 pounds to his opposition all season. Look for him to have an out-standing senior year next year.
“At heavyweight, Angel Aguilera lost to some big, strong wrestlers. With more experience there is no telling how good he can be.
“I am very proud of the improvement that the team made this year. All the placers are coming back next year and I am expecting big things,” said the coach.
By Greg Perkins