Ironwood Ridge continued its solid wrestling season this weekend, winning the 25-team Salpointe Invitational.
Coach Tim Berrier's Nighthawks tallied 281 points and garnered five individual championships, from Trevor Willson at 103 pounds, Scott Filbert at 125, Kyle Webb at 130, Luke McClure at 135, and David Wilson at 145.
Cienega was second with 203.5 points. Among schools in the Northwest, Marana was fourth at 166.5, Mountain View fifth at 166.5 and Canyon Del Oro 12th with 88.5 points.
CDO's David Catalano captured the 285-pound crown, and was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler in the heavyweight division. He had five pins in a total of 5:48.
IR's Willson was the meet's outstanding wrestler in the lighter weight divisions.
Other Northwest champions were Santos Rivera of Marana at 112 pounds, Kyle Gamez of Mountain View at 119, Caleb Crump of Mountain View at 160, and Louis Payne of Marana at 215.
Filbert, the talented Ironwood wrestler who take the mats at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point next year, defeated Trace Gutknecht of Cienega in a battle of defending state champions. It was Gutknecht's second loss of the year.
At the Flowing Wells Invitational Jan. 18-19, the Nighthawks placed fifth among 36 teams.
"That's where we thought we'd be," Berrier said. Two key wrestlers were out of the lineup.
Filbert won the gold at 125 pounds. Webb had a second-place finish at 130 pounds. Nathan Boggs and McClure each had third-place finishes, while David Wilson was fifth in his bracket.
Ironwood Ridge hosts the 5A sectionals on Feb. 13.
"If we can get our full lineup healthy," Berrier said. "We definitely have a chance (to win it all)."
Berrier likes a challenge or two.
"We talk to our kids all the time about wrestling the top teams," he said. That would include perennial champion Sunnyside in the sectional event.
"They've won something like 27 out of the last 30 championships," Berrier said. "I think it's 12 in a row. We're ranked #2 right now in the region."
An opposing coach reaffirms that high ranking for the Nighthawks.
"Ironwood Ridge is one of the best in the state," said Marana coach Rob Lindsay.
Lindsay's Tigers have King Perez, a state place-winner last season, in the lineup.
"My best kid is Dalton Williams, a 145-pounder." Williams had only one loss going in to the Flowing Wells tournament. Payne, a 215-pounder, was also on the football team. He has two losses.
"We have six seniors, and I expect at least five of them to place in state," Lindsay said. "We're pretty solid. Rhett Baker can do well at state. Santos Rivera was unbeaten going into Flowing Wells."
At the Flowing Wells tourney, Williams won his first two matches. Payne finished fifth in his bracket, and Rees Howard, after a couple of earlier losses in the 160-pound bracket, also won some matches.