Nighthawks win second state wrestling title - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks win second state wrestling title

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Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 4:00 am

They did it again. For the second consecutive year, the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks wrestling team captured the Division II state title, and they did so in dominating fashion. The Nighthawks, who sent 13 wrestlers to compete at the state level, earned 204.5 points to defeat their closest competition, Gila Ridge by 54.5 points.

In addition to the team title, three individual wrestlers won their weight class, to include Trevor Willson at 126 pounds, Troy Taylor at 145 pounds, and Matt Filbert at 152 pounds.

Tate Sandifer, who won an individual state title in 2011, placed runner-up this year at 132 pounds.

Willson repeated his 2011 championship performance to take down his second consecutive individual title.

The three individual championships was also a repeat for Ironwood Ridge, having accomplished the same feat in 2011.

Nighthawks’ coach Tim Berrier has clearly found a recipe for success. In his fifth year as head coach, he has now led the Nighthawks to two state titles and two runner-up finishes.

“The plan this year was the same as years past,” he said. “Come in and work hard. We are lucky to have a good group of kids willing to do that.”

Though considered a favorite by many going into state, Berrier said the team was not always viewed as such during the regular season. Due to injuries and late arrivals from the football team, the Nighthawks finished the regular season with a modest 28-12 record.  

“We really didn’t have our full team until mid-season,” said Berrier.

Still, the Nighthawks silenced any critics when they beat out Marana to take first in the sectional tournament, and then moved on to trump 47 of Arizona’s most competitive wrestling teams at the state tournament.

The margin of win was even more impressive considering the Nighthawk’s struggle on the first day of state.  

“We did not wrestle well on day one,” said Berrier. “There were a couple times we slipped. Gila Ridge was ahead after the first day.”

After the poor day one performance, Berrier left his wrestlers to talk amongst one another. The strategy worked, as the Nighthawks came out fired up on day two to recapture the lead, and eventually the title.

“We know when we haven’t done the best we could,” said Filbert. “We all sat down, and refocused on what we needed to do. It was the last tournament of the year, so we knew we needed to give it everything we had.”

“Joy” was the word Berrier used to describe his feeling following the big win.

“I was really proud of how they wrestled the second day, and how they wrestled all season,” said Berrier. “The first half of the season was a rough start, and a lot of people were counting us out of it. The guys didn’t let that bother them. They didn’t panic during the regular season, and they didn’t panic at state when it looked like things wouldn’t go our way, and that’s one of the life lessons to come out of it.”

The Nighthawks will look for another big appearance at state in 2013, but will do so without some of their star seniors, including Trevor Willson, who will wrestle at Arizona State University next year, and Conner Buette, who will take his talents to the Pima Community College football team.

“We’re looking forward to setting up the dynasty for the kids to come,” said Filbert, who will enter the 2013 year as a senior.  

Other Tucson teams finishing strong in the state tournament included Mountain View High School, placing fifth, and Marana High School, placing seventh.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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