Kimball Begay was crowned champion in the 195-pound bracket at the Sand Devils Classic last Saturday. It’s the first tournament win for the Page junior. Kimball went 4-0 during his run to the top step of the podium and improved on his season record, which now stands at 40-5. Begay and his opponent, Levi Bourland from Northwest Christian (Phoenix), battled each other for the majority of the match with neither wrestler gaining an advantage over the other, until the final minute of the last round when Begay was able to throw Bourland to the ground and get on top of him.
“After I took him down, I calmed down and wrestled my match the rest of the match,” he said.
Begay finished the match with a 13-0 major decision victory. He won his first three matches by pinning his opponents.
Zachary Ruiz, a sophomore wrestling in Page’s 113-pound bracket, finished in second place, losing by technical fall to Demin Torgerson.
Ted Parkett, wrestling in the 220-pound bracket, finished in fifth place and Ethan Tate, wrestling in the 170-pound bracket, finished in sixth place.
As a team the Sand Devils placed fifth out of 30 teams with 143.5 points. Finishing above them were Canyon View (223.5 points), Montezuma Cortez (188.5), Monticello (180), and Higley (178).
“We had a lot of losses this weekend, but overall we wrestled well,” said head wrestling coach Kyran Keisling. “I’m not disappointed at all because my wrestlers busted their butts and we didn’t lose many matches that we should have won.”
The Sand Devils have only a few days to lick their wounds and get rested. The 3A North Region Championships will be held Jan. 23 at Page High School. The Girls Sectional Tournament is that Saturday, followed by the boys Sectional Tournament Saturday, Feb. 2.
“We still have time to improve,” said coach Keisling, “and that’s what’s so great about a big tournament like this one: That bright light shines a light on the areas where we need to improve.”
Coach Keisling acknowledges that this year is a building year for his program, but it’s building in a way he hasn’t seen for many, many years. Building on his program’s recent successful years has brought hordes of new wrestlers into his room.
Assistant wrestling coach Matt Penrod said it’s impressive to see.
“By this time in the season we’re usually down to about 20 wrestlers, but we still have 40 this year and at one point we had more than 50.”
Other individual results from the Sand Devils Classic.
Karis Begaye (106) 2-2. Harrelson Sampson (120) 0-2, Isaac Smith (126) 0-2, Hunter Richardson (132) 3-2, Carson Stansfield (138) 2-2, Hayden Gracia (145) 2-1, Kaleb June (152) 3-2, Gabe Szabo (160) 2-2, Denver Sheen (182) 1-2, Terran Blackgoat (285) 2-2.