PHS wrestlers hone condition at Sand Devil/She Devil Classic

Nastassjia Harris uses her leg to lever her opponent to the mat.

The Sand Devil/She Devil Classic was a great success last Friday and Saturday. Page hosted 28 boys teams and 26 girls teams that traveled from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and all corners of Arizona.

One of the tournament’s highlights came at the end of the second day when two She Devils, Aja Curley and Angel Clark, faced each other in the championship round. The two are friends and long-time wrestling partners. In the end, Curley edged out Clark to take the championship.

As a team, the Sand Devils finished fourth out of 28 teams. Desert Vista finished in first place with 310 points, Casteel took second with 205.5 points and Canyon View placed third with 187 points. Page garnered 160 points.

Individually, the Sand Devils had seven wrestlers make it to the podium. Antwain Mejia (113) finished fourth, Shayne Ruiz (126) finished third, Tsinajinnie Green (132) finished fourth, Landon Mansker (165) finished thirdk Connor Shirley (175) placed fourth, Ian Yellowhair (190) placed sixth and Hayden Charles (215) finished in fifth place. 

As a team, the She Devils finished third out of 26 teams. Canyon View took first place with 163 points and Casteel finished second with 146 points. The Page She Devils earned 126 points.

Individually, the She Devils sent eight wrestlers to the podium. Persephone Whitehair (107) finished in fifth place, Tea Nockideneh (114) placed fourth, Nastassjia Harris (120) placed fifth, Mya Tsinnijinnie (132) placed second, Leona Sombrero (138) placed third, Ilina Robbin (145) placed second, Aja Curley (165) placed first and Angel Clark (165) placed second.

The wrestlers finish the season with the 3A North Region Tournament this weekend, followed by the Sectional Tournament on Feb. 11 and the State Wrestling Tournament Feb. 16-18.

The She Devils have their 3A North Region Tournament this Friday, followed by the Girls Sectional Tournament Feb. 4 and the State Wrestling Tournament Feb. 16-18.

Overall, Kyran Keisling, the boys head wrestling coach, is happy where his team is at at this point in the season.

“We’re still getting into peak physical condition, but our mental game is there,” said Coach Keisling. “Our focus and concentration is right where it needs to be.”

Coach Keisling said his wrestlers aren’t yet in top physical condition on purpose. 

“It’s not practical to get to that peak level of fitness this early in the season and expect to maintain that level to the end of the season,” he said. “It’s just not realistic to expect the kids to do that.”

Coach Keisling aims to have his team in top physical shape in two weeks, when the team competes in the Sectional Tournament.

The mental part of wrestling is equally important to a wrestler’s success, Coach Keisling said. 

“There’s a lot of pressure at these big events,” said Coach Keisling, “and for our kids, there’s a lot of added pressure at the Sand Devil Classic because they have parents and friends watching from the stands.

“There are a lot of butterflies before stepping onto the mat. Your mind can be your worst enemy. You have to learn how to deal with that, learn to slow it down out there. The best wrestlers are able to turn it off between matches and rest or take a nap in the stands. That mental game only comes from experience.”

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