Texas State Wrestling Championships
By Pablo DiMaria
High School Correspondent
Teams that should challenge for a state title
Centennial –Centennial qualified nine wrestlers out of Region II with five region champions at 126, 138, 145, 152 and 220 pounds. The right draws and excellent wrestling by all, and they can win the state championship this weekend.
Amarillo – With 10 state qualifiers this season, the Amarillo wrestling team has a chance to finished top 5 in the state tournament this season.
Randall – Defending 4A state champions only qualified four wrestlers out of Region I. Bailer Thomason (113), Jacob Rubio (138), Bray Freeman (152) and Beau Henson (195). They are going to need for Thomason and Freeman to step it up and help Rubio and Henson to win another state team title.
Highland Park –Highland Park qualified six wrestlers to the state tournament out of Region III. Last season they finished in third place in the individual state tournament.
Returning State Champions
Jorge Santos from Carrollton Creekview, who was a runner-up to Roth in both state and region tournaments, won this year’s Region II tournament at 106 pounds for the first time. His overall varsity record for the last two varsity seasons is 60-5.
Adrian Barraza from Austin Vandegrift, who took second in the state tournament last year at 113 pounds, is back to the state tournament at 120 pounds with a 27-0 undefeated record. Last year he beat the state champion, Rogelio Salazar from Beeville A C Jones, in the Region 4 tournament finals, only to lose to Salazar 4-0 in the state finals. He is a junior that has won the Region 4 tournament three times and has placed in the state tournament twice. His overall varsity record is 93-3.
Nate Bridges from Boys Ranch is a junior who was the state runner-up last year at 120 pounds. This year he is back in the same weight class to the state tournament and will look forward to win his first state title this weekend. He is a two-time Region I champion with an overall varsity record of 93-4.
Jonah Ribera had an outstanding weekend last year in the state tournament and won a state title at 126 pounds despite finishing as the Region IV runner-up. This year he is back to the state tournament once again after finishing second in Region IV. His overall varsity record is 20-3.
Michael Gonzales-Jones from Fort Worth Boswell finished as the state runner-up to Jonah Ribera last year at 126 pounds. This season he is back to the state tournament at the same weight class after finishing third in Region II. His overall varsity record is 64-12.
Future University of Oklahoma wrestler Jacob Rubio is up a weight class after winning the state tournament at 132 pounds last year. He is a three-time Region I champion and has been in the finals of the Texas state tournament since his freshman year. He is a multiple USA Wrestling Junior National Freestyle All-American with a career record of 145-18 in scholastic wrestling. This season he was successful at placing third in the always tough Kansas City Stampede tournament.
Defending 4A state champion at 170 pounds, Bradley Rains from Friendswood, returns back to the state tournament after winning his second Region 3 tournament last weekend. A very tough wrestler in the top position, he pinned his final opponent in the region tournament in 2:37 of their match. His overall varsity record is 69-6.
Armando Pallares from Amarillo Caprock was the state runner-up last year at 170 pounds to Rains. This year he is back to the state tournament at a higher weight class. He is a two-time Region I champion with an overall varsity record of 74-3.
Beau Henson from Canyon Randall has been wrestling extremely well this season. He was the runner-up in the tough Kansas City Stampede to Derek White from Edmond North (Okla.), who is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation at 195 pounds. Just before meeting White he had six falls in the tournament. He is one of the team leaders for Randall and will try to win his second state title this weekend. He is a three-time Region I champion and has qualified to the state tournament since his sophomore season. His overall varsity record is 95-16.
Jace LaCaille from Georgetown is back in the state tournament at 220 pounds trying to make history for Georgetown and win his second state title. Last year he won a Region IV title and state as well. This year he comes into the state tournament with just one defeated in 34 matches. He is a two-time Region IV champion with an overall varsity record of 62-5.
Dakota Allen from Humble Summer Creek is back at the state tournament after finishing second to LaCaille in the finals 7-2. He is a two-time Region III champion with an overall varsity record of 47-3. This will be the second year that Allen qualifies to the state tournament with only one blemish in his record.
Teams that should challenge for a state tittle
Allen – Even with the lost of eight starters from last year’s state championship, the Allen wrestling team is still the clear favorite to win their fifth straight title this weekend. They qualified nine wrestlers out of Region II and won seven region titles.
Katy Seven Lakes – Seven Lakes won the Region III tournament and qualified six wrestlers to the state tournament. They should be in the running to finished top three in the state tournament.
Returning State Champions
Last year’s 106-pound state champion, Alex Minor from McKinney Boyd, is back in the state tournament, but this time at 113 pounds. Last year he defeated Howard Smith from Allen 8-7 in the finals. This year he finished third in Region II, behind Smith and undefeated freshman Coltan Williams from Lewisville Hebron. His overall varsity record is 68-4.
Howard Smith from Allen is part of a strong group that will help Allen win its fifth straight team title. Last year he finished second at 106 pounds to Minor in both Region II and the state tournament. He had a great regular season placing in the tough Walsh Ironman tournament, Kansas City Stampede, Texas Outlaw and the Hurricane Classic. His overall varsity record is 62-22.
William Homalon from Katy Morton Ranch is back in the state tournament at 126 pounds, after winning the state tournament last year at 120 pounds. He won his second Region III title last weekend, and will enter the state tournament with a 47-3 record. His three loses have been to Dillon Mouser from Summer Creek, Thayer Atkins from Trinity Christian Academy and Christian Martinez from Katy. His overall record is 104-7.
State runner-up Christian Martinez from Katy looks to be the favorite at this weight class to win a state title this weekend. Last year he finished second in the state tournament at 126 pounds to Dylan Akers from Lewisville Flower Mound. This year he comes into the state tournament as a two-time Region III champion and with a season record of 52-1. His only blemish of the season was to Zak Hensley from St. James Academy, Kansas, in the finals of the Texas Outlaw Tournament. His overall varsity record is 108-5.
Michael Oramas from Klein was the state runner-up last season at 138 pounds to Allen’s Daniel Cartagena. This weekend he will be wrestling in the state tournament at 152 pounds. He is a two-time Region III champion with an overall varsity record of 95-4. This year he owns victories over fellow state qualifiers at his weight class – Malik Pickett from Katy Stevens 3:13, Christian Mata from Clear Lake 6-0, and Marlon Ellis from Allen 4-3.
Rafay Ali from Arlington Bowie had a Cinderella story last year at the state tournament. He finished fourth in Region I, but stilled managed to make the finals of the state tournament where he lost to Oliver Pierce from Allen. This season he took second at Region I, losing in the finals to Braden Urquhart from Amarillo Tascosa who place four in the state last year at 138 pounds.
Future Penn State wrestler Bo Nickal, is the clear favorite in this and in most state brackets around the nation. He is a smart mat wrestler with great technique on his feet as well. He has been the most decorated wrestler in the Longhorn state and for Allen. He is a four-time Region champion, winning two region 3 titles and two region 2 tittles. He is a two-time state champion and three-time state finalist with an overall record of 176-6.
Blake Andrews from Grapevine has looked great all season long after bumping up to the 220 pound weight class from 182 pounds. In the Region tournament he pinned all three opponents in the first period. Last year he took second at the Region II and state tournament to Matt Meyer from Allen High School. This year he will be attending the state tournament as the Region II champion and with a 31-0 record.