Las Vegas High wrestler Alex Aniciete is used to wrestling with family, following in the path of older brother and three-time Class 4A state champion Napoleon Aniciete.
With big brother Napoleon gone, the younger Aniciete has filled the void with his team.
Aniciete cruised to a 14-4 major decision over Liberty’s Colin Schultz on Friday to move into the semifinal round in the 145-pound weight class at the Sunrise Region wrestling tournament at Las Vegas High.
“We’re a family this year,” said Aniciete, a junior. “That’s a big advantage; when each kid wrestles, all of us will go there and watch him. That really helps us. A lot of the guys look up to me now, so I have to push myself, and then push them, keep working.”
Green Valley dominated the team competition on the first day, rolling to 110½ points. Liberty is second with 74½ points, followed by Coronado (62), Foothill (58½) and Las Vegas (58½).
Aniciete had little trouble in dispatching his quarterfinal opponent. He used three strong double-leg lifts to lead 6-2 after one period.
After the match, Aniciete immediately ran to the corner of the gym and did extra conditioning drills with a jump rope, trying to make up for lost time after a staph infection sidelined him for the past month.
“This year, it’s a lot tougher,” the a two-time state champion said. “I don’t have a lot of mat time; I’ve been out for most of the season. But I think we can still do well at state; it’s going to be a ball.”
Aniciete, whose brother wrestles at Utah Valley University, also battled through a knee injury this season.
“I’ve been listening to my coaches and working a lot in the MMA gyms,” he said. “They’ve all been pushing me really hard.”
Wildcats teammates Antonio Jaregui (126), Cody Keller (132), Cornelius Brown (170) and Lahmad Evans (285) also advanced to today’s semifinals, which start at noon. The finals are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
The Wildcats also hope to count on a strong showing in the consolation bracket.
“We’ve got to keep our heads in it,” said Aniciete, who recorded two pins Friday. “I’m telling even the ones who just lost, they need to come back and get points back. And if you have a chance to get a pin, pin them.”
Green Valley placed semifinal wrestlers in all but two weight classes, including defending state champions Zack Perry (132) and Ryder Newman (160), as well as top-rated freshman Sean Cannon (106).
“Our team really feeds a lot of momentum from one to the other,” Green Valley coach Jon Ferry said. “That can be good or bad, and when it’s going good, it really builds throughout the team, throughout the coaching staff, throughout the program. It’s a neat feeling.”
Jared Brathor (113), Josh Temple (120), Spencer Watson (126), Richard Razo (138), Andy Pasbakhsh (145), Donovan Peek (152), David Hosey (170), James Byrne (182) and Sam McAloon (195) also advanced to the semifinals for Green Valley.
“In the situation that we’re in, anyone really can get beat,” Ferry said. “We really do use that as motivation.”
Despite its large lead, Ferry stressed the Gators can’t be complacent with several teams in a tight margin for second place.
“Tomorrow is an entirely different day,” Ferry said. “A lot of us have been down this road before, and things will change. To our kids’ credit, we put everything into this weekend. There is no next weekend without this weekend.”
The Patriots were led by Ian Wilson (145), who had three pins and improved to 58-6 this season.
Michael Martinez (113), Michael Sanchez (120), Tevin Ricci (126), Michael Siwiec (195), Kory Koryakos (182) and Jordan Joseph (170) also advanced to the semifinals for Liberty.