Green Valley’s Spencer Watson knew he didn’t have to win his final match Saturday at the Sunrise Region wrestling tournament at Las Vegas High.
It didn’t make him any less confident.
Watson eked out a 6-4 overtime decision over Las Vegas’ Antonio Jaregui to win the title at 126 pounds, helping the Gators win their second straight Sunrise tournament title with 313½ points. Liberty was second at 187½, followed by Basic (144) and the host Wildcats (139).
“Throughout the whole match, in my mind, I’m talking myself into not losing,” said Watson, a junior. “I knew for a fact that I couldn’t lose. That’s the only thing going through my mind.”
Watson nearly won earlier as he finished a double-leg takedown for a 4-3 lead with 30 seconds left in regulation. But Jaregui tied it, attempting an escape several times before receiving a point on a stalling call on Watson.
In overtime, Watson took control and raised his season record to 28-5.
“I was just trying to stick to how I normally wrestle,” Watson said. “I was being careful, making sure he couldn’t get easy shots on me. And when it was the right time, I went for my shot, got the takedown, and then I just waited.”
Watson’s takedown late in overtime was originally ruled null, but a lengthy huddle between the two match officials and both coaches overturned the no-call.
The Gators placed 12 wrestlers in the finals, including nonscoring Alex Watson, who defaulted to teammate Jared Brathor in the 113-pound final.
Sean Cannon (106), Josh Temple (120), Zack Perry (132), Donovan Peek (152), Ryder Newman (160) and David Hosey (170) also gained individual titles, helping Green Valley win back-to-back region championships for the first time.
“This team is so different than any other (in Green Valley history),” said Newman, a defending state champion. “We train hard together, and we’re a family. … We’ve talked about this day from the beginning. We set our goals high, and today we knocked off the first goal.”
The Gators gained four victories by pin, including Newman’s in 4 minutes, 26 seconds.
"I told them, it’s great to win a regional title, but it’s tougher to defend it," Green Valley coach Jon Ferry said. "We had a target on our back, and we were able to follow through, which makes me very proud as a coach. This was not easy for us, but we had a game plan and we followed through."
Liberty freshman Michael Siwiec won the 195-pound title, and Michael Sanchez (120), Ian Wilson (145) and Jordan Joseph (170) each placed second to lead the Patriots to a runner-up finish.
Basic’s Ron Pretasky was first at 220 pounds, and the Wolves got runner-up finishes by Isaac Bodenlos (152) and Cameron Kofford (160).
Alex Aniciete won at 145, claiming his third straight region title for the Wildcats. Jaregui and heavyweight Lahmad Evans were runners-up.
Canyon Springs’ Jorge Castillo won at 138 pounds, and Eldorado heavyweight Mike Williams boosted his record to 36-0 with a 10-6 victory in the final.
Rancho’s Abel Gomez won the 182-pound championship bout.