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SUNRISE WRESTLING: Tim Conaway’s dominant return earns semifinal berth

It was in a December wrestling practice that Tim Conaway landed on his thumb and “snapped it in half,” as he put it. Doctors said he was done for the season. But the Coronado junior had other plans.

Conaway and his dad went into their garage and sawed the cast off themselves less than two weeks ago. They started their own workout regimen to get him back into wrestling shape and once Conaway felt he was ready, he returned to the doctor, who cleared him for wrestling just a week ago.

His first competitive action was Friday in the Class 4A Sunrise Region tournament at Las Vegas High, winning twice and earning a berth in the 120-pound semifinals.

“The whole time I was dying, it hurt so much to power through,” Conaway said.

Conaway’s first match was a pin in 26 seconds over Marissa Rodriguez of Silverado, then a quarterfinal match against Rancho’s Jose Rubio, who Conaway could not defeat as quickly.

Conaway got on the board first by sprawling on Rubio’s single-leg attempt and spinning around for a takedown of his own with 30 seconds left in the first period. Rubio tied it in the second period with a stalling penalty called on Conaway and an escape.

Conaway chose the bottom position for the decisive third period, scoring a reversal on Rubio to take the lead. A single-arm chicken wing tilted him just enough to score two near-fall points and grab a 6-2 lead. The match ended with Conaway on top.

“(Rubio) was stronger and really quick and athletic so (Conaway) had to hold position the whole time,” Coronado coach Scott Kimball said. “The fact that (Conaway) just kept moving and not letting that kid get what he wanted was all I could ask. I’m proud of that guy.”

A quarterfinal win is impressive for anyone, but it was even more special for Conaway. When he broke his thumb, he didn’t think he would get a chance to avenge last season. He lost the consolation final in last season’s region tournament, finishing in fourth place and missing out on the state tournament by one spot.

“It was phenomenal,” Kimball said. “To see him come back with just a couple weeks left and do well and get in the semifinals is awesome.”

Conaway’s reward for an early return and a hard-fought win? A semifinal showdown with two-time state champion Antonio Saldate of Las Vegas. Saldate earned a bye in the first round and won his quarterfinal match by fall in 45 seconds after taking his opponent down three seconds into the match.

“He’s been in my weight class since my freshman year,” Conaway said. “I’m excited, I haven’t wrestled him yet. I’ll be ready.”

Green Valley sent 14 wrestlers to the semifinal round (13 who count for team points), securing 92½ team points to take the lead after the tournament’s first day. Las Vegas is second with 84 points, and Basic is third with 59.

Green Valley came in as the favorite, winning the last six region titles and five state titles. Last season seven Gators won the individual region championship and had a wrestler place in the top four of all but two weight classes.

“That was our expectation and we were able to follow through with it,” Green Valley coach Jon Ferry said. “I would like to think we’ve got it figured out but there are quality teams and we need to do our business.”

Contact Justin Emerson at jemerson@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2944. Follow @J15Emerson on Twitter.

— —

Sunrise Region Meet

(at Las Vegas High)

Friday’s First-Day Results

Green Valley 92 ½, Las Vegas 84, Basic 59, Foothill 58, Canyon Springs 45, Liberty 42, Coronado 36, Silverado 34, Eldorado 28, Rancho 26, Valley 9

Championship quarterfinals

106–Dennett, Bas, p. Everett, LV, 1:55; Testa, Sil, p. Powel, Eld, 1:57; Silva, Foot, p. Duarte, Ran, 1:17; Dias, GV, p. Reyes, Sil, 0:53. 113–Rhoads, LV, p. Cosio, Sil, 0:37; Kazel, Foot, p. Rubio, Eld, 1:15; Nacapuy, Ran, p. Dais, Bas, 3:59; Wi. Zernich, GV, p. Pineda, CS, 1:12. 120–Saldate, LV, p. Dockery, GV, 0:45; Conaway, Cor, d. Rubio, Ran, 6-2; Gutierrez, CS, d. Anderson, Bas, 16-8; Kalayanaprapruit, GV, p. Munguia, Val, 2:38. 126–Roach, LV, d. Gardner, Sil, 12-4; Hoffman, GV, d. McCreedy, Foot, 16-0; Lopez, Bas, p. S. Rodriguez, CS, 5:14; Watkins, Lib, p. Warr, GV, 4:19. 132–Law, LV, p. Serrano, Ran, 1:48; Smith, Lib, p. Maestas, Foot, 3:46; S. Ortiz, Bas, p. Valencia, Val, 1:42; Scott, GV, p. Burdalski, Cor, 1:07. 138–Najera, LV, d. N. Ortiz, Bas, 6-0; Bowers, GV, p. Egan, Ran, 0:30; Wright, Lib, p. Buchanan, CS, 3:50; English, Foot, p. Hendry, Eld, 0:51. 145–Caday, LV, d. Lovino, Foot, 19-9; Cartier-Pace, Cor, p. Ipina, Ran, 3:22; Gomez, Bas, p. Garcia, Eld, 3:34; Wa. Zernich, GV, p. Ruiz, CS, 4:26. 152–Sablan, LV, d. Lancelot, Lib, 5-0; Kirtley, Val, d. Hickman, Foot, 3-2; Canedo, Sil, p. Overson, Ran, 3:22; Chamberlin, GV, p. Maheia, Val, 3:32. 160–Alvarado, LV, p. DelaCruz, Lib, 2:09; D’Richards, Cor, p. Conigliaro, Bas, 3:43; Oliva, Foot, p. Harris, CS, 5:17; Nakamatsu, GV, p. Ruiz-Allen, Eld, 0:40. 170–Ballesteros, LV, p. Kares, GV, 1:15; Marzka, Cor, p. Campbell, Eld, 1:10; C. Rodriguez, CS, p. Paris, Sil, 2:46; Espinoza, Bas, p. Whiddon, Lib, 2:39. 182–Frishmann, CS, d. Barlow, Foot, 13-6; Moon, Bas, p. Schroeder, Eld, 2:37; Estell, LV, d. Kendricks, Lib, 7-5, OT; Warr, GV, p. Gould, Bas, 2:47. 195–Shoenhard, Cor. d. Garcia, Eld, 9-2; Crochet, GV, d. Dominguez, Sil, 10-6; Alamoti, LV, d. McCaleb, CS, 12-9; Razo, GV, p. Marquez, Eld, 1:38. 220–Jimenez, LV, p. Molloy, Cor, 1:17; Duron, Bas, d. Oroke, CS, 3-2; Whiddon, Lib, d. Brown, Ran, 9-3; VanOrden, GV, p. Buciaga, Eld, 1:16. 285–Kaempfer, LV, p. Young-Dennis, Sil, 1:53; Bradley, Foot, p. Lepoma, Ran, 2:16; Carter, Cor, p. Hernandez, Eld, 0:40; Valenti, GV, p. Abrica, CS, 0:29.

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