Winter sports programs win big over break

UPDATE (1/16): The men’s JV basketball program came out victorious in the Cimarron Spartan Holiday Classic on January 4. The men went 3-1 in pool play, losing to Arbor View High School 54-50, but beating Cimarron High School 63-43, Western High School 56-40, and Canyon Springs 56-50. In bracket play, the team beat Centennial High School 57-55 in the semifinals and Foothill High School 52-50.

ORIGINAL (1/10): While everyone was relaxing during the holiday break, the basketball, bowling, and wrestling  programs came up big in their own respective tournaments, winning many across the state and northwest.

“Just in the last few years, our winter programs have established themselves as some of the most dominant in the entire school, and really, in the county,” Principal Tam Larnerd said.

The varsity women’s basketball program competed at Green Valley High School and won the eighth annual Gator Winter Classic on December 30. The team has made it a tradition of winning the winter classic, as they have won the tournament three years in a row, mounting four titles overall. 

In pool play, the Lady Grizzlies went 2-0, beating Flagstaff High School (Flagstaff, Ari.) 44-19 on Dec. 26 and Lathrop High School (Fairbanks, Ark.) 57-25 on December 27. After being placed in the diamond bracket (the highest level bracket), the team beat Coronado High School 64-22 in the quarterfinals (Dec. 28), Anchorage Christian High School (Anchorage, Ark.) 65-59 in the semifinals (Dec. 30), and St. Mary’s Academy (Inglewood, Calif.) 52-44 in the championship.

“It means a lot, definitely,” Senior Chelsea Camara said. “Coming into the tournament this year, the teams we played against didn’t really think that we were the team to beat even though we’ve been champions in the past two years. It gives us a layout that we are a team that’s relevant and [other teams] should be afraid of.”

Both bowling programs participated in the first ever Legacy doubles tournament at the Gold Coast Bowling Center on January 2. For the men, the pair of Senior Zachary Billot and Junior Brysen Mortensen won it all, beating every other team by putting up a combined 1065 series. For the women, the duo of Sophomore Caitlin Farr and Freshman Alexiz Bustamante finished in second place, posting a high 900 series, only losing to Shadow Ridge by 14 pins.

“{Winning} felt amazing knowing that me and my could get something under our belts, winning our first tournament outside of state finals and Regionals and all that,” Mortensen said. “It was nice to just hang outside of state finals and team competition.”

The varsity men’s basketball program took part in the Gallup Invitational located in Gallup, New Mexico and ran away with the title on January 2-4. The team beat Miyamura High School (Gallop, NM) 71-55 in the quarterfinals (Jan. 2), Clovis High School (Clovis, NM) 70-56 in the semifinals (Jan. 3), and host Gallup High School 82-70 in the championship

“Our team performance was good,” Senior James Webster said. “I was very proud of Michael Martin, he was playing very good. Frank [Bartley] was playing good defence, and we were all playing good ball together.”

The wrestling program competed in the Mile High Challenge located in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The program had multiple wrestlers, like Junior Erik Escutia, and had one wrestler, Senior Daniel Histrov, place second place in the 155 pound weight class.

“I was happy with my performance in the sense that I beat some pretty skilled wrestlers,” Hristov said. “I feel like I limited myself, especially in the finals. But overall, it’s like a stepping stone [for] building confidence and my skills. It was a very valuable experience.”