There are some years when the debate rages all season long.
And then there are times – like this year – when there is no reason to wage an argument so just sit back and watch the dominance.
Danny Vega has eliminated all debate as easily as the opponents in front of him.
The Ironwood Ridge junior 113-pounder is considered the state’s top wrestling talent and there might not be a close second.
The Arizona state champion is an eight-time high school All-American and has won four national titles. He won the Division I 106-pound state champion last year with a technical fall – 15-0 – in the championship match.
On the national level he became the first Arizona wrestler to win the triple crown – folkstyle, freestyle and Greco roman in the same year – against the best in the country.
“I’ve thought about winning the triple crown for a long time, but I’d never won Iowa until this year,” Vega said after pulling off the feat this summer. “After that, it became a real goal. I was going to do everything I could to make it happen.”
The debate gets real when it comes to who the next four wrestlers who should round out the top five in Arizona.
We polled eight coaches on their opinions of who the top five pound-for-pound wrestlers are this season.
Vega’s buddy and sometime training partner – 106-pound Roman Bravo-Young, a freshman at Sunnyside – gets serious consideration for No. 2.
Vega’s dad, Danny, and Bravo-Young’s grandfather, Michael Bravo, co-founded the Cyclones wrestling club in the Tucson area so the boys have spent many hours drilling and pushing each other to the next level.
Others receiving votes were Juaquin Olivas (138, Sunnyside), Quentin Hovis (138, Seton Catholic), Ryan Allred (145, Camp Verde), Zac Guerrero (170, Cibola), Arizona State signee Josh Kramer (120, Desert Edge), Blake Monty (152, Mesa Mountain View), Weston Taylor (160, Mesa Mountain View), Kieffer Taylor (170, Mesa Mountain View), Jason Holmes (106, Chandler), Jeremiah Imonode (195, Desert Vista), Ted Rico (126, Combs) and Andy Gandara (138, Cibola).
If pressed we’d round out the top five with Olivas, Monty and Hovis, but as we’ve said all along it is debatable other than Vega.
As winter break approaches the tournament season heats up as there are several area teams headed to national events over the next few weeks with the Reno Tournament of Champions this weekend headlining as Mountain View, Chandler and others will get a true test.
The Toros, ranked among the top 50 in the country, finished fourth last year and have the lineup to do even better this season.
Locally, Moon Valley has a strong field this weekend with the Peoria Invitational (Jan. 9-10) and Flowing Wells (Jan. 16-17) tournaments highlighting January.