Feb. 2, 2005 - With a thunderous thud of slightly more than a quarter ton of locomotive-like mass, Cliff Englehart of Mountain View got to know Tucson High School's Zachary Peterson a little more closely than he probably had wished.
The full-speed head-on-head collision dropped Engelhart like dynamite takes down a condemned building and sent the 275-pound senior to the mat clutching the side of his face for several minutes during the Jan. 29 title match of the Class 5A Southern Region Wrestling Championships at Mountain View High School.
The two-man fender-bender only fired up Engelhart (32-3), who rebounded to finishing off Peterson in an 8-3 decision for his second heavyweight region title in as many years.
"We both just kind of went in real hard and just caught each other in the face," said a smiling Englehart, the shiner below his right eye getting redder by the minute.
Englehart was allowed to flash a lopsided grin. After all, his Mountain View squad had just completed a thorough domination of any, and all, regional foes. The Mountain Lions not only won the region title, but they did so by more than doubling the amount of points of the next closest team, Salpointe, 252 to 113.
For the first round of the 5A state tournament next week, all 14 of Mountain View's wrestlers, one in each weight class, won't have to travel far. Mountain View will host the first round Feb. 5. Subsequent rounds will be wrestled the following weekend at Glendale Arena.
Among those looking to advance deep into the state tourney will be Englehart, whose win over Peterson makes him the 275-pound weight class southern region champion.
This year's 5A state tournament will feature a different look. Starting this year, four wrestlers will advance to the state's ultimate stage. In years past, only three wrestlers from each weight class were given the shot at state. The change in format is designed to eliminate any byes.
To qualify for the state tourney, a wrestler much finish in the top four at the region meet. Joining the hulking Englehart from Mountain View as Southern Region champions at state will be Stephen Perez, 112 pounds, Wes Arndt, 125, Eric Jungbluth, 130, Estevan Nanez, 140, Alex Bogart, 189, and Jared Hiller, 215. Eleven Mountain View wrestlers appeared in a regional championship bout.
Mountain View could have had as many as nine wrestlers at state as region champs, had No. 1 seeds John Ponce, 145, and Kyle Frost, 152, not been upset by No. 2s. The Mountain Lions weren't without their own share of No. 1 shakeups in the championship round. Both Bogart and Perez took down a No. 1 seed from the No. 2 slot.
All told, 22 wrestlers from the Northwest will make the trip to state, thanks in part to a strong showing from Canyon del Oro's young squad, which will send eight of its own. When Mountain View wasn't swallowing up a region title, CDO sophomore Matt Barron, 135, and senior Sammy Guitard, 160, were.
Barron took down Mountain View's Mike Gould in convincing fashion to earn his region title. Gould jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before a sweeping leg drag from Barron reversed his positioning to give the sophomore the edge he would never relinquish. Barron will take his 23-7 overall record into the same tourney he failed to place at last year.
According to the sophomore, Marcos de Niza, Desert Vista and Goldwater will represent the toughest competition on the state level.
Guitard made short work of Salpointe's Sam Newbold with a decisive 12-2 decision to win the region's top spot.
"It a huge improvement from last year," said CDO assistant coach Aaron White of the Dorados who finished the year 10-10 in dual meets, "The attitude change is amazing."
Also heading to state for CDO is Dominguez, 103, Jacob Stock, 112, Andre Plaisted, 130, Garrett Wilton, 140, Kyle Campbell, 145, and Sergio Hernandez, 189.
The first round of the Class 5A state tournament will he begin at 8 a.m. Feb. 5 at Mountain View High School, 3901 W. Linda Vista Blvd.