Thu, Nov. 21

Unbeaten Schulz captures first girls state championship

Mingus senior Danni Schulz celebrates winning the state championship at the first AIA girls state wrestling tournament on Friday night at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus senior Danni Schulz celebrates winning the state championship at the first AIA girls state wrestling tournament on Friday night at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus Union senior wrestler Danni Schulz’s state tournament was a little more taxing than normal but she still had enough energy to pick up MUHS head coach Klint McKean after she won the inaugural girls state tournament.

Schulz pinned her way to the state title at 225 pounds on Friday at the Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. She finished the year undefeated.

Afterwards she hugged one of the referees and said she had an amazing tournament.

“It’s a pretty great feeling, especially since I get my name on the wall in the wrestling room, it’s pretty good,” Schulz said. “I’m going out with a big bang and that’s great, that’s just a great feeling.”

Schulz had a bye in the first round, then won in 1:16 in the quarterfinals and 5:16 in a dramatic semifinal.

“We expected that and we hoped for it but you gotta go and perform and she was tested (Friday),” Klint McKean said. “She was losing in the semifinals with less than a minute left, she was down by one. She got put on her back, almost got pinned by the wrestler from Basha and then she was able to get off her back, get to her feet and get that last takedown and actually took the girl to her back and pinned her with less than 30 seconds left.”

Then in a final she got the win after 5:49.

“The finals was close until in the second period Danni really opened it up and ended up teching in the third but that girl was a strong wrestler and I was really proud of Danni and for her to be able to end her career as a state champion,” Klint McKean said.

Mariana Reyes took second and Schulz said the freshman was impressive.

“I anticipated it a lot harder than I should have, because I had her all day long, I did,” Schulz said.

It was the first time she faced her.

Schulz finished the season 17-0 and not many of her matches this year went the distance.

“She went undefeated and mostly got pins I think there was one wrestler she didn’t pin or tech, so she just had a dominant season, it was a perfect cap to her career and we’re excited to put her name on the state championship plaque and so is she, that was one of her goals since the beginning of the year,” Klint McKean said. “It was really her goal when she was wrestling boys but that was a long shot to be able to do that and now when she is on an even playing field, wrestling against females she showed just how good she is.”

Schulz was one of the stars of the tournaments, boys or girls, receiving attention from the statewide media.

“I love it, I love it, the Arizona Republic ran a story on her and after her match she had a bunch of reporters there talking to her and yeah, I think she couldn’t stop smiling,” Klint McKean said. “I know her adrenaline was pumping, she picked me up after win (laughs), she ran in the corner and picked me up, I thought she was going to toss me.”

Seeing her win the first girls wrestling championship in her senior season was even more special for Klint McKean

“It’s great, especially since I’ve been coaching Danni since she started in sixth grade,” Klint McKean said. “She came out for wrestling in sixth grade at Cottonwood Middle School and I was coaching her then, so I’ve really seen her grow up. She’s like a second daughter to me and I have her in class, she’s in my senior English class, and so I couldn’t be more happy for her.”

On the boys side, the Marauders didn’t have anyone place.

Junior Ryan Griffin (36-9) at 220 and freshman Isaac McKean (27-8) at 132 also went to State. As a team the Marauder boys finished 44th.

“Ryan went 0-2 and he’s more disappointed than anybody because he could have performed a lot better, but he’s a junior and he’s got another year and he’s got a full offseason to learn,” Klint McKean said.

Klint McKean’s son just missed out on placing his rookie year.

“Isaac at 132 was one win away from placing, so he did really well, came back after losing his first match and won some good matches, beat some really tough wrestlers and then he lost in what we call the blood round, the match to decide if you place or not and he lost by a take down to a senior, who only had one loss this year, so for Isaac being a freshman he did really well,” Klint McKean said.

Blue Devils dominate

In Division II action, the Tucson Sunnyside boys won their 32nd team championship.

They edged second place Marana Mountain View 241-127, scoring the most points for a big school since Mingus Union dropped 243.5 points in 2008. The 114-point margin of victory is the sixth most ever with Camp Verde beating Benson by 157 in 2007, Sunnyside over Mesa Mountain View by 131.5 points in 1984, Sunnyside defeated Mesa by 127 in 1983, Mingus Union beating Buckeye by 125.5 in 2007 and Safford beating Payson by 114.5 in 2010 according to the AIA.

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