Arizona High School Wrestling 2011-2012 Preseason Team Rankings (AZCentral.com)
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1. Tucson Sunnyside: New coach or not, they?ll be at the top until someone else proves they?re better.
2. Phoenix Desert Vista: With three state champs returning, Desert Vista has a very strong shot to dethrone Sunnyside; not a shock at all if it happens.
3. Mesa: Team took a step back in the state tournament last year, finishing ninth, but it always seems to be loaded with talent.
4. Tempe Corona del Sol: A perennial power and the 5A-I champs two years ago; they?ll be in the mix.
5. Gilbert Highland: Sunnyside?s closest competition last season; lots of top wrestlers returning, highlighted by junior Curt Done.
1. Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge: The defending champs look as strong as ever and are a good bet to repeat.
2. Tempe Marcos de Niza: Lots of strong underclassmen means Marcos will continue to stay at the top of Division II.
3. Vail Cienega: Cienega may not quite be at the top level yet, but 10 returning starters ensure that it will be very competitive.
4. Yuma Gila Ridge: State champ Kevin Jumbeck leads a group of 11 returning starters looking to improve on last year?s fifth-place finish.
5. Peoria Sunrise Mountain: The team returns a state runner-up and a third-place finisher, as well as Brennan Smith, who was ranked No. 1 in his weight class before missing the tournament with an injury.
1. Cottonwood Mingus: Had its five-year championship streak snapped last season and will be hungry to start another one.
2. Safford: Trey Andrews will look for his fourth individual title, while Safford will have a good shot at claiming its sixth team championship in the last seven years.
3. Phoenix Thunderbird: The defending champs head into the season without their three best wrestlers from last season, and may have a hard time repeating.
4. Phoenix Moon Valley: Third in Division II last year, Moon Valley moves down into a very top-heavy division and could struggle out of the gate.
5. Flagstaff Coconino: Rio Rico and Tucson Amphitheater will be in the mix here, too, but Coconino?s young talent gives it the edge.
1. Heber Mogollon: This division is Mogollon?s to lose; it returns three individual champs from last year?s title-winning team and will be powerful once again.
2. St. Johns: Last year?s 112-pound champ, Ryder Nielson, will lead what should be a talented squad.
3. Morenci: The team runner-up last season, Morenci returns a second-, third- and fourth-place individual finisher from the 2010-11 state tournament.
4. Camp Verde: Derrick Brown and Isaiah McReynolds, both third-place finishers last year, top the list of returners for Camp Verde.
5. Holbrook: Holbrook looks prime for improvement after last season?s eighth-place showing, with 130-pound champ RJ Alverado leading the way.
Full Rankings at The Arizona Republic, by Tyler Killian