Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Young Blue Devils hungry for 12th title in a row

TC Varsity



Written in bright blue magic marker on white paper hanging on the walls all around Sunnyside High School’s wrestling room, the message was simple: “5.”

The figure served as a subtle reminder to every Sunnyside wrestler on Wednesday night of their goal for the next three days at the Class 5A Division II individual state tournament in Glendale.

Wrestlers need to win five matches to win a state championship and earn the honor of having their name plastered on the wrestling room’s wall alongside all the past state champions in the proud history of the state’s premiere wrestling dynasty.

“For us, winning five (and) you’re a state champion and you own that weight for a year,” said Kory DeBerry, a sophomore who is competing this week at 140 pounds, a year after winning an individual title at 135.

“The big thing is you want to be remembered,” he said.

DeBerry is one of eight freshman or sophomores, along with two seniors, who are wrestling for the first time this season. They hope to continue Sunnyside’s tradition in this week’s individual tournament and next week’s team championships.

The youthful Sunnyside squad is feeling the pressure to extend the program’s streak of 11 straight state titles, and 27 overall.

“We’ve had people saying, ‘You guys are the worst Sunnyside team ever.’ We’ve even had alumni coming and say, ‘You’re the worst team ever,’ ” said Sunnyside coach Bobby DeBerry, Kory’s father. “We’re the youngest team ever.”

Once all the individual results are tabulated after Saturday’s medal rounds in Glendale, the top-eight teams advance to the Feb. 28 team championship, which for Class 5A schools will be at Phoenix Shadow Mountain High School.

But before they could start worrying about long streaks, the Sunnyside squad spent Wednesday’s practice focusing on the much lower, more manageable number of five.

“This is the day every year where we do this. Everybody focuses and knows what their job is and what their expectations are,” Bobby DeBerry said. “Next week won’t be decided until after this week. We have to do our job this week.”


Arizona’s Class 5A individual wrestling tournaments run Thursday through Friday at Phoenix-area locations. The Class 4A individual tournaments are Friday and Saturday.


> 5A-I – Session I (Glendale Deer Valley HS, 2 p.m.)

> 5A-II – Session I (Mesa HS, 2 p.m.)


> 4A-I and 4A-II – Session I (Jobing.com Arena, 9 a.m.)

> 5A-I and 5A-II – Session II (Jobing.com Arena, 11:30 a.m.)

> All 4A/5A – Evening session (Jobing.com Arena, 7 p.m.)


> All 4A/5A – Session III/Medal Rounds (Glendale Copper Canyon HS, 9 a.m.)

> All 4A/5A – Session IV/Medal Rounds (Glendale Copper Canyon HS, 1 p.m.)

> All 4A/5A – Championship Finals (Copper Canyon HS – Opening Ceremonies 6:30 p.m.; Finals, 6:50 p.m.)

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