Winning five state titles in the past 10 seasons is great, but what Camp Verde wrestling coach Bob Weir really looks forward to are the graduation ceremonies.
“Our goal is to see the kids walk across that stage with their diplomas,” Weir said. “For the coaches, that’s our state championship. That’s where the hard work and dedication pays off.”
Weir will still get the chance to see his athletes graduate after this season, but this will be the last year he’ll do so as Camp Verde’s head coach.
The admired 21-year coach is stepping down after the Division IV state championship. As Camp Verde’s principal, Weir’s hands are already full, and he is looking forward to spending more time with his family. But wrestling is in Weir’s blood, so he is planning on being a volunteer wrestling coach next year at Camp Verde.
“Everybody is teasing me about that I’ll still be running the program next year,” Weir said. “But I am looking forward to spending more time with my family. I’ll miss it (wrestling) dearly, but I won’t miss the paperwork. I will miss the kids. That’s why I got into wrestling, to be with the kids.”
Camp Verde’s wrestlers aren’t chanting “Win one more for Weir!” during practice.
They are focused on other things, beginning with how the cancellation of the wrestling sectionals will affect the likely state team favorite in D-IV.
“It’s tough,” said Weir about the cancellation. “We are just trying to stay in shape."
Plus, teams such as St. Johns and Willcox are capable of tripping Camp Verde this year.
Last year, St. Johns was the state title favorite, but Camp Verde came out on top. Two years ago, St. Johns won out, with Camp Verde finishing as the state runner-up.
This year, Camp Verde is 24-0 despite battling through some injuries, sickness and inexperience in the heavier weight classes. The team likely starts the top wrestlers in the lower weight classes regardless of division.
Camp Verde is home to Ryan Allred (145), a two-time state champ who wants to become the first four-time state champ at Camp Verde. Allred, a junior, hasn’t lost since the first week of his freshman season.
“Ryan is a technician,” Weir said. “He’s wise, and one of the best we’ve ever coached. He works aggressively but is a controlled wrestler.”
Camp Verde also starts three more returning state champs, Hayden Uhler (106), Alex Casillas (113) and Matt Mejia (120).
St. Johns (36-2) also is returning individual state champs, including Eli Frazier (132 pounds, 35-2 record) and Garrett Davis (35-2 record).
Sherod Bride (160) is 36-1 for St. Johns.
“If our kids wrestle to their potential, we could end up on top,” St. Johns coach Brandon Crosby said.
Willcox finished its regular season with a 26-2 dual meet record and won the Gila Valley and Thatcher tournaments this season.
Willcox has seven wrestlers who have each won at least 30 matches this year, including Parker Osterman (120) and Bryce Castagna (113).
“I think it’s going to be a dogfight,” said Weir about this year’s D-IV state team title race.
Weir’s record at Camp Verde is 459-164.
(You can download the state wrestling programs for free this week. Go here to dowload a high or low resulotion program.)