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Vikings wrestler Russell Skinner notches 30 wins, Alex Miner clocks girls’ fastest pin
Vikings participate in Mogollon tourney, set sights on future

Brandon Rico in action during his wrestling match. Bottom: Hope Inman wrestles to pin her opponent. (Submitted photo)

Brandon Rico in action during his wrestling match. Bottom: Hope Inman wrestles to pin her opponent. (Submitted photo)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Although in their inaugural season, the Williams High School (WHS) Vikings wrestling team has made it clear that there is nothing standing in the way of dominating their opponent.

The girls have proven that they are not intimidated and will commit when their time in the ring starts. Aidri Pickett obtained the first girls’ win for WHS at the beginning of the season. Fellow teammate Alex Miner currently holds the record for fastest girls pin at 18 seconds and won the first girls’ medal for the team.

For the boys, Russell Skinner currently has approximately 30 wins and was the first wrestler for WHS to earn a medal. Brandon Rico currently holds the school record for fastest pin at 17 seconds. Daniel Rigo experienced a delay in his wrestling season after an injury took him out of the ring. After recovering and getting back onto the mat, he has gone full force into wrestling and earned more medals for the team.

The team consists of six boys and four girls, mainly sophomores, with most players having no more than two months of wrestling experience.

After teaching them the basics of wrestling, and then expanding on technique and movement, the new wrestlers have been improving in no time, according to Head Coach Pete Cansdale.

Cansdale, originally from Kingman, has been wrestling for over 40 years. After visiting Williams and retiring from his personal business, Cansdale decided to relocate to Williams. He began getting more involved within the community and seeing there was no wrestling program, he brought up the idea for the team to the school.

At first there was no initial interest, and he moved down to Prescott. As more interest in a wrestling program was created, Cansdale committed to the team and broke ground on training the wrestlers-to-be. He commutes each day to Williams from Prescott, proving his dedication and commitment to the program.

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Hope Inman wrestles to pin her opponent. (Submitted photo)

“They have less experience, but are going up against some kids that have been wrestling for years,” Cansdale said. “Once they get on the mat, they’re not intimidated.”

While the new wrestlers are still in their first season, Cansdale takes wrestling seriously and reminds them that their mentality in the ring is key.

“I always tell them, ‘When you step foot on that mat, you own that mat. It doesn’t matter if (the opponent) is more experienced or a junior or senior,’” Cansdale said.

Cansdale said that each wrestler has stood their ground and have dominated on the mats, resulting in the wrestling of upper-classmen.

“I have one student, (underclassman) Kyle Pearson, he’s an animal. You tell him something, he picks it up and doesn’t stop,” Cansdale said. “Now he has to wrestle junior and seniors, but he just keeps pushing on.”

With the end of the season approaching, Cansdale added that each wrestler’s performance is exactly where he expected them to be. Cansdale said that nothing can compare to the rewarding feeling of watching the new wrestlers succeed in their matches.

“I have my own trophies and medals and not one of them made me feel as good as watching,” he said. “To see them and the parents (reacting), it’s so great.”

Next season’s plans are already underway with hopes of more community support and more athlete retention, but Cansdale added that he is already proud of how far their team has come, no matter the number of students.

“Even if I get only three additions each season, within a couple of years, we’d have a powerhouse,” he said.

The team travelled to Mogollon for their final regular season tournament Jan. 26-27.

The team’s plans for the future include growing the team over the years to hopefully attend the championships with a full roster. This season, the team cannot qualify for the state tournament in February because of their small numbers, but are working hard to secure their individual spots for the end-of-season tournament.


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