By: Jackson Wiles
NDP senior wrestlers Brock Locnikar and Ethan Chantler ended the season with impressive finishes at the state tournament in Prescott.
Chantler, in the 126 weight class, went 1 and 2 in his first year at the tournament. He faced Ethan Pulliforme from Cactus Shadows in the first round and lost to him in a close decision in the third round. He then faced James Garritano from Willow Canyon on the third place side of the bracket who he beat in the third round. In his last match, he lost to Ashton Teo from Ironwood Ridge in the third round. Overall, he finished the season off strong, punching his ticket to the state tournament and being one of the top sixteen wrestlers in Arizona in the 126 weight class.
After his last match, Chantler said, “ I was happy to be in the same company as wrestlers who have wrestled for eight years and this being only my second year that’s hard to do and I’m very proud about that and how I got to this point.”
Locnikar proved that he is the top wrestler in the 220 weight class in the state of Arizona. In his first match, Locnikar beat Aidan Fish from Centennial in a quick match where Locnikar won by a pin. He then faced T`ziaha Quint from South Mountain, and again, Locnikar won by pinning early in the match. Then, in the semifinal match, Locnikar met Santana Gomez from Ironwood Ridge and beat him in yet another pin early in the match.
The championship match followed and Locnikar faced off against Joshua Gale from Williams field who he beat a week earlier in the sectional tournament. This match did not disappoint with Locnikar finding himself down 1-0 early but soon got an escape, making the score 1-1. Locnikar then got a 2-point takedown, making the score 3-1 in his favor. The match was not over there; however, Gale gave it everything he had in the last 30 seconds, but Locnikar did not give in.
Locnikar, known online and in the martial arts world as the “Gated Community Gangster”, finally got the title he had been chasing the last three years and became the first NDP wrestler to win a state championship. As Locnikar reflected on his season, he said, “I am very proud all the hard work paid off and I have cemented my name in the NDP history book as the first wrestler to win state as well as my other accomplishments this season.”