One year after making history as the first freshmen twins in Arizona to win state wrestling championships, McClintock High School’s Marco and Gator Groves did it again as sophomores.
Gator earned the Division II state title at 126 pounds at the AIA High School Wrestling Championships held Feb. 11 and 12 at the Prescott Valley Event Center.
“It felt great to win again, but I didn’t start celebrating until Marco got his title too,” said Gator. “I was a little nervous for him, but he pulled it off.”
“Gator put a little pressure on me again by winning first,” said Marco. “But like my father says, ‘pressure is for tires.'”
Marco wrestled his way to the state title at 132 pounds Marco went 62-0 this season, which is the best record in the state in any division. His career record is 109-4.
“We have been preparing for years to just relax and enjoy the moment,” said Robert Groves, their father and head coach. “They do a really good job of just doing what they have practiced and letting the rest take care of itself.”
Gator finished the season with a record of 59-2. His only two losses came on the same day he was later diagnosed at an urgent care with a severe case of bronchitis. His lungs were filled with fluid, yet he never complained or said he was having trouble breathing. Coach Groves said he never would have let him wrestle had he known. Gator somehow managed to finish fourth that day.
Coach Groves said, “Obviously I am extremely proud of all their accomplishments. They have handled the pressure of repeating as champions very well. I just try to remain calm throughout the season and take care of the details of scheduling, transporting, lodging as well as the daily practicing and let them focus on getting a little better every day.”The twins along with senior Noah Bello, who finished fourth at 160 pounds, broke several school records, including most wins in a season, which was set last year by Gator with 52. Noah’s record was 56-8. Noah also set records for career wins with 154, match points in a season with 570 and takedowns in a season with 167.
All of the Division II finals are available to watch here