Not just little brother, East’s Max Francisco seeks to establish his own wrestling legacy

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Max Francisco is the younger brother of reigning 112-pound Division I state champion Elyle Francisco.

But Max, a freshman who wrestles in the 103-pound weight division at Bettye Davis East, isn’t just a little brother. His coaches believe he has the talent to rival, and perhaps even surpass, his brother’s success on the mat.

Because of his size, trainers say he often spars with wrestlers who are anywhere from 15 to nearly 30 pounds heavier than him.

“He probably would have beaten most 112s in this league honestly,” East coach Mario Santaella said.

While his older brother was busy competing at the U17 World Championships last summer, Max Francisco was competing in the United States and earned All American honors in the U15 division in the Lower 48s.

[Anchorage wrestler Elyle Francisco is ready to represent state and country at the U17 World Championships]

Whenever he steps onto the mat, his mindset is to be aggressive and while some coaches often want their superior wrestlers to work on their technique against less skilled opponents, Francisco said he tries to ” aim for the pin every time”. “

“I don’t think he wrestled more than 30 seconds,” Santaella said.

Santaella said Francisco only recently fell in love with the sport and believed he had the potential to be even better than his brother.

While his brother who primarily fights Greco, Max develops an even more diverse skill set.

He fights Freestyle, Greco and Folk because he wants to be a complete wrestler who charts his own path, not follow in his older brother’s footsteps.

“I joked with his parents that I always thought Max was better than Elyle, he just didn’t come to practice,” Santaella said.

Cougars on the lookout for fame

As the next generation in the East look to forge a legacy, Service High seniors Ryunosuke Tsukada and Zachary Priebe hope to cement theirs by winning something that has eluded them so far, a state title in their categories. of respective weights.

“It’s my last year so I’m trying to go as hard as I can,” Tsukada said. “My goal is to always try to be first.”

He finished fourth in last year’s state tournament in the 145-pound division and one of his other main goals is to be a good role model for other student-athletes in the program.

“I really want to leave everything on the mat to have no regrets,” said Tsukada.

He wrestles year round in ABJJ (Anchorage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and traveled to Arizona for a national tournament last summer where he took second place in freestyle and finished last in folk style after having lost against the eventual first and second.

“I feel pretty good like I’m at least in the top three,” Tsukada said of where he stands compared to the rest of the wrestlers in his weight class in the state.

Service 171-pound wrestler Zachary Priebe

Priebe ranked third in the state last year at 171 pounds and believes improving his mindset when stepping onto the mat is the key to getting there.

“It’s probably my most brutal thing that gets me down,” Priebe said. “My mind says I’m tired but I shouldn’t think that way.”

He wants to adopt a relentless attitude where he fights fatigue instead of letting it get the better of him.

“That’s what really beat me in the state last year,” Priebe said. “I wasn’t thinking about my very first opponent at all because I pinned him straight away in the regions and the other times (we met) and that’s how I lost that match.”

The Knights hope to revive it

Colony High has won each of the last three Division I tag team state titles. Program history status.

“They’ll have time off and then we’ll get them back, but we’ve got a good team fighting hard,” head coach Todd Hopkins said.

The Knights are bringing back three of their seven placers from last year’s champion team, with junior Matthew Mitchell and senior Elijah Larson the only returning state champions. Hopkins says both look good to start the season.

Mitchell won the state for the first time as a sophomore in the 125-pound class and welcomes the inevitable target who will be on his back all season.

“I like competition, so I hope people will shoot me,” Mitchell said.

Any former rivals looking for revenge will have to rack up a few more pounds to demand it, as Mitchell has decided to move up to the 130-pound weight class.

“I didn’t feel like losing weight to be honest,” Mitchell said. “I want to be at my peak, not always exhausted from cutting weight.”

He considers his best competition to be Kenton Cooke from the East, whom he beat in the state finals last year and who is also moving up to the 130-pound weight class.

“I think we’ll have a rematch and a really good fight again this season and I’m really looking forward to fighting him all year,” Mitchell said.

While not as loaded with proven talent as they were last year, Mitchell thinks this team has what it takes to turn the tables.

“I think the team is going to do well, we just need to fix the rotation and I think we have another state in the bag,” Mitchell said.

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