The Marcos de Niza Wrestling Alumni page is dedicated to former student athletes who continued their wrestling careers and education after high school.
After earning a second place finish at the 1995 Arizona 5a state championships, Charlie continued his wrestling career at Adams State University in Colorado. Charlie was on the varsity squad for four years while earning his Bechelor of Psychology degree in 1999. Charlie also received his Master of Science in Psychology degree from the University of Phoenix in 2010.
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto attended Marcos de Niza High School as a foreign exchange student from Japan from 1992 to 1995, where he lived with coach Jim Weed. Nori comes from a wrestling family, with his father representing Japan in the 1972 Olympic Games, and his two sisters, Miyu and Seido, both world champions in freestyle wrestling. After Nori won 3 state championship titles, he began a career in mixed martial arts and kickboxing. Nori won titles in K1 & PRIDE and made a return to his wrestling roots for a bid at the 2008 Olympic Games. Nori placed 2nd and 4th in the Japan Senior Freestyle National Championships. He dislocated his elbow in the first minute of his match against an Olympic Bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympic Team Trials. He is now fighting in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships). Follow the "Kid's" MMA career by clicking on the link below.
Tony hails from the most famous wrestling family in American history. His uncles, John Smith (2x Olympic Freestyle Champion & 3x NCAA National Champion, Head Coach of Oklahoma State University), Lee Roy Smith (National Champion, World medalist, Head Coach of Arizona State University), Pat Smith (first 4x NCAA National Champion), Mark Smith ( NCAA All-American) and cousin, Mark Perry (NCAA National Champion, Head Coach of Cal Poly University). Tony attended Marcos de Niza High School in 1996, when he lived with his uncle, Lee Roy, who was the head wrestling coach of Arizona State University. After winning an Arizona state wrestling title in 1996, Tony moved back to Del City Oklahoma, where he won the Oklahoma State High School Championships in 1997. Tony continued his wrestling career and education at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he attained Division Two All-American status in 2000.
After winning his second individual title and Marcos de Niza's first Team State title, he attended Phoenix College to continue his wrestling career and education. R.D. was a two time All-American by placing second and third in the NJCAA National Championships while earning his Associates Degree at Phoenix College. He then transferred to Arizona State University, where he was a varsity member for his final two seasons. R.D. was the team captain of the 2001 PAC-10 Championship Team, University Freestyle All-American, 4th at PAC-10s, and NCAA Division One National Qualifier. He was ranked as high as #10 in the NWCA poll, with a D-1 career record of 43-27. He earned his Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies.
After placing in state and helping Marcos de Niza win it's first team title, Ben continued his wrestling career and education in his home state at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. He was a 4x varsity member. He received his Bachelor Degree in Education and continued to wrestle at the senior level while teaching Elementary Physical Education. Ben is now a youth coach for the famous Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club.
After a stellar high school career, Ronnie Stafford continued his wrestling career and education at The University of Northern Colorado. Ronnie became at 2x All-American for the Bears by placing 3rd & 5th at the Division Two National Championships. Ronnie was named the Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year for the University of Northern Colorado for the 2000-2001 School Year. Ronnie continues to coach youth wrestling in Northern Colorado.
Frankie Saenz continued his wrestling career and education at Arizona State University, then transferred to the University of Northern Colorado to join his cousin and former Marcos de Niza star, Ronnie Stafford. Frankie is now a professional MMA Fighter who trains out of Fight Ready (formerly The Den) in Scottsdale, AZ. Frankie is one of the most beloved MMA fighters in Arizona and holds the WFF Belt. You can follow Frankie's MMA career by clicking on the link below.
Wes Pierce continued with his wrestling career at William Penn University and qualified for the NAIA National Championships in 2005. Wes had a 29W-13L record for the 2004-2005 season.
Joey continued his education and wrestling career at the prestigious Cornell University. He qualified two times for the NCAA Division One National Championships, a two time All-Ivy League 2nd Team member and Cornell Placed as high as 5th in the NCAA Championships. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2008 and earned his MBA in 2010. He is now an asset manager for Deutsche Bank.
Danny Martinez went on to wrestle for Pima Community College with (future) fellow MMA fighters Jamie Varner, Jesse Forbes, Efrain Escudero, and Drew Fickett. They were the ones who got him into the sport. Danny currently fights out of Alliance MMA in San Diego, California. To follow Danny "The Gremlin"'s MMA career, click on the link below.
Ricky Renzi went on to wrestle for Arizona State University after a successful high school career earning a state title and a state team title. He compiled a career record of 19W-28L as a Sun Devil, while earning his Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree. Ricky placed as high as 5th in the PAC-10 Championships.
After compiling the most successful high school career in Padre history, Alex Pavlendo continued on to wrestle for Arizona State University. Alex wrestled on the varsity Sun Devil squad for three years and compiled a record of 20W-43L. He received his Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies and is now the Head Coach for Tempe High School.
Alex Varela started his college wrestling career at Arizona State University as a Freshman, but took a few years off and is now competing in his second season at Menlow College in Silicon Valley, California. Alex compiled a 4W-11L record in his first year back on the mat and qualified for the 2012 NAIA National Championships.
Josiah Stotts went on to wrestle for Luther College in Iowa following his successful high school career at Marcos by winning 2 state titles. He wrestled on the varsity squad for the Norsemen in 2010 while studying Pharmacy.
Patrick Carey went on to follow former Marcos de Niza stars, Ronnie Stafford and Frankie Saenz at the University of Northern Colorado after earning a state title his senior year. Patrick posted a 32W-31L career record at 197lbs and finished third at the Western Division 1 Regional Championships. Carey then transferred to Division 2 Colorado State University-Pueblo for the 2009-2010 season. He notched an 18W-6L record while at CSU-Pueblo and qualified for the Division 2 National Championships. Carey was a 2x Junior Fila Creco Roman All-American and University Greco-Roman All-American during his college career.
2009-2010: Record 10-14, placed 6th at the NCAA D2 Super Regional Tournament, placed 4th at the UVA Open
2008-2009: Went 7-5 competing against non-varsity opponents, placed 2nd at the Embry Riddle Open
Richard was a two-time State Runner Up at Marcos de Niza and placed 4th at the USA Wrestling Regional Tournament.