The Eastlake High School wrestling team left little doubt as to the identity of the top team in the Metro Conference this season by roaring to the team title at last Saturday’s conference championship tournament at Mater Dei Catholic High School. The Titans, braced by 10 finalists, racked up a tournament-best 224.5 points to easily out-distance runner-up Otay Ranch with 149 points.
“I thought we wrestled really tough,” EHS head coach Troy Vierra explained. “Our kids were wrestling, for the most part, six minutes. I thought our kids wrestled really tough.”
The Titans, who defeated Mater Dei Catholic 66-9 on Feb. 4 to wrap up this year’s Mesa League dual meet championship, advanced 10 of their 14 wrestlers to the championship round in a show of force.
Five EHS mat men emerged with individual conference championships: Ben Martinez (115 pounds), Kevin Moyna (134 pounds), Carlos Vazquez (172 pounds), Tanner Waller (184 pounds) and Joshua Pultorak (197 pounds).
Five Titans secured runner-up place-finishes: Antonio Collazo (108 pounds), Michael Johnson (147 pounds), Armando Castro (154 pounds), Ricky Renteria (222 pounds) and Jake Suggett (287 pounds).
Martinez, who finished second at 108 pounds at last year’s tournament, scored two pins in as many matches to win this year’s 115 title. He pinned San Ysidro’s Juan Castro in 5:05 in the championship round to improve to 25-5 on the season.
Moyna (18-11) emerged as a first-time varsity conference champion by recording a 7-6 decision over Bonita Vista’s Ryan Calumpit (5-8).
Vazquez (24-11) recorded a 9-7 overtime decision over Hilltop’s Elvis Coronado to win his weight class. Vazquez advanced to the final with pins of 3:51 (quarterfinals) and 53 seconds (semifinals).
Waller (14-10) outlasted Sweetwater’s Aaron Porras by a 10-4 decision to also emerge as a first-time Metro varsity champion. Waller, a junior varsity champion last year at the same weight class, finished 2-0 on the day by adding a 40-second pin in the semifinals.
He lists resiliency and patience as his strong points.
“I feel more accomplished than I have all year,” Waller said after winning the varsity title. “It’s a small step to CIF, Masters and state — I’ll just take it as it goes.”
Pultorak (19-9) captured a tight 7-4 decision over Montgomery’s Chase Riegg to crown himself as a conference champion.
Eastlake will compete in Saturday’s San Diego Section Division I dual meet championship tournament at Mira Mesa High School. The Titans are seeded fourth in the eight-team field.
Following that, Eastlake will compete in the individual CIF championship tournament Feb. 20 at Otay Ranch High School. Vierra is optimistic about further success.
“I think we’re wrestling aggressively,” he said in regard to the upcoming divisional championship events. “Our guys are taking the match to the other person. We’re getting a lot of pins. The kids are watching each other and coaching each other. They’re doing all the things we’re preaching in practice.”
Parade of champions
Castle Park senior Dante Preciado became a three-time conference champion when he defeated Eastlake’s Johnson by a 12-1 major decision to capture the 147-pound championship. Preciado (24-5) previously won weight class titles at 128 and 134 pounds while competing at Olympian.
He said the move to Castle Park has been agreeable this season. “It’s going well, I’m looking forward to CIF,” he said.
Repeat varsity champions included Otay Ranch’s Brandon McCurdy (31-6) and Mustafa Farha (21-5).
McCurdy, who won last year’s 115-pound title, moved up a weight this year to claim the 122-pound championship by scoring a 12-4 major decision over Olympian’s Ethan Ramos.
McCurdy finished this year’s tournament with a pair of major decisions.
Farha was involved in last Saturday’s marquee match when he felled Eastlake’s Renteria in the final seconds of their light heavyweight match. The pair had exchanged points throughout the high profile contest, with the score tied 4-4 heading into the final nine seconds.
Both mat men started in the neutral position, with Farha going for a surprise double-leg takedown to put Renteria (21-5) on his back for additional near-fall points and the victory.
“On the restart, I shot and placed my hands on the back of his knees and drove him to the mat,” Farha explained. “I stuck the half in and got some back points. My philosophy is to never give up, wrestle like it’s 0-0.”
Three wrestlers who finished runner-up at last year’s Metro finals won weight class championships this year: Eastlake’s Martinez, Mar Vista’s Christian Winnie (108 pounds) and Hilltop’s Alberto Garcia (128 pounds).
Winnie, who placed runner-up at 115 pounds at last year’s tournament, recorded a 14-4 major decision over Eastlake’s Collazo in this year’s final. Winnie added a 2:58 fall in the semifinals to his win total.
The Mar Vista grappler was named the tournament’s outstanding light weight wrestler.
“It feels pretty good to be recognized as the best in the lower weight classes,” said Winnie, a four-time regular season tournament finalist and two-time regular season tournament champion.
Garcia, a varsity finalist last year at 134 pounds, tacked on three more wins to improve his season record to 31-3. He topped Mater Dei Catholic freshman Christian Paquian-Macias by a 15-3 major decision in the championship match. Garcia advanced to the final with consecutive pins in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Otay Ranch finished the 13-team tournament with four finalists and three individual weight class champions. Besides McCurdy and Farha, Sithara Diunugala (154 pounds) also won a weight class title while Axell Perez (140 pounds) placed second.
Diunugala pinned Eastlake’s Castro in 2:10 in the finals.
Hilltop, which finished sixth in the team standings, had three finalists and two weight class champions. Adrian Avina joined Garcia atop the awards stand by capturing a 9-6 decision over Otay Ranch’s Perez.
San Ysidro’s Pablo Perez earned recognition as the tournament’s outstanding upper weight wrestler after winning his 162-pound division with four pins in as many matches. Perez pinned Olympian’s Abraham Perez in 3:44 in the championship round after previously securing pins in 12 seconds (first round), 50 seconds (quarterfinals) and 54 seconds (semifinals).
“I put a lot of hard work into the offseason — morning practices, a lot of effort,” said Perez, one of two Cougar mat finalists. “I’m not stopping here.”
METRO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TOURNAMENT
Feb. 6 at Mater Dei Catholic High School
Championship: Christian Winnie (Mar Vista) defeated Antonio Collazo (Eastlake) by 14-4 major decision. Records: Collazo 7-6
Third place: Christopher Jennen (Otay Ranch) defeated Jordan Bendorf (Bonita Vista) by 11-5 decision
Championship: Ben Martinez (Eastlake) defeated Juan Castro (San Ysidro) by 5:05 fall. Records: Martinez 25-5, Castro 13-7
Third place: Mateo Kachi (Montgomery) defeated Cruz Alarcon (Olympian) by 2:41 fall
Championship: Brandon McCurdy (Otay Ranch) defeated Ethan Ramos (Olympian) by 12-4 major decision. Records: McCurdy 31-6, Ramos 19-12
Third place: Jesus Gavaldon (Eastlake) defeated Francisco Montes (Southwest) by 4-1 decision
Championship: Alberto Garcia (Hilltop) defeated Christian Paquian-Macias (Mater Dei Catholic) by 13-3 major decision. Records: Garcia 31-3, Paquian-Macias 24-10
Third place: Ethan Deguzman (Olympian) defeated Paul Crampton (Eastlake) 4-3
Championship: Kevin Moyna (Eastlake) defeated Ryan Calumpit (Bonita Vista) 7-6. Records: Moyna 18-11, Calumpit 5-8
Third place: Andres Espinoza (Olympian) defeated Brian Rodriguez (Montgomery) 9-3
Championship: Adrian Avina (Hilltop) defeated Axell Perez (Otay Ranch) 9-6. Records: Perez 19-8
Third place: Adrian Lopez (Montgomery) defeated Luciano Parra (Olympian) 9-4
Championship: Dante Preciado (Castle Park) defeated Michael Johnson (Eastlake) by 12-1 major decision. Records: Preciado 24-5, Johnson 19-13
Third place: Giany Barbosa (Hilltop) defeated Marcelo Avila (Otay Ranch) by 18-7 major decision
Championship: Sithara Diunugala (Otay Ranch) defeated Armando Castro (Eastlake) by 2:10 fall. Records: Diunugala 29-5, Castro 16-7
Third place: Cade Congden (Mater Dei Catholic) defeated Joshua Eikamp (San Ysidro) 4-0
Championship: Pablo Perez (San Ysidro) defeated Abraham Peña (Olympian) by 3:44 fall. Records: Perez 24-1, Peña 13-7
Third place: Sean Jones (Mar Vista) defeated Samuel Muxlow (Bonita Vista) by 5:51 fall
Championship: Carlos Vazquez (Eastlake) defeated Elvis Coronado (Hilltop) by 9-7 decision. Records: Vazquez 24-10, Coronado 16-9
Third place: Jonathan Wu (Otay Ranch) defeated Joshua Charles (Olympian) by 2:27 fall
Championship: Tanner Waller (Eastlake) defeated Aaron Porras (Sweetwater) by 10-4 decision. Records: Waller 14-10, Porras 12-4
Third place: Jacob Mendez (Otay Ranch) defeated Oscar Luna (Southwest) by 2:53 fall.
Championship: Joshua Pultorak (Eastlake) defeated Chase Riegg (Montgomery) by 7-4 decision. Records: Pultorak 19-9, Riegg 20-8
Third place: Hassan Montiel (Castle Park) defeated Eduardo Santiago (San Ysidro) by 9-8 decision in overtime
Championship: Mustafa Farha (Otay Ranch) defeated Ricky Renteria (Eastlake) by 6:00 fall. Records: Farha 21-5, Renteria 21-5
Third place: Arath Rodriguez (San Ysidro) defeated Andrew Villagomez (Montgomery) by injury 5:00
Championship: George Harlan (Bonita Vista) defeated Jake Suggett (Eastlake) by medical forfeit. Records: Harlan 21-6, Suggett 18-4
Third place: Jose Elizalde (San Ysidro) defeated Manuel Salazar (Montgomery) by 5:36 fall
Points: 1. Eastlake 224.5, 2. Otay Ranch 149, 3. San Ysidro 110, 4. Olympian 98, 5. Montgomery 89.5, 6. Hilltop 78, 7. Bonita Vista 72, 8. Castle Park 41.5, 9. (tie) Mar Vista, Mater Dei Catholic 41, 11. Southwest 28, 12. Sweetwater 20, 13. Chula Vista 13
Junior Varsity Championships
Championship: Julian Winnie (Mar Vista) defeated Gavin Bartow (Eastlake) by 3:00 fall
Third place: Christopher Ornelas (Olympian) defeated Joseph Lopez (San Ysidro) by 4-1 decision
Championship: Nikko Elane (Eastlake) defeated Jaydin Caoile (Olympian) by 15-3 major decision
Third place: Bryan Alamilla (Southwest) defeated Alexander Redmond (Eastlake) by 7-3 decision
Championship: Raphael Sanvictores (Olympian) defeated Romar Bell (Sweetwater) by 3-1 decision
Third place: Diego Hook (Eastlake) defeated Pablo Hernandez (Mater Dei Catholic) by 1:23 fall
Championship: Mark Montano (Olympian) defeated Kyle Jensen (Otay Ranch) by 1:27 fall
Third place: Joseluis Jaquez (San Ysidro) defeated Luca Addario (Olympian) by 12-1 major decision
Championship: Joseph Fonseca (Sweetwater) defeated Abraham Parish (Olympian) 7-2
Third place: Margarito Lopez (San Ysidro) defeated Edward Giron (Eastlake) by 3-0 decision
Championship: Rylan Gregorio (Olympian) defeated Jakob Balderas (San Ysidro) by 6-1 decision
Third place: Emmanuel Santos (Eastlake) defeated Christopher Gonzalez (Southwest) by 0:23 fall
Championship: John Burre Rodriguez (Olympian) defeated Roberto Porras (Sweetwater) by 4-2 decision (overtime)
Third place: Christian Silva (Mater Dei Catholic) defeated Dustin Enciso (Eastlake) by 1:16 fall
Round-robin: 1. Nathan Bingham (Mar Vista), 2. Marc Espinoza (Eastlake), 3. Andres Boquiren (Olympian).
Results: Espinoza defeated Boquiren by 1:42 fall; Bingham defeated Espinoza by 1:33 fall; Bingham defeated Boquiren by 12-3 major decision
Championship: Brandon Salazar (San Ysidro) defeated George Swarez-Solis (Olympian) by 1:39 fall
Third place: Jonathan Smith (Eastlake) defeated Jarren Fabunan (Montgomery) by 5-3 decision
Championship: Ryan Wolley-Herrera (Olympian) defeated Michael Morgan (Eastlake) by 10-8 decision (overtime)
Third place: Richard Castillo (Southwest) defeated Anthony St. John (Eastlake) by 6-3 decision
Round-robin: 1. Richard Corpus (Eastlake), 2. Michael Covarrubias (Olympian).
Results: Corpus defeated Covarrubias by 8-2 decision; Corpus defeated Covarrubias by 1:45 fall
Round-robin: 1. David Monjaraz (Mater Dei Catholic), 2. Payton Schmid (Eastlake), 3. Bryan Hayes (Southwest), 4. Jesus Leon (Olympian)
Results: Monjaraz defeated Leon by 1:32 fall; Schmid defeated Leon by 0:42 fall; Hayes defeated Leon by 4:16 fall; Schmid defeated Hayes by 7-4 decision; Monjaraz defeated Hayes by 1:120 fall; Monjaraz defeated Schmid by 1:26 fall
Round-robin: 1. Anthony Smith (Otay Ranch), 2. Luis Castro (Olympian), 3. JuanCarlos Monge Torres (Southwest), 4. Albert Washington (Eastlake)
Results: Castro defeated Monge Torres by 2:26 fall; Smith defeated Castro by 5-1 decision; Castro defeated Washington by 1:52 fall; Smith defeated Washington by 0:37 fall; Monge Torres defeated Washington by 1:18 fall; Smith defeated Monge Torres by 0:40 fall
Round-robin: Sergio Carzoli (Eastlake), 2. Aaron Lopez (Southwest), 3. Hamza Benchekroun (Bonita Vista), 4. Alexis Hernandez (Olympian)
Results: Carzoli defeated Lopez by 1:32 fall; Lopez defeated Hernandez by 2:10 fall; Lopez defeated Benchekroun by 3:08 fall; Benchekroun defeated Hernandez by 3:49 fall; Carzoli defeated Benchekroun (Bonita Vista) by 3:20 fall; Carzoli defeated Hernandez by 0:43 fall
Points: 1. Olympian 185; 2. Eastlake 149; 3. San Ysidro 79.5; 4. Sweetwater 58; 5. Southwest 53; 6. Otay Ranch 42; 7. Mater Dei Catholic 40.5; 8. Mar Vista 32; 9. Montgomery 13; 10. (tie) Bonita Vista, Castle Park 12; 12. (tie) Chula Vista, Hilltop 0