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Estevez's vision quest includes CIF mat title Phillip Brents | Tue, Mar 08 2011 02:03 PM

Otay Ranch senior Eddie Estevez has seen California high school wrestling’s “big show” and wants to return there — that being, of course, the state championship tournament.

Estevez qualified for the elite tournament his sophomore year and, after a year since recovering from an injury sustained in last year’s San Diego Masters championships, appears ready to challenge for a return trip. The first step along that path takes place this Saturday at the San Diego Section Division I championship meet at Eastlake High School.

Both the Division I and Division IV (Olympian High School) tournaments are being held in the South Bay this season. The 2011 Masters tournament is slated the last weekend in February at Canyon Crest Academy.

“I really didn’t know how big it was until I got there,” said Estevez, a three-time Metro Conference champion who owns a 24-2 overall record this season. “I saw the whole atmosphere and the level of wrestling — every match was a great match because the best of the best were there. It was really special and I wanted to come back.”

Estevez appeared on course to do just that last year after placing runner-up in the 114-pound weight class at the Division I finals (to Poway’s Josh Miranda). However, he received only the No. 9 seed at the ensuing Masters tournament even though he had already beaten the second-seeded wrestler in the semifinals at the Division I finals (Rancho Bernardo’s Evan McKirdy).

Despite suffering an injury in his first match at the 2010 Masters, Estevez wrestled on, advancing to the consolation semifinals. Only the top three place-finishers advanced to the state meet.

“I lost the match to get to third,” he said.

His goals this season are to win his 114-pound weight class at this weekend’s Division I finals and also contend for the individual Masters title.

He has done much toward reaching that goal this season after capturing his weight division at the prestigious El Cajon Invitational and Rim of the World tournament at Lake Arrowhead, placing second at the Holtville Invitational and topping off the regular season with a first-place showing at the second annual South Bay Invitational.

He won his first 19 matches this season. One loss came while competing up two weight classes.

“It’s going to be exciting,” the Otay Ranch wrestler said of his CIF title quest. “It feels great to win a tournament. I think I’m just starting to peak.”

The Division II tournament will take place at Scripps Ranch High School while the Division III tournament will take place at Ramona High School. Start time is 9 a.m., with finals scheduled for 5 p.m. at each of the four tournaments.

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