Scott and Jonas Ullsperger are sharing something unique, and it’s only something a father and son can relate to.
Scott is the head wrestling coach at Mater Dei Catholic High School; Jonas is the team’s up-and-coming freshman wrestler.
For father and son, it’s been both an inspiring start to the 2013-14 season as well as an invaluable learning experience.
“Jonas has enjoyed the opportunities to wrestle at the varsity level,” Scott Ullsperger explained. “One of the benefits to being part of a small program is the early availability to do so. I have seen him grow in his desire to improve. His self-awareness of the situations in which decision-making is the difference between victory and defeat seems to be on the rise.”
Jonas is following in his father’s footsteps. Scott wrestled at Monte Vista High School for legendary Monarch coach Bill Clauder, graduating from the Spring Valley school in 1987.
However, it was nearly 20 years before the elder Ullsperger would reconnect with the sport. That finally occurred when he was hired to coach the wrestling team at MDCHS.
The Crusaders took the mat for the 2007-08 winter sports season.
Tagging along with his father at that time was Jonas, who began wrestling in the fifth grade in youth programs.
Jonas didn’t enter high school without experience. He won his 108/118-pound Schoolboy Division at last summer’s California State Games. It was a special moment between father and son.
Jonas won all three of his matches in a bracket of six middle school wrestlers. He pinned his first opponent from Oceanside and clinched the gold medal by out-pointing a wrestler from Poway in the finals.
Jonas also competed at the California USA Wrestling Middle School state championships to further his experience going into his first high school season.
“I love the sport and will usually stick around and watch the finals of any tournament I’m attending,” Scott said.
Now, he’s watching his own son compete.
The elder Ullsperger said opportunities to wrestle with the team’s star grapplers — Sean O’Rourke and Ryan Garcia — seem to be making a difference in the practice room for Jonas. Assistant coaches John Sardella and Brett Sanchez, a two-time state medalist at Clovis High School in the Central Valley, are also present in the wrestling room to help provide the freshman mat man with tactical advice in “making little changes that help him get there,” according to Scott.
“Jonas realizes that next year he’s going to be one of the strong wrestlers in the practice room and now is the time to learn from the individuals who are there,” the MDCHS head coach said.
Scott said it is difficult for him to be both father and coach, so the elder Ullsperger relies on Sardella and Sanchez to help out with the coaching aspect.
“Quite honestly, I feel a great sense of pride in what Jonas has accomplished so far in his freshman year,” said Scott, speaking from both a coach’s and father’s standpoint.
Jonas earned a third-place medal in his 120-pound weight class at the season opening Battle by the Beach tournament at Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach. In fact, the younger Ullsperger won his first-ever high school match by a 9-6 decision over Chula Vista’s Tyler Cisneros.
Jonas went on to finish 2-1 at the MVHS tournament, picking up his second win by a 7-0 shutout decision in the consolation wrestle-backs. He won the consolation bracket at this next tournament the following week at Mira Mesa High School with a 3-1 record.
Heading into the holiday break, the younger Ullsperger was undefeated in four dual meet appearances. Following a bout with illness, he returned to go 1-1 in varsity duals while earning a third-place finish at the San Ysidro junior varsity tournament and the championship title at the Monte Vista JV tournament to hike his first-year record to 15-8.
He pinned his opponent, junior Josh Lawson of Cibola High School, in the finals of the Monte Vista JV tourney.
The Metro Conference wrestling championship tournament is scheduled Feb. 15 at Sweetwater High School, with participants earning medals in both varsity and junior varsity divisions.
Jonas expects to be there, hopefully earning something shiny to hang in his trophy case.
“I am enjoying my high school season very much,” Jonas explained. “It was very exciting wrestling my first official high school match at the Battle by the Beach. He was a strong junior from Chula Vista. I ended up winning after being behind in the third period. It was an amazing feeling to win that match.
“I am motivated by beating guys that used to beat me. I want to keep getting better. Seeing Sean do so well gives me the feeling that if I work hard, I can do well also. I really like having my hand raised and I like standing on the medals stand. I think of my Dad as coach once I put my shoes on. He has always been a coach at the tournaments.”
MVHS freshman wrestler Olmos wins Holtville tournament title, chasing destiny
Four-time league champions are rare and four-time CIF and Masters champions are even rarer. But Mar Vista freshman Aaron (Mateo) Olmos could be in the running for any of the above.
Olmos improved his season record to 24-2 after winning his 147-pound weight class at last weekend’s 51st annual Holtville Invitational. He was the only freshman champion among the 14 weight class champions and the first Mar Vista wrestler to win a title at the desert tourney in 19 years.
He did it by upsetting Rancho Bernardo’s David Harscheid, the No. 1 seed, in the finals with a stunning takedown in the final 17 seconds. For his performance the MVHS grappler was awarded the Benjie Rivas trophy for best takedown of the tournament.
Olmos is currently ranked No. 4 among section wrestlers, trailing Poway’s Ralphy Tovar, La Costa Canyon’s Alex McIntyre and El Cajon Valley’s Leon Shlemoon.
Mar Vista will compete in the Division III finals at Olympian High School on Feb. 22 where he might meet ECV’s Shlemoon. Another possible head-to-head meeting place is Saturday’s regular season tournament at Mt. Miguel High School.
“We’ll have to see if he can wrestle El Cajon Valley’s Shlemoon or McIntyre from LCC,” MVHS coach Mario Olmos said. “They might be at the Mt. Miguel tournament this weekend and we’ll see if we meet either of those two guys. If that happens, it should be a great match-up.”
South County wrestlers medal at Holtville Invitational
The high school wrestling season is entering the final third of the season, and perhaps its most important part as teams prepare to sew up league championships and wrestlers focus on qualifying for the upcoming state finals.
South County mat men took one more step in that direction after competing in last weekend’s 51st Holtville Invitational. Eastlake, Mar Vista, Mater Dei Catholic and Bonita Vista all earned valuable prestige points.
The Titans recorded a solid seventh-place finish in the 29-team tourney while the Mariners finished 12th, the Crusaders finished 22nd and the Barons finished 25th.
Mater Dei Catholic’s Sean O’Rourke (140), Mar Vista’s Aaron Olmos (147) and Eastlake’s Jamar Adams (222) led the way by winning individual weight class titles.
Other medalists for Eastlake included Erich Loechner (third, 162), Yoab Garcia (fourth, 147) and Ronald Sallee (sixth, 184).
Also medalling for Mar Vista were Raymond Medrano (fourth, 162) and Christian Winnie (sixth, 108). Andy Garcia (fourth, 154) medalled for Bonita Vista.
Rancho Bernardo won the team title at the two-day tournament that wrapped up Feb. 1. Brawley finished second, followed by Escondido (third), Steele Canyon (fourth), Holtville (fifth) and Mira Mesa (sixth).
San Ysidro’s Miguel Flores is ranked at the top of the 134-pound weight class in the San Diego Section while MDC’s O’Rourke is ranked second at 134 pounds, Otay Ranch’s Jacob Schaeffer is ranked third at 122 pounds and Mar Vista’s Olmos (147) and Otay Ranch’s Rasheed Farha (222) are ranked fourth in their weights.
Sites for this year’s divisional championships, scheduled Feb. 22, have been announced: Division I (Escondido), Division II (Westview), Division III (Olympian) and Division IV (Mt. Miguel). Start time is 9 a.m., with finals scheduled to start at approximately 5 p.m.
The San Diego Masters state qualifying tournament is scheduled Feb. 28 to March 1 at Mission Hills High School. Start time is 10 a.m. on Feb. 28. Finals are scheduled to start at approximately 5 p.m. on March 1.
The top seven-place finishers in both the Division I and Division II tournaments advance to the San Diego Masters tournament while the top six place-finishers in the Division III tournament and top four place-finishers in the Division IV tournament also advance.
The top three place-finishers at the Masters meet advance to compete at the state championship meet March 7-8 in Bakersfield. The top six place-finishers at Masters will receive medals.