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Metro mat men star at Monte Vista tourney Phillip Brents | Thu, Jan 13 2011 10:19 PM

The Olympian Eagles continue to soar during the 2010-11 high school wrestling season.

First, the Eagles upended defending South Bay League champion Mar Vista, 48-21, in a dual meet on Jan. 6. Second, Olympian advanced two wrestlers to the championship round of last Saturday’s 23-team Monte Vista Invitational, with senior heavyweight Jessie Perez pinning his opponent from Poway to win the weight class title.

Yes, that’s right. Perennial state power Poway.

“It feels great,” said Perez, who improved to 21-2 on the season with his 1:13 fall against Poway junior Kelly Simmons in the final. “I practice hard and have great coaches.”

The rest has obviously taken care of itself.

Perez took Simmons to the mat in just 15 seconds. The Poway grappler remained squirming on his back until Perez tightened his hold and the referee finally signalled the fall.

Perez finished the tournament with three pins in as many matches to emerge with the outstanding heavyweight award.  The Eagle mat man pinned Santana’s Jason Patterson in 2:16 in the quarterfinals and Granite Hills’ Jesse Sheard in 3:02 in the semifinals.

It was the second MVP award this season for Perez, who also won his weight class at the season opening Mar Vista Battle by the Beach tournament with four pins.

Junior Jose Gonzalez joined teammate Perez in the finals, placing second to Poway sophomore Gabe Faller by a 2:51 fall. Gonzalez advanced to the championship round with pins of 1:34 and 2:20 and a 9-2 win in the semifinals.

The two Olympian wrestlers were among an impressive list of six Metro Conference finalists. Hilltop sophomore Jordan Griffin defeated Chula Vista senior Johnny Hewuse by a 10-5 decision to capture the 103-pound title while Eastlake senior Abraham Sanchez (130) and Hilltop’s Roman Flores (160) each took runner-up finishes.

Griffin (11-3) advanced to the championship round with a 36-second pin in the quarterfinals and a 13-5 major decision in the semifinals. Hewuse(11-3) navigated his way to the finals on the strength of two pins: 25 seconds in the quarterfinals and 6:07 in overtime in the semifinals.

Griffin, last year’s junior varsity county champion, improved his career record to 43-5.

Sanchez , seeded sixth, defeated third-seeded Raul White of Monte Vista and second-seeded Leo Mendez of Temecula Valley to reach the finals before dropping an 8-2 decision to Poway senior Chad Gregory (8-1). Sanchez extended his season record to 10-6 with a 3-1 tourney showing.

Flores advanced to the championship round via a 2:37 fall in the first round, a 15-6 major decision in the quarterfinals and an 11-5 decision (over Eastlake’s Steban Cervantes) in the semifinals. Flores met Poway senior Henry Donahue (20-3) in the finals, losing a tight 12-7 match-up.

Mat attack
The Eagles finished eighth overall in the team standings — once again leading the Metro’s complement of four South Bay League teams present. Olympian finished third among the seven conference teams, trailing sixth place Hilltop by just 4.5 points and seventh place Chula Vista by just one-half point.

The Eagles, drum roll, finished 12.5 points ahead of defending Mesa League champion Eastlake. 

“We have a lot of team camaraderie this season — there is a good team bond,” Olympian head coach Aramis Vera said. “Everybody is supportive of each other. Everyone is on the same page.”

The Eagles host San Ysidro Jan. 20 in a key South Bay League dual meet. It could decide the league championship.

“They wrestle Mar Vista the week before they wrestle us, so there could be as many as three teams in the race for the league championship,” Vera said. “We just want to keep improving.”

Olympian finished the Monte Vista tournament with six medalists. Joining Gonzalez and Perez on the awards stand were Jerick Ello (fifth, 112), Devon Flores (fifth, 171), Victor Huaracha (fifth, 189) and John Gryllis (fifth, 215).

Besides Griffin and Flores, Hilltop’s five medalists also included Wyatt Brenner (fifth, 125), Jason Jasmund (fifth, 145) and Carlos Garcia (third, 189).

Lancer coach Thomas Juarez said his team is still getting into its post-season mentality.

“We’re still learning how to win and get confidence,” said Juarez, whose team includes just four seniors in the 14 weight classes. “We have to learn how to win the close matches where the opponent might just be a little better. I’m pleased. We’re only going to progress. It’s all about how you finish. We want to peak at the end of the year.”

Besides Hewuse, Chula Vista’s five medalists also included Junior Torres (third, 119), Matthew Salinas (third, 125), Damian Alcala (fifth, 112) and Da’marea Mayo (fourth, 215)

Besides Sanchez, Eastlake’s four medalists also included Mathias Mendillo (fifth, 135), Cervantes (third, 160) and Gabriel Casillas (third, 285).

Mar Vista finished 14th in the team standings, followed by Sweetwater in 20th place and Castle Park in 22nd place.

Mar Vista’s two medalists included Josh Walters (fifth, 103) and Jesse Terminel (fifth, 119) while Sweetwater’s  Adan Mendez finished third at 135 pounds.

Poway captured the team title once again in runaway fashion with 306 points while Gilbert was second with 176 points. Granite Hills led the procession for the remainder of the field with 129.5 team points, followed by host Monte Vista (115 points) and Valhalla (110 points).

Poway had nine finalists, seven weight class champions, and 13 medalists. Gilbert had four finalists, three champions and eight medalists. Granite Hills had three finalists and six medal-winners overall.

Poway senior 125-pounder Justin Chua (18-5) captured the MVP lower weight award with three pins and a 12-7 win in the finals against Morse senior Travys Carus (20-4).

Rim of the World
Otay Ranch finished seventh at last Saturday’s Rim of the World tournament in Lake Arrowhead. Eddie Estevez (112) and Jonathan Henkel (heavyweight) finished first in their weight classes while Alfredo Epinosa (103) and Albert Lopez (152) both finished second.

Estevez improved to 13-0 this season. Henkel finished with three pins in the tournament.

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