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Metro mat squads gearing up for league dual meet competition Phillip Brents | Mon, Jan 20 2014 05:37 PM

High school wrestling exhibited its “dual” nature last weekend as 10 teams competed in the fourth annual Lancer varsity dual team tournament at Hilltop High School.

Wrestling is known both as an individual and team sport. Its individual nature is highlighted at the end of the season by league, division and section tournaments that award medals to individual place-winners, with the opportunity to qualify for the state championship meet.

Wrestling’s dual nature is highlighted by team versus team competition during the regular season where wrestlers in each weight class pair off against their respective opponent in a one-on-one battle, usually under the spotlight in gyms jammed with roaring fans.

Among Metro Conference mat squads, both Hilltop and Chula Vista competed in last weekend’s tournament. The tourney-host Lancers defeated Mt. Carmel, 39-33, in the championship round to cap an undefeated 4-0 showing while Chula Vista finished eighth following a loss to St. Augustine in the medal rounds.

Grossmont defeated Patrick Henry, 38-36, to capture third place while Mira Mesa topped Granite Hills to finish fifth and Torrey Pines bested Army-Navy Academy to finish ninth.

Hilltop head coach Thomas Juarez said dual meet tournaments offer teams the opportunity to gain experience in the dual meet concept as well the opportunity to gain wrestling experience for younger team members.

“This tournament is designed to allow teams to wrestle in a dual meet format,” said Juarez, a two-time divisional and two-time San Diego Masters champion while competing at Montgomery High School. “The dual meet season is coming up for league.”
Besides the dual nature of last Saturday’s tournament, individual medals also were handed out to the top three wrestlers in each weight class based on win-loss records during the tournament.

For Hilltop, Carlos Callejas (115), Alberto Garcia (126), Xavier Plascencia (154), Drake Madarang (160) and David Velazquez (197) each received first-place medals while Joseph Torres (108) and Giany Barbosa (115) received second-place medals and Nate Lara (108) and Jake Alvarado (140) both received third-place medals.

Juarez said his team is in a rebuilding mode this season after winning last year’s Mesa League dual meet championship title. He calls the chase for this year’s league banner “wide open for everyone.”

“Every school has a chance to make a run for the banner,” Juarez said. “We hope to challenge teams by the end of the season.”
Juarez admitted the win over Mt. Carmel, long regarded as a measuring stick among San Diego Section mat programs, was a confidence-booster for his squad.

“It’s still early in the year but it was a good showing for us,” the HHS coach said. “For our boys to wrestle at a high level against a North County team was fun to watch and gives us some encouragement for the rest of the year.”

Mat attack
Tourney-host San Ysidro finished third behind Poway (first) and Rancho Buena Vista (second) in last Saturday’s 26-team invitational at SYHS. Among Metro squads, Bonita Vista placed 10th while Montgomery was 14th, Mar Vista was 15th, Otay Ranch was 16th, Eastlake was 17th, Castle Park was 18th, Sweetwater was 21st, Mater Dei Catholic was 22nd and Southwest was 24th.

San Yisdro’s Miguel Flores earned the light weight MVP award with four pins and one technical fall while Castle Park’s Carlos O’Connor earned the upper weight MVP award with four pins to highlight individual performances by South County wrestlers.

The tourney-host Cougars had three weight class champions. Besides Flores (132), also capturing first-place awards were teammates Roberto A La Torre (145) and Alejandro Cazares (195).

San Ysidro’s other place-winners included Esteban Espinoza (third, 182), Jose Reyes (fourth, 126), Alan Garcia (fifth, 152), Jorbel Alvarez (sixth, 113) and Miguel Villa (sixth, 120).

Bonita Vista had three place-winners: Matt Ayala (fourth, 138), Andy Garcia (fourth, 152) and Anthony Diez (fourth, 170).

Otay Ranch, Mar Vista and Montgomery each had two mat men earn awards.

Medalists for Otay Ranch included Adrian Hernandez (second, 160) and Michael Orona (third, 120).

Mar Vista’s medalists included Aaron Olmos (second, 145) and Raymond Medrano (fifth, 170).
Montgomery’s placers included Andrew Jaffee (third, 160) and Miguel Ballesteros (second, 220).

Eastlake had one medalist: Yoab Garcia (third, 152).

San Ysidro’s Flores pinned Poway sophomore Gerrhett Hurst in 1:53 to cap an undefeated tourney showing while A La Torre pinned Mar Vista’s Olmos in 3:49 in the championship round to finish 4-0 on the day and Cazares pinned El Cajon Valley’s Hussein Hussein in 4:48 to also finish 4-0 in the tournament.

CP’s O’Connor pinned Southwest El Centro’s Steven Villanueva in 37 seconds to win his weight class.

Otay’s Hernandez lost by fall to Poway senior Chris Jones, the tourney’s middle weight MVP, in the championship round while Montgomery’s Ballesteros dropped a 14-8 decision to San Luis’ Oliver Navarro in his final.

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