The 2011 Mesa League dual championship is set: Thursday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. at Otay Ranch High School between the host Mustangs and the defending league champion Eastlake Titans.
Both teams enter the high impact encounter with undefeated records. Otay Ranch improved to 4-0 in league duals with a key 51-12 victory over visiting Hilltop on Thursday, Feb. 3, while Eastlake topped visiting Chula Vista, 59-18, earlier that same day.
For Otay Ranch coach Troy Vierra, it is a culmination of four years (three as head coach) of hard work and dedication in elevating the Mustang program to being a bonafide championship contender.
“This is where we wanted to be,” Vierra said. “We knew Eastlake would be the team to beat this year and we wanted to be undefeated when we matched up with them.”
The impending Feb. 10 prime time encounter should be a showcase for South County wrestling, with both teams having reaped success at last weekend’s Holtville Invitational. The Mustangs placed fifth with four medalists, including one finalist; the Titans finished eighth, also with four place-winners.
Otay Ranch carried that momentum into Thursday’s dual against Hilltop. “That was our best match we’ve ever wrestled,” Vierra said. “We were ready. The Chula Vista match (a 39-35 Mustang victory the prior week) helped us a lot. That was a scare. We came to wrestle (against Hilltop). The people who were expected to win by pin came through and the people we needed to stay off their backs did. We only gave up one pin.”
Otay Ranch racked up five wins by pins while adding three victories by major decision and three more wins by minor decision.
Of the 14 matches, the Mustangs won 11.
Hilltop recorded two minor decisions besides the one fall.
Otay Ranch grapplers winning by pin included Tommy Espinoza (105 pounds), Eddie Estevez (114), Kyle Petrin (142), Francisco Solis (162) and Jon Henkel (heavyweight).
Also for the Mustangs, Victor Garcia (132) won by a 13-0 major decision, Manuel Razo (137) won by a 12-3 major decision and Ricky Montes (217) won by an 18-10 major decision.
Recording minor decisions for the hosts were Anthony Ocampo (125), Rogelio Lopez (130) and Albert Lopez (145). Ocampo defeated Hilltop’s Wyatt Brenner, 6-4, while Rogelio Lopez recorded a 7-1 victory over Hector Garcia and Albert Lopez decisioned Albert Navarro 9-3.
Tyler Kekic recorded a pin for Hilltop at 173 pounds while Jason Jasmund edged Otay Ranch’s Cody Springsguth, 10-8, at 154 pounds and Carlos Garcia won by a 7-0 decision at 191 pounds.
Missing from the line-up for Hilltop was standout 162-pounder Roman Flores, who suffered a facial injury at the Holtville tournament.
Flores and Otay Ranch’s Estevez were among three Metro Conference finalists at the 48th Holtville Invitational, joining Mater Dei Catholic’s Efren Roman (runner-up at 173 pounds).
Flores lost by injury default to Gila Ridge’s Kevin Jumbeck while Estevez lost by a 16-1 technical fall to Central Union’s Micah Perez. Roman lost by a 55-second pin to Ramona’s Devin Rhodes.
The loss was the first of the season for Estevez, who improved to 20-1 after Thursday's dual against HIlltop.
Overall, 14 Metro mat men picked up medals at the duel in the desert.
Otay Ranch finished the tournament with four medalists. Espinoza placed third at 105 pounds while Albert Lopez placed third at 147 pounds and Springsguth placed third at 154 pounds.
Eastlake had four medalists. Abraham Sanchez was third at 132 pounds. Gabriel Casillas was third at heavyweight. Steve Cervantes was fourth at 162 pounds. Gabriel Nelson was fourth at 173 pounds.
Mar Vista, Hilltop and Mater Dei Catholic each had two medalists.
Besides Flores, Hilltop’s Jamie Cruz was sixth at 114 pounds.
Daniel Montes (fifth, 162 pounds) joined MDC teammate Roman on the awards stand.
Mar Vista’s two medalists included Max Uribe (sixth, 127 pounds) and Jon Nicoloff (fourth, 191 pounds).
Morse’s Joshua Jospeh (132) captured the outstanding lower weight award while Mira Mesa’s Gabi Musallam earned honors as the tournament’s outstanding heavyweight.
Other weight class champions included Brawley’s Vinny Elizalde (105), Rancho Bernardo’s Evan McKirdy (121), Imperial’s Tony Ramos (127), Ramona’s Connor Koch (137) and Spaso Illich (142), Rancho Bernardo’s Zach Merritt (147) and Ryan Milkovitz (154), Escondido’s Augie DeSantis (191) and Ramona’s Marshal Thrasher (217).
Ramona won the team title with 155 points, followed by runner-up Rancho Bernardo with 142.5 points. Central Union finished third with 118.5 points, followed by fourth place Granite Hills with 97 points.
Otay Ranch finished fifth with 91.5 points, followed by sixth place Morse with 90 points, seventh place Brawley (missing six starters) with 88 points and eighth place Eastlake with 83 points. Gila Ridge finished ninth with 74 points while Orange Glen rounded out the top 10 teams in 10th place with 73 points.
Granite Hills, which led the East County's contingent of teams at the Holtville tourney, had two wrestlers record runner-up finishes: Colton Kloack (191 pounds) and Conner Blackwell (217 pounds). Valhalla's Shawn Miller placed runner-up in his 105-pound weight class.
San Ysidro Invitational
San Ysidro, Castle Park and Sweetwater competed in the San Ysidro Invitational. San Ysidro’s Joey Alvarez (121) was the lone Metro grappler to win a weight class championship, though four other South County mat men captured runner-up finishes: San Ysidro’s Miguel Flores (105), Castle Park’s Robert Lopez (114), Sweetwater’s Adan Mendez (137) and Castle Park’s Daniel Hernandez (154).
San Ysidro finished the tournament with five place-winners (most among local teams). Besides Alvarez, also securing medals were Carlos Portillo (third, 114), Andres Escalante (third, 142), Memo Ramirez (third, 173) and Fernando Lopez (third, 191). Sweetwater’s Fernando Badilla was fourth at 217 pounds.
San Marcos led all teams with five weight class champions: Travis Ino (137), Abe Betancourt (142), Arman Baghaie (147), Drasko Bogdanovich (162) and Tom Abbott (173). Mission Hills had two champions: Jordan King (127) and Devin Coley (191). Other champions included Valley Center’s Juan Oros (105), El Camino’s Will Ruffner (114), Canyon Crest Academy’s Jeff Lorenzen (132), Torrey Pines’ Luke Maffett (154), Clairemont’s Zack Kibbie (217) and Steele Canyon’s Valin Katoula (287).
San Marcos totaled six finalists, with Gernard Labaco finishing second at 121 pounds. Other second-place finishers included Serra’s Allan Lim (127), Clairemont’s Stephen Adams (132), Mission Hills’ Keegan Smock (142), Santana’s Wesley Green (147), Valley Center’s Dylan Smith (162), Oceanside’s Marcus Cerda (172) and Connor Stotts (191), San Diego’s Jose Delgado (217) and El Camino’s Jared Villasista (287).
Olympian 45, San Ysidro 27
Jan. 27 at Olympian High School
103: (SY) Miguel Flores pinned (Olympian) Jake Schaeffer in 1:44
112: (SY) Carlos Portillo pinned (Olympian) Jerick Ello in 1:59
119: (Olympian) Jose Gonzalez tech fall 17-2 (SY) Antonio Silva
125: (Olympian) Arvin Lleva pinned (SY) Segio Rameriez in 1:39
130: (SY) Jose Alverez pinned (Olympian) Cezar Bautista in 3:59
135: (Olympian) MJ Limbo decisioned 8-4 (SY) Robert Palacios
140: (SY) Andres Esclante pinned (Olympian) Joey Schaeffer in 1:34
145: (Olympian) Imran Hoque decisioned 15-9 (SY) Missael Rodriguez
152: (Olympian) Billal Alemi pinned (SY) Jose Flores in 48 seconds
160: (Olympian) Tony Marable pinned (SY) Joseph Rodriguez in 5:16
171: (Olympian) Devon Flores pinned (SY) Louis Medina in 1:32
189: (SY)) Fernando Lopez decisioned 14-11 (Oly) Victor Huaracha
215: (Olympian) John Grylls pinned (SY) Oscar Quevedo in 3:49
285: (Olympian) Jessie Perez major decisioned 17-8 (SY) Johnathan Bastian
Note: Olympian defeated Montgomery, 72-6, on Feb. 3 to move within one victory of winning this year's South Bay League dual meet championship title. The Eagles meet Southwest in the teams' final regular season dual.