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Otay’s Farha, CP’s O’Connor are picks to win it all at Metro finals Phillip Brents | Fri, Feb 14 2014 03:27 PM

The Metro Conference wrestling championship tournament is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 15, at Sweetwater High School. Who will emerge as the best in their weight class this season?

It’s a good bet that Otay Ranch’s Rasheed Farha and Castle Park’s Carlos O’Connor will be among the parade of champions  after convincingly winning their weight divisions at last Saturday’s South Bay Invitational at Otay Ranch High School.

“Winning CIF, Masters and placing at state are my goals,” said Farha, who recorded three pins and a 19-2 technical fall to win his 223-pound weight class at last weekend’s tournament to up his record to 27-5 on the season. “Working harder in the (practice) room and not giving up in matches, that’s what I’ve done since the start of the season.”

Farha toppled opponents from all over San Diego and Imperial counties at this year’s SBI tournament. He pinned Poway’s Coleman Cowling in 3:31 in the championship round after pinning Southwest El Centro’s Drew Garcia in 2:32 in the semifinals. Farha out-pointed Hamed Samee in the quarterfinals after opening the tournament with a 38-second pin against Central Union’s Jared Medina.

Farha is the son of former Hoover 1994 Masters champion and state medalist Mohammed Farha. The younger Farha didn’t start wrestling until he was a freshman in high school because he could not find anyone in his weight class to wrestle at the junior kids level.

“I’ve learned a lot from my dad,” Rasheed explained. “His motto is: You put in hard work, you get results.”

Farha has also picked up a key thing or two from Otay Ranch coach Gabe Ruz, a two-time Olympic wrestler for Mexico in 1968 and 1972.

“Finally, he has matured in the wrestling sense,” Ruz said of the Mustangs’ prize stallion. “He has taken the sport very seriously and works hard on how to become a better wrestler. He definitely has a shot at going to state. He’s placed in all the major tournaments this season.”

Land of Troy
O’Connor raised his season record to 15-0 with 14 pins after crushing opponents in his 185-pound division with four consecutive pins. He recorded a 1:17 fall against Eastlake’s Ronald Sallee in the championship round to walk off the mat with the tournament’s outstanding upper weight award.

The Trojan top man also recorded pins against grapplers from all corners of the county. He pinned Poway’s Kyle Stout (4:40 in the first round), Rancho Bernardo’s Jeffrey Revette (1:54 in the quarterfinals) and Bonita Vista’s Adrian Tamayo (2:30 in the semifinals).

“He’s been working very hard in the practice room,” CPHS coach Robert Schertzer said of O’Connor, who missed the first part of the season due to eligibility issues. “He’s training hard; he’s starting to get rid of his little bad habits.”

Mat attack
Hilltop’s Xavier Plascencia (148) and Drake Madarang (155) both captured weight class titles at last weekend’s SBI event.

Plascencia bested Poway’s Austin Wonnell by a score of 8-5 in the finals to finish the tournament 5-0 with two pins and a 12-0 major decision.

Madarang topped Bonita Vista’s Andy Garcia by an 8-1 decision in the championship round to finish the day 4-0 with a pair of pins (including a 35-second fall in the second round).

Both Plascencia and Madarang also won weight class titles at the preceding weekend’s Highlander Invitational at Helix High School.

Otay Ranch led the seven Metro Conference teams at this year’s SBI with a third-place finish. The Mustangs, with eight medal-winners, finished just four points behind second place Rancho Bernardo.

“It’s coming together,” Ruz observed. “We’re starting to look like a team, and starting to work like a team. We seem to be peaking at the right time.”

Michael Orona finished second in his 109-pound weight class for Otay Ranch after being seeded seventh.
Jacob Schaeffer was also among the four Mustang semifinalists. He finished third at 123 pounds after finishing 4-1 on the day with one pin and three technical falls.

Other Otay Ranch medalists included Angel Tegardine (third, 288), Adrian Hernandez (fourth, 163), Christopher Villanueva (fifth, 116), Dylan Costello (fifth, 135) and Mustafa Farha (fifth, 198).

Hernandez also joined Farha, Orona and Schaeffer in the semifinals. After losing his first match, Tegardine responded with four consecutive pins in the wrestle-backs to place third.

Mustafa is Rasheed’s younger brother, a sophomore.

Hilltop finished fourth among teams. Other medalists for the Lancers included Joseph Torres (third, 109), Giany Barbosa (fourth, 116), Carlos Callejas (fifth, 123) and Isaak Whitehill (sixth, 288).

Whitehill advanced as far as the semifinals.

Eastlake finished ninth in the team standings. Joining Sallee on the awards stand were teammates Timothy Vallejo (fifth, 135), Danny Rubalcava (fourth, 141) and Mauricio Tovar (fifth, 288).

Rubalcava advanced as far as the semifinals.

Bonita Vista, buoyed by Garcia (second) and Tamayo (fifth), finished 12th, followed by Castle Park (14th), Mater Dei Catholic (21st) and Southwest (22nd).

Poway easily won the team title after claiming eight weight class titles and sending 14 grapplers to the finals. Individual champions included Jason Chua (109), Ray Cordova (116), Brandon Kier (123), Emanuel Lair (129), Garrhett Hurst (135), Sam Brown (141), Chris Jones (163) and Kam Moyatie (288).

Cordova received the outstanding light weight award with a 40-second pin and three technical falls (15-0, 21-5 and 15-0).

New kid in town
Mar Vista freshman Aaron Olmos continued his amazing debut season by winning the 147-pound weight class at last Saturday’s Robert Jenkins Memorial tournament at Mt. Miguel High School. Olmos defeated El Cajon Valley's Leon Shlemoon, 4-3, in the final seconds of their championship match. Shlemoon entered the tourney finals ranked third in the section while Olmos was ranked fourth.

San Ysidro’s Miguel Flores won the 134-pound title to help the Cougars to a fourth-place team finish.

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