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Three tournaments keep Warrior wrestlers busy

Fallbrook High School’s wrestling team hosted a January 15 dual meet with Escondido High School before splitting up for three different tournaments.

Nine Warriors competed in the Five Counties Tournament, which took place January 16-17 in Fountain Valley, Fallbrook’s “B” varsity took sixth place in the Rancho Bernardo Ten-Way Dual tournament January 17, and Patti Diaz spent January 16 and January 17 taking fourth place at the Southern Regional Girls Tournament in Oxnard.

“It’s all about building a program, not just getting a couple of guys doing well,” Fallbrook head coach Greg Wagaman said of splitting his team.

The 38-25 victory over Escondido gave the Warriors a 2-0 record in league dual meets and a 3-0 overall mark in dual meets.

The starting weight class is determined by draw, and the Warriors and Cougars began with the 145-pound division.

Escondido had a 19-15 lead after the heavyweight match, but the Warriors won five of the final seven contests.

The Five Counties Tournament didn’t produce any medals for Fallbrook, but it provided the team’s top prospects for the state meet with high-level competition.

“They don’t have to win matches to learn valuable lessons,” Wagaman said. “I know what we picked up there, and I feel good about it.”

Jacob Albritton won his first two matches in the 140-pound division before losing to the defending state champion. David Lopez won his first 125-pound match.

“We won some really tough matches,” Wagaman said.

Brett Jones was unseeded in the 119-pound division despite championships in two of his earlier three tournaments this season. He faced a seeded wrestler in the first round and was defeated.

“He learned some things from that,” Wagaman said of Jones. “He wrestled a really, really strong match against this guy.”

Diaz wrestled in the 126-pound class and won five of her seven matches. “She did really well,” Wagaman said.

The tournament medal was the first for Diaz, who is a senior, in her high school wrestling career. “She really deserved that,” Wagaman said. “She’s a real hard worker, just a great kid.”

In February Diaz will compete at the girls state tournament in Hanford. “I feel confident she can place at the state tournament,” Wagaman said.

The Rancho Bernardo Ten-Way Dual saw four Fallbrook grapplers earn medals, including Marco Salazar taking the 160-pound championship. “They did really well,” Wagaman said.

Brandon Smith placed second in the 145-pound division, Hector Diaz was third in the 119-pound class, and Michael Johnson took third in the 171-pound division.

Wagaman understands that his goal of building a program is a gradual process. “It’s going to take us a while, but I’m fine with that,” he said.

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