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Jones qualifies for state tournament, loses Masters in fourth OT

Fallbrook High School senior Brett Jones qualified for the state wrestling tournament by finishing second in the 119-pound weight class at the CIF San Diego Section Masters tournament February 27-28 at Olympian High School.

The top three finishers in each weight class in the San Diego Section Masters tournament qualified for the state tournament. Poway’s Jesse Taylor, Jones, and Imperial High School’s Tony Ramos will represent the San Diego Section in the 119-pound division.

Taylor and Jones faced each other in the finals of both the CIF Division I tournament February 21 at Poway High School and in the Masters tournament. Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman brought eight wrestlers to the Division I tournament, only two of whom had competed in a previous CIF division tournament. Four of those Warrior wrestlers finished among the top eight to qualify for the Masters tournament the following week while two other Fallbrook grapplers earned ninth place and alternate status for the Masters.

Jones was undefeated in the Division I tournament and took a 5-2 decision over Taylor to win the 119-pound finals. Jacob Albritton finished fourth in the 135-pound division, Sean Foley placed seventh in the 152-pound class, and Marco Salazar took eighth in the 160-pound bracket.

One alternate in each weight class travels to the Masters tournament and competes if one of the qualifiers is unable to wrestle. Jonathon Juarez was the 125-pound alternate and Nick Worthing earned the alternate berth for the 215-pound division, although neither competed in the Masters.

Ironically, neither Juarez or Worthing began the season as the Warriors’ primary wrestler in his weight class; Juarez took over as Fallbrook’s 125-pound wrestler after David Lopez was injured in the Canyon Springs tournament January 31 while Worthing transferred from Maine and wasn’t cleared by the CIF to compete until January 16.

Foley and Salazar both pinned their first-round opponent during the double-elimination Masters before each lost his next two matches. Albritton won his first three matches at the Masters, and while he didn’t finish in the top four he placed in the top eight. “I think he finished up really strong,” Wagaman said of Albritton.

Jones was undefeated in his February 27 matches, earning him a berth in the semifinals against Ramos. Jones won an 8-4 decision over Ramos reach the finals while Ramos won his ensuing matches to take third place and the final qualifying spot in the state tournament.

Jones and Taylor were tied at two points apiece after the regulation three periods. “It was a hotly contested match,” Wagaman said.

The finalists went to the first overtime, in which both wrestlers start in a neutral position. The one-minute sudden-death overtime ends if either wrestler scores a point, but the overtime period was scoreless. The grapplers then went to two mandatory 30-second overtimes, which also ended without any scoring.

The fourth overtime is known as the “ultimate tiebreaker.” Fallbrook won the disc toss and Jones chose the down position. He rose to his feet after about 20 seconds, but Taylor grabbed his leg. Jones was unsuccessful in getting out of Taylor’s grasp, and the referee awarded Taylor a point and Taylor won the Masters championship on a 3-2 decision.

“He wrestled a really, really good match, but the bottom line is you can’t leave that stuff to other people,” Wagaman said of Jones.

The state tournament will take place March 6-7 at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena. The top eight wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the national tournament. “We are very confident that he’ll go farther than some people are thinking,” Wagaman said of Jones.

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