Fallbrook High School senior Brett Jones missed qualifying for the high school wrestling national tournament by one match.
Jones won three matches and lost two at the state tournament March 6-7 in Bakersfield.
Although only the top eight places are designated, reaching the fifth round in the double-elimination tournament meant that Jones was one of the top 12 from among the 40 wrestlers in the 119-pound weight class.
“He had a really good tournament,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman.
Jones qualified for the state 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.
He began the state tournament with an 11-3 victory over Joey Pacific of Oak Ridge High School, who finished sixth in the San Joaquin section.
Jones’ win over Pacific included three takedowns. “He beat him up pretty good,” Wagaman said.
Jones was rewarded for his victory with a second-round match against David Klingsheim of Liberty High School, who was not only the North Coast Section champion but also the 2008 state champion in the 112-pound division.
Klingsheim relegated Jones to the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament with a 10-3 victory.
“It was a really, really tough match,” Wagaman said. “It may very well have been Klingsheim’s toughest match.”
Klingsheim eventually won the state title, and in the finals he defeated Steven Salinas of Northview High School by an 11-2 score.
“That was a big boost for him when he knew he could go in there and stand toe-to-toe with David Klingsheim,” Wagaman said of Jones. “Everybody was pretty impressed with that match.”
Jones started his consolation bracket matches against Matt Fregoso of Rosemead High School and eliminated Fregoso with a 7-5 victory.
“It really wasn’t that close,” Wagaman said. “Brett let him get a takedown in the third period.”
Jones’ final March 6 match was against Zach Waldren of Granada High School, who placed fourth in the North Coast Section. Jones earned a 3-0 victory over Waldren.
“That was a much closer match,” Wagaman said. “Brett had to fight for everything.”
All three of the match’s points were scored in the second period, in which Jones chose the down position and escaped from Waldren’s hold before gaining two more points on a takedown.
“He was really tough on his feet,” Wagaman said of Waldren.
The win over Waldren also made Jones the only San Diego Section competitor in the 119-pound class to reach the second day of the state tournament.
Poway High School’s Jesse Taylor and Imperial High School’s Tony Ramos faced off in the third consolation round with Taylor taking a 12-3 victory, but Central Section champion Chris Martinez of Clovis West High School then took a 4-3 victory over Taylor.
Taylor and Jones had faced each other in the finals of both the CIF San Diego Section Division I tournament and in the San Diego Section all-division Masters tournament.
Jones took a 5-2 decision over Taylor in the Division I tournament to win the 119-pound finals, while Taylor won a 3-2 decision in four overtimes to take the Masters championship.
The fifth consolation round saw four matches in which the winner earned one of the top eight positions and a berth in the national tournament.
Jones faced Peter Gonzalez of East Bakersfield High School, but Gonzalez earned all four of his points in the first 30 seconds and hung on for a 4-0 victory.
Gonzalez earned his first two points with a takedown and then put Jones on his back, although Jones was able to escape the pin.
“Brett recovered quickly and he definitely fought harder,” Wagaman said. “This guy [Gonzalez] just hung on.”
Wagaman noted that the 119-pound class was one of the toughest at the state tournament.
“He went into the tournament with a great deal of confidence and he was tough on his feet,” Wagaman said of Jones. “It really was fun to watch him succeed the way he did at that tournament.”
To comment on this story online, visit http://www.thevillagenews.com.