Four Fallbrook High School wrestlers won their weight brackets at tournaments during Martin Luther King holiday weekend.
The Rancho Bernardo 10-Way Dual tournament Jan. 16 saw Hector Diaz, Jonathan Juarez, and Trevor LeBanz win their weight classes while Dee Hernandez won her division in the El Camino Girls Invitational held Jan. 18.
Fallbrook finished third among the ten teams in the Rancho Bernardo 10-Way Dual despite only taking ten wrestlers to the tournament. Six of those wrestlers placed in the top three of their weight class. “I was pretty happy with the performances,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman. “They weren’t all true varsity guys, so I was really happy with the way they rebounded.”
The tournament followed a 39-36 dual meet loss Jan. 14 at San Pasqual. Two of those San Pasqual wins were by forfeit and gave the Golden Eagles six points apiece because Fallbrook did not have any wrestler in that weight class. San Pasqual received another six points when neck problems forced 215-pound Kyle Mericle, of Fallbrook, to withdraw in the second period of his match; Mericle had been winning 10-1 before being pulled out. “They battled pretty hard, but we were up against a lot,” Wagaman said of his wrestlers.
The Rancho Bernardo 10-Way Dual consisted of round-robin matches rather than a double-elimination bracket format. LeBanz won the 171-pound division, Diaz was the 119-pound champion, and in his first meet since moving down from the 135-pound class Juarez won the 130-pound championship.
Marco Salazar wrestled his first matches since receiving CIF clearance and finished second in the 160-pound division to Army-Navy wrestler Daniel Craven based on tie breaking criteria. Salazar and Craven were both 4-1 and both had three pins, so the next tiebreaker was the fastest pin. Craven’s fastest pin took him 46 seconds while Salazar pinned one of his opponents in 48 seconds.
Freshman Andrew Navarro took third in the 103-pound class and sophomore Blake Williams was third in the 135-pound division.
“I thought that was a good effort,” Wagaman said.
The Rancho Bernardo 10-Way Dual divided the ten schools into two pools of five teams apiece. The format consisted of four pool matches and a cross-bracket match between wrestlers from teams with identical pool standing finishes. Fallbrook placed second in its pool and then defeated Lincoln in the set of matches for third place.
“They stay in there. They come back and they go to work,” Wagaman said of his wrestlers.
Wagaman noted that filling only ten of the 14 weight divisions cost the Warriors 24 points of forfeits against each team. “That’s a lot to overcome,” he said.
Hernandez is the only girl on the Fallbrook team. “We’re just trying to get her as much competition as we can,” Wagaman said.
In dual meets girls often compete against boys, and Hernandez is Fallbrook’s junior varsity 160-pound wrestler. The weight classes for girls tournaments differ from the boys’ weight divisions, and Hernandez won the 158-pound class at the El Camino tournament. She had two matches and pinned both opponents in less than a minute. “She’s very aggressive,” Wagaman said.
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