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Two Warrior grapplers reach masters - Navarro third at CIF freshman tournament

Although Fallbrook High School’s wrestling team struggled to field a full squad throughout the 2009-10 season, three Fallbrook wrestlers stood out during the post-season.

Marco Salazar and Christian Vera fared well enough during the CIF Division I tournament February 20 to reach the all-division Masters, while Andrew Navarro competed at the freshman county championships and finished third in the 103-pound class.

Salazar wrestled in the 160-pound class at the CIF and Masters tournaments while Vera was in the 215-pound division. “They both did really well,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman. “Those two guys have done a really good job this season.”

Team scores in a tournament total the results of each of the 14 weight classes - if a school has wrestlers in all 14 divisions. Dual meet scores also total each weight class result, although if a team does not have a wrestler in a specific division the other team receives six points for a forfeit.

“This has been the craziest season I have ever had,” Wagaman said. “We have struggled from the beginning to put our full varsity team out.”

A league win at Mission Hills February 11 closed out Fallbrook’s dual meet season. The Warriors tied for fourth in the Avocado League standings with a 1-4 record in league meets.

The Warriors had one less wrestler at the Division I meet since Fallbrook didn’t have a 103-pound representative after Wagaman chose to enter Navarro in the freshman county championships instead of the CIF tournament. Navarro’s third-place showing February 13 at Mount Carmel High School would prove to be the Warriors’ highest post-season showing.

The top eight Division I finishers in each class qualified for the Masters February 26-27 at Southwest High School in El Centro. Although Jonathan Juarez did not qualify for the Masters in the 130-pound class, he won three matches during the divisionals at San Pasqual High School.

Salazar won four of six matches in the Masters, reaching the second day of the tournament. “He did a really good job,” Wagaman said. “He peaked at the perfect time.”

Salazar’s second loss in the dual-elimination tournament was by a 12-6 decision. Salazar twice had his opponent on his back but could not secure the pin.

Vera lost both of his matches in the Masters, including a first-round 8-7 loss in which he led by one point until losing a takedown in the final seconds. “That was a real tough one,” Wagaman said.

Vera is a junior. Salazar was one of five seniors on the team.

“It was the culmination of a pretty frustrating season,” Wagaman said of the eliminations in the Masters. “It’s just been a really weird year.”

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