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Fallbrook Wrestling Club hosts youth tournament

Flahive, Johnson, Wilson win divisions

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The Fallbrook Wrestling Club hosted a San Diego-Imperial Kids Wrestling Association tournament Jan. 29, and three of the Fallbrook wrestlers won their divisions.

“Definitely went well,” said tournament organizer Cristian Vera.

Part of Vera’s satisfaction was the performance of the 22 Fallbrook Wrestling Club members who participated on the mat. “They did really well,” he said. “We had a handful of kids medal.”

The fact that the Fallbrook Wrestling Club had 22 participants was also pleasing to Vera. “It was really cool to see,” he said. “I’m really enthusiastic about the kids we have in this program.”

The tournament had 18 teams. “It was a fundraising effort for our team, not only for our club team but also a fundraiser for our high school team,” Vera said.

Vera had been the Fallbrook High School head wrestling coach before a reorganization allowed Vera to focus on the youth program which will provide the high school with more experienced wrestlers once the youth grapplers reach ninth grade. Tom Brockson is the current high school head coach while Vera is now an assistant coach for the high school team.

“This is the way to build a program,” Vera said. “Ultimately this is where you’re going to get the bigger results.”

The high school wrestlers ran the scoring tables and set up and took down the mats. The tournament used both Fallbrook High School gyms; four mats in the new gym and two mats in the old gym allowed for six matches at a time.

Fallbrook had not previously hosted a SDIKWA tournament. “It was kind of special to have another first,” Vera said.

The volunteers for the Fallbrook tournament also included wrestling alumni who refereed matches. Traci Wilson, who has two children in the high school program and two in the Fallbrook Wrestling Club, donated tournament T-shirts which were sold at the concession stand along with food and beverages. Parents of the wrestlers staffed the concession stand.

“I couldn’t be happier with the effort put forth,” Vera said. “It was an all hands on deck type of event.”

The tasks also included keeping parents in line when they desired to be with their children on the mat. “We did a pretty good job of policing it,” Vera said.

Vera began his affiliation with Fallbrook wrestling as a Fallbrook High School freshman in 2007. “Since then I’ve never had so many compliments for a tournament,” he said.

Those compliments about the Jan. 29 tournament were from those involved with other teams. “They really enjoyed the way we ran the event,” Vera said.

The 12-and-under and 14-and-under matches utilized 90-second periods with three regulation periods in the absence of a pin or a technical fall. The 10-and-under, 8-and-under, and 6-and-under wrestlers had 60-second periods. There was no limit on how many matches an individual could wrestle in the single-day tournament.

Three Fallbrook grapplers won their age and weight classes. Mattis Wilson took first in the 6-and-under 50-pound division; Tucker Johnson won the 10-and-under 49-pound division, and Dexter Flahive was the 10-and-under 71-pound division champion.

Most of the classes utilized round-robin competition rather than brackets. Wilson had five matches and won all five: a 10-9 decision over Maverick Mann of Team Temecula/Pin Club, a 19-1 technical fall against Walter Krug of Poway Wrestling, a 15-0 technical fall against Mia Marcotte of SoCal Grappling Wrestling, a 9-2 decision against Abijah Barajas of Junior Panther Wrestling, and a pin of Zyler Ortega of Team Temecula/Pin Club 49 seconds into that match.

The 10-and-under 49-pound class had five wrestlers, so Johnson wrestled and won four matches. He pinned Jaxon Dean of Team Temecula/Pin Club 49 seconds into the second period, pinned Uriah Ledesma of SoCal Grappling Wrestling 56 seconds into that match, pinned Jaren Mann of Rancho Bernardo Wrestling Club 27 seconds after that bout began, and pinned Joseph Hernandez of Junior Panther Wrestling 50 seconds after the start of the match.

The 10-and-under 71-pound division had three entries. Flahive won a 4-1 decision over Traton Nelms and pinned Natalie Keay of Ramona Dawg Pound Wrestling Club 27 seconds into their match.

The 8-and-under 49-pound bracket had eight wrestlers, so a bracket competition was utilized. Fallbrook Wrestling Club grappler Tobias Ruvalcaba took second in that division. Ruvalcaba won a 7-2 decision over Carter Lo of Rancho Bernardo Wrestling Club and an 8-6 decision over Zachariah Naylor of Imperial Valley Panthers to reach the final against Noah Choi of Rancho Bernardo Wrestling Club. Choi won the championship by pinning Ruvalcaba with 16 seconds remaining in the third period.

The 12-and-under competition included both boys brackets and girls brackets at the higher weight classes. The 108-pound boys included Colton Haughey, and the Fallbrook Wrestling Club member placed second in the round-robin competition.

Haughey pinned Liam Flores of Wine Country Wrestling Academy 36 seconds into that match, was pinned by division winner Zachary Zentner of Team Temecula/Pin Club with 16 seconds remaining in the first period, pinned Cole Lewis of Rancho Bernardo Wrestling Club 15 seconds after the match began, pinned Ryker Jocson of Rancho Bernardo Wrestling Club 20 seconds after the start of competition, and won by forfeit when Samuel Navarro of Junior Panther Wrestling was unable to participate in the final match.

Vera noted that because the Fallbrook Wrestling Club is new, all of the SDIKWA tournament participants are first-year wrestlers. “For now I couldn’t be happier with where they’re at,” Vera said.

“The wins and losses really don’t matter right now. It’s about development,” Vera said. “The goal is to keep doing stuff like this.”


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