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Warriors pin four varsity opponents to open wrestling season

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Four Fallbrook High School varsity wrestlers pinned their opponents when the Warriors opened their 2023-24 season Nov. 16 at Ramona High School.

In a girls match, sophomore Madelie Mendez pinned her Ramona opponent. The three Fallbrook boys who won by fall are sophomore Jaden Gomez, senior Devin Huntington, and sophomore Jordan Anicete.

Ramona had the superior team score for both the boys and girls, Nov. 16. The Bulldogs won by a 42-15 margin in the boys competition while the Ramona girls had a 21-6 team victory.

"They wrestled hard today," said Fallbrook head coach Tom Brockson. "I was pleasantly surprised. A lot of guys came out and performed really well."

The National Federation of State High School Associations altered wrestling weight classes for the 2023-24 season. The previous boys weight classes were 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, and 285 pounds with a two-pound increase as of Jan. 1 to account for student growth.

The NFHS has given state federations the option of having 12, 13, or 14 weight classes. The new weight limits for the 14 boys classes are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215, and 285 pounds plus an additional two pounds as of Jan. 1.

The girls weight classes had been 101, 106, 111, 116, 121, 126, 131, 137, 143, 150, 160, 170, 189, and 235 pounds and are now 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 155, 170, 190, and 235 pounds. (Girls are often more sensitive about their weight than boys, so some school administrators request that girls weight classes for specific matches not be published.)

Fallbrook High School has 14 boys and seven girls in the wrestling program this year. The girls total constitutes an all-time high for the Warriors. Four Fallbrook girls wrestled against Ramona in the season opener including sophomore Delaney Stroney, who competed in a junior varsity match and pinned her male opponent.

"I'm trying to grow the program," Brockson said.

Brockson and Ramona coach Tyler McKay gave some of the girls more than one match Nov. 16. "We're trying to get the girls ready for CIF," Brockson said.

Wrestling has both individual scores and team scores. In each match, a wrestler is given one point for an escape, two points for a takedown, a reversal, or a near fall lasting two to five seconds, and three points for a near fall of at least five seconds. Infractions may give an opponent one or two penalty points.

A win by decision provides three team points; a major decision which means a margin of at least eight points is worth four points; a 15-point margin triggers a technical fall which gives five points, and a pin or forfeit win (usually due to default because the other school doesn't field a grappler in that weight class rather than due to disqualification) adds six team points.

Both teams committed one-point penalties during the Nov. 16 matches. Brockson and McKay both note that those will provide learning lessons for the wrestlers.

The first girls match was between Ramona's Danielle Bergen and Fallbrook freshman Kayla Bano. Bergen had leads of 4-2 after the first two-minute period and 6-4 at the end of the second period. Bano tied the match and then took an 8-6 lead with a near fall.

With 21 seconds remaining in the third period, Bergen obtained a near fall to tie the score. If a match is tied after three periods the first wrestler to score during a one-minute overtime period is given the victory. With 12.6 seconds left in that overtime period, Bergen earned a 10-8 victory with a takedown.

"It was a tough match," Brockson said.

Mendez pinned her Ramona opponent 26 seconds into the match.

Fallbrook had 13 varsity boys Nov. 16. Neither team had a 106-pound wrestler, so a double forfeit occurred in that class. If a wrestler withdraws for medical reasons, it is normally a forfeit, but if that injury is due to an opponent's penalty, he or she wins by forfeit.

An illegal Fallbrook move in one of the boys matches gave six points to the Bulldogs. Ramona pinned six other Fallbrook opponents.

Gomez pinned his 140-pound Ramona counterpart. Huntington won by fall in the 150-pound class. Anicete won by pin in the 215-pound match.

The Warriors' four points from a major decision were from the 138-pound match; junior Dan Wilson leveraged a 7-2 lead after two periods into a 15-5 win. In the 144-pound contest, senior Fisher Phillips won a 10-6 decision for the other three Fallbrook points.

Although the Warriors lost as a team for both the boys and the girls, the match at Ramona provided the wrestlers with experience. "They all need it," Brockson said.


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