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Four Fallbrook wrestlers place at CIF division tournament

The CIF Division II wrestling tournament took place Feb. 10 at Orange Glen High School, and four Fallbrook High School wrestlers placed among the top eight in their weight class.

Nic Brockson reached the final of the 126-pound division before losing to an exchange student in the championship match and settling for second place. Devin Huntington took third among 150-pound grapplers. Ricky Lopez was the sixth-place matman in the 108-pound class. Cruz Arroyo placed eighth in the 190-pound bracket.

“I was really pumped up,” Fallbrook head coach Tom Brockson said of four of his wrestlers placing.

Fallbrook only brought seven wrestlers to the divisional tournament. The other 17 teams all brought more competitors. Fallbrook placed 13th as a team, and 11 of the 12 schools with more points than the Warriors had at least nine wrestlers.

“That’s not bad, actually,” Brockson said of 13th place.

Had Sardor Usmonov stayed in Uzbekistan, he would have been a member of the national wrestling team. He helped Mira Mesa High School win the Division II championship and was seeded first in the 126-pound bracket and Nic Brockson was seeded second.

Brockson followed a first-round bye with a 9‑0 major decision win against Micah Kollmeyer of Scripps Ranch. Brockson then won a 10-5 decision against Bonita Vista’s Ivan Hernandez.

“He won the matches he should have won,” Tom Brockson said.

The first takedown of the championship match between Nic Brockson and Usmonov didn’t occur until 45 seconds into the bout. “It was a really good first period,” Tom Brockson said.

Nic Brockson was pinned 1:27 into the third period. “He was trying to turn the kid and he ended up getting caught himself,” Tom Brockson said. “It was a good match.”

Nic Brockson is currently a junior. Last year, he placed third in the 115-pound bracket at the CIF Division II tournament. He was fourth among Division II 108-pound wrestlers in 2022.

Huntington, who was one of two Fallbrook seniors at this year’s Division II tournament, won one match and lost two in last year’s double-elimination tournament in the 140-pound bracket. This year, he won four 150-pound matches and also advanced with a first-round bye.

A wrestler can compete in the weight division immediately above what he or she scales but cannot wrestle in a class below his or her weight. Huntington could have wrestled at 144 pounds. “He felt more comfortable at ‘50,” Tom Brockson said. “It worked out for him.”

Huntington began competition against Conlon Merton of Bonita Vista. The match was tied at the end of regulation and at the end of the first sudden-death overtime period. A wrestler earns two points for a takedown and one point for an escape, and Merton chose to begin the second overtime period on the bottom. Huntington turned and pinned Merton. In the quarterfinals, Huntington pinned Grossmont’s Brian Stevens with 19 seconds left in the second period.

Westview’s Langdon Mullica took home the 150-pound championship and won a 4-1 decision over Huntington in their semifinal. Huntington began the consolation bracket in the semifinal and faced Merton. In the rematch, Huntington won a 3‑2 decision over Merton. “They had a long day together,” Brockson said of the two wrestlers who were on the mat for a total of 13 minutes and 39 seconds against each other.

Merton eventually placed fifth. The third-place match was between Huntington and Chula Vista’s Edgar Ramos. During part of the match, Huntington was behind on points. “He wrestled back,” Brockson said.

Huntington had an 8-5 lead when the third period ended. “He wrestled good all day,” Brockson said.

Lopez is a freshman. He pinned Josue Reyes of San Diego High School with 15 seconds remaining in the second period of their first-round bout. James Sanchez of Chula Vista High School eventually placed third and pinned Lopez 40 seconds into the second period of their quarterfinal.

Lopez’s first consolation match ended when he pinned San Ysidro’s Aidan Hernandez 27 seconds after the third period began. Lopez then pinned Maximus Yeps of Bonita Vista 48 seconds into the second period. In the consolation semifinal, Oceanside’s Jacob Tate pinned Lopez with two seconds left in the first period. Lopez and Reyes faced each other again in the fifth-place match and, in their second bout against each other, Reyes pinned Lopez with 1:38 elapsed.

“It’s a really positive placing,” Brockson said of Lopez taking sixth. “It’s really big for him.”

Arroyo is a junior who is in his first year of wrestling. His first CIF tournament match ended with a victory by pin 1:25 after he began wrestling Giacommo Libiran of San Ysidro. Grossmont’s Luke Freeman, who would take third place, pinned Arroyo 48 seconds into the second period of their quarterfinal bout. Arroyo’s first consolation match was a 7-0 decision victory against Mira Mesa’s Jorge Salcedo.

Russ Butler of Central Union (El Centro) advanced to the fifth-place match by pinning Arroyo 34 seconds into the second period. Arroyo faced Westview’s Dmitri Sidiropoulos in the seventh-place match Sidiropoulos won by pin with 55 seconds elapsed in the third period.

“That’s the best wrestling he’s done all season. He’s really been refining his skills,” Brockson said of Arroyo.

Although only the top six wrestlers in each weight class were given medals, the top eight were recognized on the podium, so Arroyo received that honor. “He really came around the end of the year,” Brockson said.

Current junior Daniel Wilson placed seventh in the 134-pound division at last year’s tournament (the weight classes were changed for 2023-24). This year, he won one 138-pound match and lost two. Wilson began the 2024 CIF tournament by pinning Joseph Lor Garcia of San Ysidro with 10 seconds remaining in the second period.

Ricarte No Guro of Mira Mesa, who would end the tournament as the weight class runner-up, pinned Wilson with 12 seconds left in the second period of the quarterfinal. Wilson was eliminated with a 13-4 major decision loss to Grossmont’s Alex Resico who took fifth place.

“He wrestled hard,” Brockson said of Wilson.

Jacob Sorden is a junior who has been with the Fallbrook wrestling program since his freshman year but had wrestled mostly at the junior varsity level prior to this season. He was in the 120-pound bracket for his first CIF tournament and won one match before losing two. Sorden pinned San Diego’s Dmitry Brooke 1:30 into their first-round match. Weight class champion Josue Garcia of Bonita Vista won a 12-2 major decision in his bout with Sorden.

“He wrestled a really tough match against that kid,” Brockson said of Sorden.

Sorden’s only consolation match was against Jaehee Kim of Mount Carmel, who pinned Sorden with five seconds left in the first period.

Cameron Cruz, who was Fallbrook’s other senior at the CIF divisional tournament, is a transfer from Murrieta Valley High School. Cruz lost both of his 132-pound matches. He was pinned by Valhalla’s Ivan Rivers with 17 seconds left in the first period and pinned by San Ysidro’s Elysian Bellaire with 40 seconds remaining in the third period.

Although the Warriors lost all five Valley League dual meets, the team won two of three pre-league meets to finish the 2023-24 season with a 2-6 overall record.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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