East County mat champions leave ECI tournament field in a funk

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Colin Forman makes no apologies for his somewhat unorthodox, somewhat sloppy style on the wrestling mat but it’s clearly working for the Steele Canyon High School junior. 

He aptly demonstrated that by winning the 182-pound weight class title at last weekend’s 43rd El Cajon Invitational at Christian High School.

Colin Forman makes no apologies for his somewhat unorthodox, somewhat sloppy style on the wrestling mat but it’s clearly working for the Steele Canyon High School junior. 

He aptly demonstrated that by winning the 182-pound weight class title at last weekend’s 43rd El Cajon Invitational at Christian High School.

Forman finished the two-day tournament that concluded Saturday, Dec. 21, with a 5-0 record that included four pins (two in the first period and one totaling just 28 seconds). 

He recorded an 8-3 victory against Temescal Canyon’s Ricky Bonilla in the championship final that was streamed live on OrangeNationTV.com.

“I call that type of wrestling funk-style,” explained Forman, who extended his season record to 17-5. “It works for me. It’s helped me in the past and I’m sticking with it.”

Forman, who finished fourth at last season’s San Diego Section Division II championship tournament and sixth at the San Diego Masters state qualifying tournament, was one of four East County wrestlers to advance to the finals of this year’s ECI tournament and one of two champions.

El Cajon Valley senior Leon Shlemoon capped the 37-team event by winning the 152-pound title with a 9-1 major decision against Northview junior Roger Arce.

Grossmont senior Sebastian Chan finished second in his 106-pound weight class while ECV senior Jake Alcaraz recorded a runner-up finish at 120 pounds.

Shlemoon finished 5-0 with three pins and two major decisions to improve to 16-1 on the season. He previously won his weight class at the Carlsbad Invitational on Dec. 7 and finished third at the 45-team La Costa Canyon Jimmy Hamada Classic Dec. 13-14.

The Braves grappler handed his ECI championship round opponent his first loss of the season.

“Top five at state,” Shlemoon noted of the goal he set for himself this season after placing second at last season’s section Division II championship and fifth at the section Masters state qualifying tournament. “This shows I can do better and go to the next level. It’s all about toughness out there, giving 110 percent.”

Chan finished 3-1 at this year’s ECI following an 8-2 finals loss to Rancho Buena Vista’s Marco Ramirez-Lazlos. The Foothiller wrestler’s three wins included two pins and a 9-0 major decision in the semifinals.

Alcaraz, seeded third in his weight class, upset second-seeded Vincert Parra of Northview by a 3-2 decision in the semifinals before dropping a hotly contested 2-0 championship round match to top-seeded Dustin Miller of Escondido. 

Alcaraz finished 4-1 in the tournament with two pins and an 18-3 victory by technical fall.

Steele Canyon led all East County teams in attendance with a sixth-place team finish. The Cougars walked off the mat with five medalists. 

Place-finishers also included Kelvin Schneeman (third, 152), Ryan Maynard (fourth, 132), Brett Maynard (sixth, 126) and Jesse Paraiso (seventh, 126).

El Cajon Valley, braced by four medalists, finished seventh in the team standings. Joining the Braves’ two finalists, Gabriel Urreola finished fifth at 145 pounds while Mike Watson placed seventh at 126 pounds.

“We have experienced wrestlers at a lot of spots – we’re coming together step-by-step,” ECV coach Jim Castle said. “We have a senior-loaded team, we just need to keep wrestling. We have a lot of work to do but everything is coming together.”

Grossmont, guided by three place-winners, finished 13th among teams, while Granite Hills (also with three medalists) placed 14th overall.

Also bracing the Foothillers, Bryce Harmon finished fourth at 170 pounds while Cristian Mora finished fifth at 145 pounds.

“We brought seven guys and three placed,” Grossmont coach Todd Bell said. “We finished pretty good considering that.”

Granite Hills’ medal-winners included Francisco Saavedra (fourth, 285), Richard Gomero (fifth, 182) and Chase Shirley (eighth, 170).

Helix, which finished 22nd in the team standings, had four place-finishers. They included Trenle Gillem (third, 126), Walter Todd (seventh, 17), Miles Baack (eighth, 120) and Greg Landeros (eighth, 145). 

Monte Vista, which finished 23rd in the team standings, had three medalists: Giovanni Pagan (sixth, 106), Alex Garcia (eighth, 132) and Brandon Rosete (eighth, 285).

Tourney-host Valhalla (tied for 24th) had one medal-winner: Trevor Burningham (third, 160).

West Hills (30th place) had two medal-winners: Mavrick Mooneyham (fourth, 113) and Eric Campbell (eighth, 182).

This year’s tournament marked the first time in more than a decade that the ECI tournament was actually held in East County. 

“I like it,” Grossmont’s Bell said. “I’m glad to see most of the Grossmont Conference schools here. It’s great thing to see the tournament getting back to what it was (in the past).”

Northview – laden with 12 medalists, eight finalists and six weight class champions – captured the team title with 276.5 points while Temescal Canyon, also from the Southern Section, finished second with 195 points. 

The runner-up Titans finished the major regional mat event with eight medalists, including three finalists.

RBV finished as the top San Diego Section team with 154 points in third place. The Longhorns had eight medalists and two champions.

San Ysidro (fourth place, five medalists) and Chula Vista (fifth place, seven medalists) both led a strong showing by South County teams in finishing ahead of Steele Canyon.

Out of state teams included San Luis and North Canyon, both from Arizona.

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