East County mat men excel at Monte Vista wrestling tournament

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Neither Monte Vista High School’s Richard San Nicolas Jr. nor West Hills High School’s Nicholas Rivinius had ever captured an individual varsity weight class championship, yet alone earn an outstanding wrestler award, prior to last Saturday’s Monte Vista Invitational. 

But both wrestlers are now sporting smiles – and some gleaming hardware – after recording their first varsity tournament victories.

Neither Monte Vista High School’s Richard San Nicolas Jr. nor West Hills High School’s Nicholas Rivinius had ever captured an individual varsity weight class championship, yet alone earn an outstanding wrestler award, prior to last Saturday’s Monte Vista Invitational. 

But both wrestlers are now sporting smiles – and some gleaming hardware – after recording their first varsity tournament victories.

Rivinius, a junior, finished with three pins in his 160-pound weight class to capture the tournament’s outstanding middleweight award.

San Nicolas, a junior, also recorded three falls to win his 182-pound weight class and, in the process, earned accolades as the tournament’s outstanding heavy weight wrestler.

“It feels outstanding – it’s my first varsity championship,” explained Rivinius, one of three tourney finalists for the third-place Wolf Pack. “I’ve never been recognized before. This validates all the hard work I’ve put in.”

San Nicolas echoed those sentiments.

“I’m very honored to receive the award, it’s outstanding,” the Monarch grappler said. “My philosophy on the mat is to never give up. I’m always watching for my opponent to make a mistake.”

Both Rivinius (12-6) and San Nicolas (14-5) were seeded second in their weight classes but pinned top-seeded wrestlers to win their divisions. 

Overall, last Saturday’s 22-team tournament was a showcase for East County mat teams. 

Helix, braced by 10 wrestlers who placed fifth or higher in their respective weight classes, led the eight participating Grossmont Conference teams with a second place finish. The Scotties, who scored 193 points, had two individual finalists: Sal Carrillo (138 pounds) and Greg Landeros (145 pounds).

Third place West Hills (185 points) also had eight wrestlers place fifth or higher in their weight divisions. Kevin Ah Key joined Rivinius on the championship awards stand after winning his 220-pound weight class with three pins while Austin Dill (126 pounds) placed runner-up in his weight class with two pins.

Mt. Miguel placed fourth in the team standings with 157 points. The Matadors had four finalists and eight wrestlers who placed fifth or higher in their respective weight classes. Champions included Manuel Cano (120 pounds) and Juan Ruiz (152 pounds) while Jourie Bazile (160 pounds) and Jerusalem Tausaga (285 pounds) both finished second.

Tournament host Monte Vista finished fifth in the team standings with 143.5 points. The Monarchs finished with two individual weight class champions among eight place-finishers (fifth or higher). Heavyweight Alan Elia joined San Nicolas at the top of the award stand after winning his 285-pound division.

Steele Canyon placed fifth with 133 points. The Cougars had five mat men place fifth or higher and left the gym with two weight class champions: David Lipscomb (145 pounds) and Geraldo Jaime (195 pounds).

Grossmont finished 11th in the team standings with 63 points. The Foothillers recorded two individual second-place finishers: Gilbert Dominguez (113 pounds) and Nick Gosgn (182 pounds).

El Cajon Valley (15th place with 52 points) had one wrestler finish second in his weight class — Nicholas Poliza at 132 pounds — while Santana (20th place with 21 points) finished with one medalist.

Mira Mesa won the tournament team title with 220 points. The Marauders stacked the award stand with 11 medalists, including four finalists and three weight class champions.  

Mira Mesa 113-pounder Brandon Resgaitis was named the tournament’s outstanding lower weight wrestler after recording three pins and a major decision.

Seven East County wrestlers battled back through the consolation rounds to earn third-place medals: Helix’s Spencer Pham (113 pounds), Monte Vista’s Andres Lopez (120 pounds), Helix’s Oscar Sanchez (126 pounds), Monte Vista’s Ivan Tirado (138 pounds), West Hills’ Diego Sanchez (182 pounds), Monte Vista’s Jose Gonzalez (195 pounds) and West Hills’ Zach Weaver (285 pounds).

Seven other Grossmont Conference grapplers finished fourth: Steele Canyon’s Anthony Lopez (106 pounds) and Darian Murphy (113 pounds), Helix’s Jonathan Honda (120 pounds), Mt. Miguel’s Dejon Huff (132 pounds), Helix’s Manuel Matarino (138 pounds) and Damian Rodriguez (160 pounds) and Monte Vista’s Blake Schmidt (220 pounds).

Mat attack

Monte Vista recorded a runner-up finish at the preceding week’s San Ysidro varsity tournament. The Monarchs had four grapplers reach the finals. Elia won his heavyweight division while Lopez, Tirado and San Nicolas each finished second in their weights.

El Camino won the team title by 13.5 points.

“We’re maturing into a tournament team but we’re a better dual meet team than a tournament team at this point of the season,” Monte Vista coach Mat Simone explained.  

The Monarchs are 4-1 in dual meet competition to start the 2015-16 season, including 2-0 in league following wins over Granite Hills (42-34) and Grossmont (60-15).

Monte Vista hosts Valhalla on Jan. 28 and Helix on Feb. 4. Varsity action is slated for 6:30 p.m. starts in both matches.

West Hills is off to a 4-0 start in dual meet competition with victories against Grossmont, Serra, Mt. Miguel and Steele Canyon.

“This is one of the more solid teams we’ve had,” Rivinius said. “We’re really good at taking it to the third period.”

Helix’s Trence Gillem placed third in his 132-pound division at the recent Doc Buchanan tournament. Gillem’s only loss was in the semifinals to Buchanan’s Durbin Lloren, the 2015 California state champion.

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