Granite Hills, Guffey (28-0) still soaring on prep wrestling mat

Granite Hills’ Collin Guffey improved to 28-0 on the season after winning his weight class title at the recent prestigous Battle for the Belt tournament.

The 2023-24 high school wrestling season is quickly coming to a close as teams continue to try to get a leg up on the competition.

Granite Hills has certainly been doing its part by competing in national-draw events such as the recent Doc Buchanan Invitational in Clovis. The Eagles finished 15th in the elite field with two place-finishers (Collin Guffey and Abram Cline) and one champion (Guffey).

“It was definitely the toughest since we have been going, but it was great for our team as we get ready for post-season,” GHHS head coach Jesse Sheard said. “Collin won it (top-ranked wrestler in the state at 165 pounds) and looked really good up there. He had six nationally ranked guys in his weight alone. Abram Cline did well (quarterfinals at 116 pounds).

“We didn’t get the results we were hoping for, but it made us hungry for our state championship run. Devon Wells went 3-2 (at 147 pounds, Round of 16) but looked pretty good. He took a loss to the No. 1 kid in the state and to the No. 7 kid. He definitely is peaking at the right time.

“As a team there was definitely some ups and downs. I can guarantee one thing, our boys are ready to get to the post-season and show everyone what they are made of.”

The list of tougher than tough tournaments is never ending, it seems.

Granite Hills and Valhalla both rang up place-finishers at the prestigious Battle for the Belt invitational Jan. 12-13 at Temecula Valley High School.

Granite Hills snared two weight class champions – familiar faces on top of the awards stand in Cline (113 pounds) and Guffey (165 pounds).

Cline (24-2) defeated Canyon Springs’ Max Murillo (31-6) in sudden victory overtime, 6-4, while Guffey (28-0) won by a 6-2 decision over Palm Desert’s David Alonso (21-5).

Other place-finishers for the Eagles included Aiden Chur (fifth place, 138 pounds), Jayson Suetos (sixth place, 132 pounds), Sergio Porras (seventh place, 150 pounds) and Junior Bumanglag (seventh place, 175 pounds).

Chur (23-6) won by a 4-0 decision over Samuel Yokoyama (24-12) of Los Alamitos while Suetos (16-6) lost by forfeit to Bakersfield’s Caleb McElroy (20-10).

Porras (24-6) won by a 6-2 decision over Temecula Valley’s Gabriel Lemos (20-8) while Bumanglag (15-7) won by a 10-0 major decision over Central’s Saheim Macias (22-9).

Overall, Granite Hills totaled six place-winners.

Valhalla’s Victor Gosswiller (7-2) placed fifth in his 190-pound weight class.

Records are getting rather top-heavy at this point of the season.

Granite Hills finished fourth overall among the top 15 scored teams, placing in a tie with Del Oro with 160 points. The Eagles trailed team champion Poway (366 points), runner-up Vacaville (215.5 points) and third place Bakersfield (167 points) in the elite field.

“Guffey and Cline both won it and looked great doing it,” Sheard said. “Cline won outstanding lightweight wrestler. Overall, it was a good showing.

“We are a little banged up right now, so our goal is to get health for Holtville which is this weekend, and then prepare for a strong successful post-season run.”

Poway dominated this year’s field with 10 finalists, six weight class champions and 24 place finishers.

Edwin Sierra (22-2 at 120 pounds), Billy Townson (23-5 at 126 pounds), Gavin Navida (27-3 at 138 pounds), Paul Kelly (6-0 at 144 pounds), Laird Root (26-1 at 157 pounds) and Adam Farha (21-3 at heavyweight) all picked up gold medals for the Titans.

Orange Nation

Valhalla recorded a meteoric second-place finish at the 36-team Mission Hills Invitational on Jan. 9 while a split Granite Hills squad finished third in the team standings.

The Norsemen, supported by two weight class champions and six place-finishers, scored 174 points to trail Poway’s junior varsity team, which ran away with the team title with 367.5 points.

Granite Hills, braced by two individual champions and five place finishers, scored 149.5 points.

VHS champs included Nathanial Anderson at 177 pounds and Gosswiller at 217 pounds.

Anderson defeated Granite Hills’ Jovanni Mansour by an 11-3 major decision while Gosswiller pinned Poway’s Colin Finney in 4:40.

GH champs included Chur at 140 pounds and Cooper Fields at 152 pounds.

Chur pinned Castle Park’s Gambino Martinez in 5:59 while Fields defeated Ramona’s Liam Gonzalez by a 7-3 decision.

Additionally, Christian’s Landon Bedsole placed runner-up at 134 pounds.

Valhalla’s other place-finishers included Marcelino Nona (third at 167 pounds), Uriah Hawkins (fourth at 122 pounds), Jonathan Yousif (fourth at 146 pounds) and Caden Spring (sixth at 115 pounds),

Granite Hills’ other place-finishers included Gavin Hunter (fourth at 108 pounds) and Damian Arreola (sixth place at 122 pounds).

Nine East County teams competed at the Mission Hills Invitational.

Christian placed 11th with 90 points. Besides Bedsole, place-finishers included Damian Jones (third place at 122 pounds) and Ryland Valdez (fifth place at 108 pounds).

El Capitan placed 12th with 87.5 points. Riley Jones finished fourth at 128 pounds.

Santana placed 13th with 71 points. Gavin Clark placed fifth at 177 pounds.

Helix Charter placed 16th with 63 points. Ja’Kar Carter placed third at 192 pounds.

Mountain Empire placed 23rd with 42 points. Drew Reed placed fifth at 217 pounds.

Monte Vista and Mt. Miguel placed in a tie for 31st with 29 points. Ty Pope placed fourth at 152 pounds for Mt. Miguel.

The San Diego Section postseason tournaments include two divisionals for girls on Feb. 3 (Division I at Steele Canyon High School and Division II at Lincoln High School) and four divisionals for boys on Feb. 10 (Division I, Division II, Division III and Division IV) followed by a combined San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament Feb. 17-18.

San Diego Section Calendar

San Diego Section Division I tournament: Feb. 3 at Steele Canyon High School (Granite Hills, Grossmont, Helix Charter, Steele Canyon, Valhalla)

San Diego Section Division II tournament: Feb. 3 at Lincoln High School (Christian, El Cajon Valley, El Capitan, Monte Vista), Mt. Miguel, Mountain Empire, Santana, West Hills)

San Diego Masters tournament: Feb. 18 at Southwest El Centro High School

State tournament: Feb. 22-24 in Bakersfield

Photos by Phillip Brents
The San Diego Section girls wrestling post-season will face off Feb. 3 with the
Division I tournament at Steele Canyon High School and the Division II tournament
at Lincoln High School.

San Diego Section Division I tournament: Feb. 10 at San Marcos High School (Helix Charter, Granite Hills)

San Diego Section Division II tournament: Feb. 10 at Orange Glen High School (Steele Canyon, Grossmont, Valhalla)

San Diego Section Division III tournament: Feb. 10 at Montgomery High School (El Capitan, Santana, El Cajon Valley, Monte Vista, West Hills)

San Diego Section Division IV tournament: Feb. 10 at Mar Vista High School (Mt. Miguel, Christian, Mountain Empire)

San Diego Masters tournament: Feb. 17-18 at Southwest El Centro High School

State tournament: Feb. 22-24 in Bakersfield