Granite Hills wrestlers soar to history-making first CIF mat title

Courtesy photo Granite Hills’ Collin Guffey won the prestigious Reno Tournament of Champions at midseason.

Which team will win the San Diego Section Division I boys soccer championship, the Division III girls basketball title? It’s time to find out after the seedings have been posted for this year’s winter sports playoffs.

Girls and boys wrestling teams were the first to award championship trophies and individual medals, now girls water polo, boys and girls basketball and boys and girls soccer teams are ready to take the plunge.

The Granite Hills Eagles made history on the mat last Saturday at San Pasqual High School by winning the section’s Division II championship title. It is the first CIF wrestling championship for the East County school despite decades of excellence on the mat.

The Eagles last came closest with a runner-up finish to the Poway Titans in the 1994 Division I tournament finals.

The CIF wrestling title follows in the footsteps of the school’s history-making first CIF football championship during the preceding fall sports season. The Granite Hills football team didn’t stop there after going to win regional and state championships.

Wrestling also includes a state championship tournament. The Eagles will attempt to qualify as many mat men as possible for this weekend’s San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament Friday and Saturday at Mission Hills High School.

The section’s girls Masters state qualifying tournament is Saturday at Mission Hills High School in a first of boys and girls wrestling both competing for state qualifying berths on the same weekend at the same venue.

The Eagles captured this year’s Division II championship in convincing fashion with 332.5 team points — more than double that of runner-up Mira Mesa — and nine individual weight class champions.

Granite Hills’ honor roll included individual champions Abram Cline (108 pounds), Carlo Arreola (115 pounds), Aiden Chur (122 pounds), Jayson Suetos (128 pounds), Devon Wells (140 pounds), Ryan Carroll (147) pounds), Collin Guffey (154 pounds), Zachary Waterhouse (162 pounds) and Keagan Kroeger (197 pounds).

Claiming second-place medals for Granite Hills were Layronz Fraser (134) and Joseph Smith (222 pounds).

In nothing short of stunning, the Eagles placed wrestlers in the championship finals in the opening nine weight classes, winning eight gold medals.

That’s something indeed for the history books.

Granite Hills head coach Jesse Sheard, who wrestled for the Eagles as a four-year starter and placer before attending college in the Midwest to play football, admitted it’s been a long time coming for the school’s mat program to finally achieve the pinnacle of greatness.

And it does feel great, he said.

“It was an amazing day,” Sheard noted. “As their coach we get to spend many hours with these athletes practicing, competing and traveling, so I get to see the good and the bad. It was amazing Saturday seeing all of our boys compete and succeed.

“I’d like to thank all of our coaches, too. They go above and beyond to make sure our athletes are as prepared as possible. Their commitment to these boys and girls can’t be matched.

“We had a huge support system this year. Saturday, we had a bunch of fans, teachers and administrators come out and support our boys. Big thank you to them for all their support this year.

“I love coaching this group. They always want to get better and feed off the momentum and success of their teammates. They are never satisfied.

“We made history Saturday winning CIF for the first time ever as a team. We had nine CIF champions which was the first time in program history. Collin Guffey hit his 100th career win.”

Cline, Chur, Suetos, Wells, Guffey, Waterhouse and Kroeger all won by pins in the championship round while Arreola won by a major decision and Carroll won by a minor decision.

Granite Hills finished the 18-team tournament with 11 place-finishers overall as Junior Bumanglag (172 pounds) claimed third place and Royce Harper (184 pounds) took fifth place Guffey and Kroeger finished 4-0 with four pins each while Wells finished 4-0 with three pins and one technical fall. Carroll and Waterhouse both finished 4-0 with two pins.

Cline, Chur and Suetos all finished 3-0 with three pins while Arreola was 3-0 with two pins. Fraser finished 3-1 with two pins.

Sheard said he hopes his wrestlers can keep up their momentum and peak for the next two weeks — at Masters and state.

Besides Granite Hills, Steele Canyon (fourth place, 121.5 points), Valhalla (eighth place, 101 points) and Grossmont (18th place, 24 points) also participated in last Saturday’s Division II field.

The top seven place-finishers received individual medals.

Steele Canyon’s Jonathan Kaiser (140 pounds) and Jacob Jimenez Santillan (154 pounds) both finished second place in their weight classes as did Valhalla’s Victor Gosswiller (172 pounds).

Steele Canyon’s Javier Sanchez (162 pounds) finished third in his weight class while fourth-place medals went to Valhalla’s Arseel Eliya (115 pounds) and Jonathan Yousif (134 pounds) and Steele Canyon’s Sergio Romero (287 pounds).

Fifth-place medals went to Valhalla’s Aaron Ruiz (122 pounds), Steele Canyon’s Jacob Vazquez (147 pounds) and Valhalla’s Nathaniel Anderson (162 pounds) and Anthony Coyle (197 pounds).

Sixth-place medals went to Steele Canyon’s Jadan Fugate (128 pounds) and Anthony Garcia (172 pounds).

Seventh-place medals went to Grossmont’s Caleb Osegueda (115 pounds), Grossmont’s Alex Resico (140) and Valhalla’s Alberto Perez (222 pounds).

Steele Canyon’s Esteban Medina (122 pounds) and Jacob Smith (197 pounds) both took eighth place in their respective weight classes.

Jimenez-Santillan finished 3-1 with three pins while Kaiser finished 3-1 with two pins.

Romero finished 4-2 with three pins while Yousif finished 4-2 with two pins and two major decisions.

Anderson and finished 4-2

Eastern exposure

Overall, East County finished with 15 CIF individual champions this season, including nine from Granite Hills, three from West Hills, two from Christian and one from Mt. Miguel high schools.

The top seven place-winners in each weight class at both the Division I and Division II tournaments qualified for the upcoming Masters tournament as did the top six place-finishers in the Division III tournament and the top four place-finishers in the Division IV tournament.

Rancho Bernardo High School hosted the Division I tournament. Poway, moving back into the division, easily won the team title with 370 points to 213 points for Rancho Bernardo. Helix, the lone East County team in the division, finished eighth with 108.5 points.

Helix had six Masters qualifiers: Ames Hoevker (third place, 140 pounds), Fa’aui Schwalger (third place, 172 pounds), Ja’kar Carter (third place, 184 pounds), Alijah Davis (fifth place, 197 pounds), Mustafa Naeem (sixth place, 222 pounds) and Victor Perez (seventh place, 134 pounds).

Masters alternates for the Highlanders include Gavin Nascinmento (eighth place, 122 pounds) and Armani Dennis (eighth place, 287 pounds). West Hills (fourth place, 142 points), Santana (seventh place, 108 points), El Capitan (ninth place, 76.5 points), El Cajon Valley (11th place, 65 points) and Monte Vista (12th, 64 points) all participated in the Division III tournament in Brawley. The Wolf Pack trailed team champion Brawley (303.5 points), runner-up La Costa Canyon (250 points) and third place Mt. Carmel (155.5 points).

West Hills had six Masters qualifiers, including three individual champions: Tyler Davis (first place, 147 pounds), Ryder Dearborn (first place, 184 pounds), Lance Briseno (first place, 287 pounds), Cezar Aguilar (third place, 172 pounds), Lelynd Mesina (fourth place, 162 pounds) and Johnathon Courvette (sixth place, 154 pounds).

Santana had four Masters qualifiers: Michael Gans (second place, 115 pounds), Isaiah Lloyd (second place, 162 pounds), Patrick Sommer (fourth place, 140 pounds) and Gavin Clark (sixth place, 172 pounds),

Masters qualifiers from El Capitan included Riley Jones (third place, 122 pounds) and Aaron Altamirano (sixth place, 162 pounds) while El Cajon Valley — drum roll — engineered five Masters qualifiers: Enrique Hernandez (third place, 287 pounds), Jayden Parks (fourth place, 222 pounds), Ahemed Shekaib Hussain (fifth place, 184 pounds), Elijah Drew (sixth place, 115 pounds), and Christian Carrera (sixth place, 197 pounds).

Monte Vista had two Masters qualifiers: Zubair Robinson (third place, 108 pounds), and Erick Ulloa (fifth place, 162 pounds).

Masters alternates (seventh place-finishers) include West Hills’ Bryan Minsky (122 pounds), El Capitan’s Lucas Maddalone (128 pounds), Santana’s Damien De La Vega (134 pounds), El Capitan’s George Spears (140 pounds), Santana’s Zachery Bader (222 pounds), El Capitan’s Karl Kirker (115 pounds), Santana’s Hamza Salih, El Capitan’s Joshua Rosson (134), Monte Vista’s Gael Trujillo (140), El Cajon Valley’s Alex Molina (147 pounds), El Capitan’s Evan Ortega (154 pounds), Monte Vista’s Victor Vazquez (172 pounds), El Capitan’s Charlie Welsh (184 pounds) and West Hills’ Joseph Roman (197 pounds) all finished in eighth place in their weight classes. Christian (fifth place, 98 points), Mt. Miguel (eighth place, 85 points) and Mountain Empire (11th place, 68 points) competed in the Division IV tournament at Lincoln High School. Holtville won the team title with 281 points ahead of runner-up Imperial (221 points).

The top four place-finishers qualified for the Masters tournament. The top four placers also received medals.

Christian finished the 22-team event with two weight class champions: Landon Bedsole (115 pounds) and Nathan Cena (172 pounds), Christian’s three Masters qualifiers also include Bryce Vowels (fourth place, 162 pounds).

Mt. Miguel ad three finalists: Seamus Boyle captured first place at 287 pounds while Ty Pope (147 pounds) and Anthony Ornelas (222 pounds) both finished second in their weight classes.

Mountain Empire’s Masters qualifiers include Jason Brennan (fourth place, 108 pounds) and Drew Reed (third place, 197 pounds).

Masters alternates (fifth place finishers) include Christian’s Bryce Hughes (122 pounds) and Mountain Empire’s Kaleb Aldrete (184 pounds).

Mountain Empire’s Jason Sandoval placed eighth at 222 pounds.

Mat attack

The top four place-finishers at Masters advance to the state meet Feb. 23-25 in Bakersfield.

Poway had 11 individual champions at the Division I finals while Division III champion Brawley had six. Division IV champion Holtville will send 11 wrestlers to this weekend’s Masters event., including four individual weight class champions.

Granite’s Cline and Guffey were ranked second in the state in their weight classes, as of the latest rankings release on Feb. 2, while Arreola and Suetos were both ranked 11th.

West Hills’ Dearborn, the Division III section champion, was 14th at 182 pounds in the latest state rankings.

Poway was ranked fourth as a team in the state while Granite Hills was ranked 10th (second to Poway in the section). Rancho Bernardo, the Division I runnerup, was ranked 24th.

Parade of Champions

East County Wrestling
•Abram Cline (Granite Hills), 108 pounds
•Carlo Arreola (Granite Hills), 115pounds
•Aiden Chur (Granite Hills), 122 pounds
•Jayson Suetos (Granite Hills), 128 pounds
•Devon Wells (Granite Hills), 140 pounds
•Ryan Carroll (Granite Hills), 147 pounds
•Collin Guffey (Granite Hills), 154 pounds
•Zach Waterhouse (Granite Hills), 162 pounds
•Keagan Kroeger (Granite Hills), 197 pounds

•Tyler Davis (West Hills), 147 pounds
•Ryder Dearborn (West Hills), 184 pounds
•Lance Briseno (West Hills), 287 pounds

•Landon Bedsole (Christian), 115 pounds
•Nathan Cena (Christian), 172 pounds
•Seamus Boyle (Mt. Miguel), 287 pounds