Prep wrestling season heating up as CIF championships near

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The 2014-15 high school wrestling season is winding down toward the division, section and state championship tournaments. Several East County mat men and women look to be contenders to qualify for this year’s state finals.

Upcoming is this weekend’s annual two-day tournament in Holtville.  El Capitan and Valhalla are among the 29 teams slated to compete.

Twenty-six schools attended the annual Monte Vista Invitational on Jan. 17 in Spring Valley. The Grossmont Conference was well represented with eight teams.

The 2014-15 high school wrestling season is winding down toward the division, section and state championship tournaments. Several East County mat men and women look to be contenders to qualify for this year’s state finals.

Upcoming is this weekend’s annual two-day tournament in Holtville.  El Capitan and Valhalla are among the 29 teams slated to compete.

Twenty-six schools attended the annual Monte Vista Invitational on Jan. 17 in Spring Valley. The Grossmont Conference was well represented with eight teams.

Helix turned in an impressive showing by out-dueling defending Division I tournament champion Mira Mesa by 63.5 points to win the team championship. The Highlanders out-pointed the Marauders 202-138.5.

Tourney host Monte Vista placed sixth overall with 109 points, followed by El Cajon Valley in eighth place with 99 points, West Hills in 13th place with 66 points and Granite Hills in 14th place with 64 points. Mountain Empire finished 21st while Santana was 25th and Christian was 26th.

Five East County grapplers captured individual weight class championships, including three from Helix. Monte Vista’s Andres Lopez claimed first place at 113 pounds while El Cajon Valley’s Pietro Anderson was first at 195 pounds. Helix’s trio of champions included Trence Gillem at 126 pounds, Mozi Schwalger at 170 pounds and Jerome David at 182 pounds.

Monte Vista’s Giovanni Pagan finished second in his 106-pound weight class. Also securing runner-up individual place-finishes were Helix’s Jose Lopez (120), El Cajon Valley’s Oscar Guzman (145), Helix’s Walter Todd (152) and Granite Hills’ Victor Garcia (285).

Third-place winners included Monte Vista’s Ray Davis (132), Granite Hills’ Seth Salmond (138) and Helix’s Solomon Worthey (195) while fourth-place finishers included Helix’s Benjamin Gonzalez (145) and DRell Gist (160), and El Cajon Valley’s Meriton Hassani (170) and Bryden Chesnut (220).

Fifth-place finishers included Monte Vista’s Ivan Tirado (126), West Hills’ Cameron Rivinius (145), El Cajon Valley’s Shvan Alkurdy (160), and West Hills’ Andres Sanchez (182) and Zack Weaver (285).

Sixth-place medalists included Helix’s Marcus Tucker (106), Monte Vista’s Mario Hernandez (126), Helix’s Salvador Carrillo (132) and West Hills’ Seth Mona (152).

The Highlanders finished the tournament with 10 place-finishers, including five finalists, while Monte Vista and El Cajon Valley both had five place-finishers.

Monte Vista placed second as a team (to Eastlake) at the Mission Hills tournament on Jan. 3. Individual weight class champions included Pagan (113) and Lopez (120).

Midseason showcase

The El Cajon Invitational, once regarded as the section’s crown jewel regular season tournament, continues to gain ground in restoring its prestige value. This season’s tournament took place Dec. 19-20 at Christian High School with 47 schools in attendance.

Grossmont was the highest placing team in a tie for fifth place while five more East County teams managed to crack the top half of the field: Helix (15th), Granite Hills (17th), Monte Vista (22nd) and Steele Canyon and West Hills (tied for 24th).

Top individuals included Helix’s Trence Gillem (first at 132), Grossmont’s Jorge Ramos (second at 113) and Christian Mora (second at 152), Helix’s Mozi Schwalger (second at 170), Steele Canyon’s Colin Forman (second at 195), Helix’s Walter Todd (third at 170), El Cajon Valley’s Pietro Anderson (third at 220), Monte Vista’s Andres Lopez (fourth at 120), Grossmont’s Jason Tiensvold (fourth at 160), and Bryce Harmon (fourth at 182) and Steele Canyon’s Jonathan Fischer (fourth at 220).

Other East County place-finishers included Granite Hills’ Kyle Tinney (fifth at 195), West Hills’ Andres Sanchez (sixth at 182), Granite Hills’ Victor Garcia (sixth at 220), Monte Vista’s Ray Davis (seventh at 132), Granite Hills’ Jake English (seventh at 170), Grossmont’s Gilbert Dominguez (eighth, 106) and West Hills’ Seth Mona (eighth at 152).

Section rankings

The top three place-winners at the San Diego Masters championship tournament will advance to the state championship meet. East County wrestlers ranked among the top four positions in their weight classes through Jan. 11 included Helix’s Schwalger (third at 170), Steele Canyon’s Forman (fourth at 195) and ECV’s Anderson (fourth at 220).

CIF finals

The section’s four divisional championship tournaments are scheduled Feb. 21, followed by the section Masters championship state-qualifying tournament Feb. 27-28 in Imperial Valley.

The state championship meet is scheduled March 6-7 in Bakersfield.

Helix and Granite Hills are slated to compete at the Division I tournament at Mission Hills High School while Grossmont, Steele Canyon and Valhalla are scheduled to compete at the Division II tournament hosted by San Ysidro High School.

Sites for the Division III and Division IV tournaments are to be announced shortly. West Hills, El Cajon Valley, Monte Vista and El Capitan will compete in the Division III field while Santana, Mountain Empire and Christian will compete in the Division IV field.

Tournament team rankings at midseason saw Grossmont ranked eighth overall among section teams, with Helix and Monte Vista also receiving votes.

The section’s girls championship tournament is scheduled Feb. 14 at a site to be announced.

For more information, visit the website at www.cifsds.org.

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