West Hills’ Mooneyham is right on the money with tourney mat title

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The 2013-14 high school wrestling season hit the mat last Saturday as three East County teams competed at the 12th annual Battle by the Beach Invitational at Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach.

West Hills senior Mavrick Mooneyham led the trio of Grossmont Conference mat squads with a gold medal–winning performance in his 113-pound weight class while a pair of Monte Vista grapplers—Giovanni Pagan (106) and Mario Hernandez (126)—each finished second in their respective weight classes.

The 2013-14 high school wrestling season hit the mat last Saturday as three East County teams competed at the 12th annual Battle by the Beach Invitational at Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach.

West Hills senior Mavrick Mooneyham led the trio of Grossmont Conference mat squads with a gold medal–winning performance in his 113-pound weight class while a pair of Monte Vista grapplers—Giovanni Pagan (106) and Mario Hernandez (126)—each finished second in their respective weight classes.

The Grossmont Foothillers recorded the highest team finish with a fifth-place trophy while Monte Vista finished in ninth place and West Hills finished in 14th place in the 18-team field.

Mooneyham finished second at last season’s San Diego Section Division III championship tournament and followed that with a solid 3-2 showing at the San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament. 

He said his goal this year is set on advancing past the San Diego Masters tournament.

“My goal is to medal at state,” the West Hills mat man stated. “I’ve been working mostly on my technique, conditioning and being more aggressive. I’ve been working all summer.”

Mooneyham showed his hard work paid off after opening the tournament with a 16-1 technical fall in the quarterfinals against Brawley’s Daniel Valdez. The Wolf Pack wrestler then advanced to the championship round after recording an 11-5 decision against Grossmont’s Sebastian Chan in the semifinals.

Mooneyham claimed his first-place medal with a 4-0 shutout decision over Mira Mesa’s Jason Ravarra in the finals.

In scoring their second-place medals, Monte Vista’s Pagan dropped a match by 2:33 pin to Brawley’s Ernesto Pinedo while Hernandez finished second to San Yisdro’s Jose Reyes after surrendering a 9-1 major decision.

Pagan had opened the tournament with pins of 1:20 and 1:29 and held an 8-3 lead on Pinedo before losing by the upset fall.

Hernandez pinned his first opponent in 54 seconds before collecting a 3-1 win in the semifinals over Point Loma’s Kele Frost.

Grossmont had four wrestlers finish with third-place medals in the team’s first tourney outing of the season: Ibra Wane (106), Roman Simpson (126), Christian Mora (145) and Jason Tiensvold (160). 

Additionally, Chan finished with double default decision for third place with Point Loma’s Daniel Harris due to the five-match rule while Foothillers teammate Jorge Ramos (120) placed fourth.

Grossmont coach Todd Bell said he has a lot of positive vibes about his team, which he feels has a shot at contending for the Grossmont Hills League title this season.

“I think we can definitely compete,” he said. “I think all the duals will be very close.”

Also for Monte Vista, David Diaz (138) placed fourth in his weight class.

San Ysidro captured the Battle by the Beach tournament title, followed by runner-up Mira Mesa, third place Chula Vista and fourth place Point Loma.

San Yisdro 132-pounder Miguel Flores captured the outstanding light weight award, Bonita Vista’s Andy Garcia (160) captured the outstanding middle weight award while Mira Mesa’s Waseem Elhamad (182) captured the outstanding upper weight award.

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