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Gutierrez takes first at 20-team tournament

January 09, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

There's no doubt Brawley Union High School sets the standard in the Imperial Valley in wrestling.

Over the weekend the Wildcats took second in the 20-team Monte Vista tournament in Spring Valley and proved they also can be one of the top powers in the San Diego CIF Section.

Helping Brawley become a dominant force are the performances of its heavier wrestlers. Leading Brawley in an area where many teams have holes is heavyweight Jose Gutierrez.

A team captain, the 17-year-old senior won his weight class at the Monte Vista tournament Saturday with a 4-0 record.

Gutierrez had to get past Poway High's Steven Veating, who defeated Gutierrez earlier in the year in the finals of the Mira Mesa tournament. Gutierrez got some redemption by pinning Veating in the third period to win the tournament crown.


"I had lost to him before and I felt this was my chance to redeem myself," said Gutierrez, a three-year varsity letterman. "They (Poway) were probably our toughest competition at this tournament and I think we did pretty well against them."

Said Brawley coach Keith Smith: "He's not in full wrestling shape but I think he's starting to get there. Jose wrestled very aggressively and I think he did really good this week."

Smith said Gutierrez is still transitioning from football shape to wrestling shape. Smith did say being in better shape than his opponents is what helps give Gutierrez an advantage.

Gutierrez agreed, saying being quicker than his opponents is what has helped him gain an edge. At 5-feet 11 inches tall and 240 pounds, Gutierrez is considered small for a heavyweight. The maximum weight in the class is 275 pounds and on occasion he gives up 35 pounds to his opponents, which is where his conditioning and quickness step in.

All that has definitely paid off this year for Gutierrez as he's compiled a 21-5 individual record.

Gutierrez is probably the odds-on favorite to take an Imperial Valley League title, but Gutierrez has his sights set on a bigger prize.

"My goal right now is to go to state and try to place," said Gutierrez. "As far as the team goes, we're not even at full strength and we're still placing at all these tournaments. So I think this is probably the best team we've had here since I've been here."

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