22 teams no match for Brawley wrestlers

January 28, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

HOLTVILLE — Some say doing something wrong once is a mistake and twice is a habit.

Well, what if someone did something right instead of wrong in the same scenario?

Look no further than the Brawley Union High School wrestling team, which repeated as champion of the 38th annual Holtville Wrestling Tournament with a dominating performance here Saturday night.

The Wildcats placed 13 of their 14 wrestlers in the top five positions in each weight class, with the 14th Brawley wrestler coming in sixth place, to earn the overall championship with 290.5 points. Valhalla of El Cajon finished second with 251 points and Hilltop of Chula Vista took third with 170.5 points.

"Every kid on the team did well and that's what won it for us," Brawley coach Keith Smith said. "This was the first time all year we've been to a tournament and had a wrestler in each weight class. All the teams that were in the tournament are from our playoff section, so it feels great to win. We finish (the Imperial Valley League) against Southwest of El Centro, but our next stop is the CIF playoffs."


David Villagran was the first Wildcat wrestler to have his hand raised in a finals victory when he defeated Vincent Moreno of Hilltop in the 106-pound weight class. Villagran topped his perfect 4-0 mark in the event with a pin of Moreno with 46 seconds remaining in the third period. Villagran, who had three pins in all, was awarded the tournament's outstanding lower weight wrestler award.

The Wildcats narrowly missed garnering back-to-back firsts when Martin Pulido fell in the 115-pound class final to Chris Angelo of University City High of San Diego, but Jose Reyes got his squad back on track in the 122-pound class.

Reyes captured his weight class with a pin in the second period over Darrell Christian of University City to complete his run of four straight victories, three by pin. Hector Carrillo was next on the winner's list for Brawley when he pinned Nick Jones of Hilltop with one second on the clock in the first period. Carrillo also compiled a 4-0 mark in the tournament with three pins.

Bucky Leigh captured the Wildcats' fourth top honor with a dominating performance. Leigh coasted with three straight pins, two in the first period, before capturing a 7-1 decision over James Kosanovich of Valhalla in the final.

"I run in the morning and wrestle hard in practice," said Leigh of the secret behind his success. "Our coach also deserves the credit. He really makes us work hard. I went out there with the thought of making no mistakes and wrestling my own style instead of my opponents' and I think I accomplished that tonight."

"By us doing so well we tell the San Diego Section to watch out," Leigh added. "We came out to show the San Diego teams who we are and what we've got."

Jose Gutierrez finished Brawley's controlling performance with an 8-2 victory in the heavyweight final over Daniel Quinn of Mira Mesa. It was Gutierrez's third decision win of the tournament.

Also earning medals for the Wildcats in addition to Pulido's second place were Timmy Dowden (135) with a 5-2 decision over Justin Lovejoy of Mar Vista (Imperial Beach) for third place. Mark Mendibles (138) also scored a third-place slot with a 7-1 decision over Holtville's Jon Hawk and Daniel Martinez (148) earned a fourth-medal after falling by pin to Scott Marshall of Point Loma.

Kiddo Moreno took third place in the 155-pound class with a walkover against opponent Steven Jolley of Shafter, who couldn't wrestle in the final because of an injury, Andy Buckner (173) took out Calexico's Brandon Quintero 3-1 in overtime for fifth place, Jaime Antuñez took second in the 192-pound class after being pinned by Tim Smith of Valhalla in the final and Miguel Miranda rounded out Brawley's medals with a fourth place in the 218-pond class after being pinned by Jerry Wright of Palo Verde.

The only other Imperial Valley school with a first-place winner was Imperial, compliments of standout A.J. Smith.

Smith captured two shutout decisions and a pin before matching strength with David Hermanson of Valhalla in the finals of the 155-pound class. Both wrestlers struggled to gain an advantage but Smith reversed a hold by Hermanson in the second period for two points and won 3-1.

"My stamina really helped me tonight," said Smith, whose Tigers took 10th overall with 66 points. "It was a lot harder this year. The competition was a lot better. They were a lot stronger. I'll be seeing most of these guys again in the CIF playoffs, so wrestling them before then and beating them gives me the advantage."

Also helping Imperial earn its spot was Jon Woodard, who took fourth place in the 122-pound class after being pinned by Dean Kinports of Valhalla.

Central Union finished in the 12th slot of the 23-team tournament with 55 points, edging Calexico's 53.

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