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IVL tourney loses its luster

February 16, 2002|By RICHARD MYERS, Sports Editor

HOLTVILLE — Some of the luster may have been missing Thursday as Holtville High hosted the Imperial Valley League wrestling tournament

Many of the top wrestlers in the IVL skipped the meet, along with a lot of grapplers from Brawley Union High, which won the IVL title for an eighth straight season.

Just don't tell the wrestlers who competed at the league meet that it didn't mean much.

"Sure, it's not life or death," Brawley athletic director Billy Brewer said, noting the outcome has no bearing on who qualifies for the California Interscholastic Federation's post-season tournaments. "But hey, the bottom line is the kids get recognized for achieving something."

Unlike the CIF's Southern Section, where wrestlers have to place in the top two or three to qualify for CIF postseason action, the San Diego Section takes everyone.


"Anybody can go to CIF," Holtville High athletic director John Reschert said.

There are enough slots in the San Diego Section so each school can send a grappler to the section meet.

"There is no need to qualify," Reschert added.

As a result, many IVL schools hold out their top wrestlers from the league meet. Brewer noted Brawley brought just half of its varsity squad, which strolled to the IVL championship unbeaten in league matches.

Many of the IVL teams failed to bring a wrestler for each of the 14 weight classes.

"I think us and Brawley are the only ones," Calexico coach Jose Jimenez said.

Because not every one of the six IVL teams fielded full squads, many of the wrestlers had to compete in just two matches as they drew byes in early rounds.

"There are only three wrestlers in this weight class," Brawley coach Keith Smith said, pointing to a bracket of the heavyweight division.

There are several reasons schools did not bring a full squad. The biggest reason has to do with the CIF's 40-match rule.

Wrestlers are allowed to compete in just 40 matches during the regular season, and many local grapplers reach that total before the league meet, having participated in large tournaments.

There's another reason.

"Kids are tired at this point in the season after wrestling in a lot of major tournaments," Smith said. "Not competing (in the IVL meet) gives them an extra week to breathe, rest before (CIF tourney action)."

Smith likes that some of younger wrestlers get a chance to compete in the league tourney.

"They get a chance to show their coach what they can do," he said.

Some traditionalists argue the league wrestling tournament is watered down, with many of the top grapplers sitting it out.

"It would be nice also if the tournament meant something, like qualifying for CIF," Jimenez said.

While it may seem like it doesn't mean much, just ask the wrestlers who competed in it. They were wrestling for pride as well as a whole lot more.

"This is a way for the league to give out medals," Brewer said.

The top three finishers in each weight class earned hardware.

"We like the IVL tournament," Brewer said. "We just look at the bigger picture. We're pointing to a CIF championship here at Brawley."

Results include:

105 pounds: Victor Sanchez (Central) defeated. Eddie Garcia (Calexico) 2-1 for first place and Julian Lopez (Holtville) pinned Alexis Gonzalez (Brawley) for third.

114: Esteven Jimenez (Calexico) pinned Bobby Velasco (Brawley) for first and Martin Moreno (Southwest) pinned Lester Shinault (Palo Verde) for third.

121: David Villagran (Brawley) pinned Adrian Arreola (Central) for first and Jacob Cerda (Holtville) decisioned Patrick Morris (Palo Verde) 11-2 for third.

127: Cody Acosta (Holtville) defeated Steven Gonzales (Southwest) 6-3 for first and Armando Villalobos (Brawley) decisioned Steven Armenta (Palo Verde) 7-6 for third.

132: Colt Snyder (Holtville) decisioned Eddie Rodriguez (Calexico) 9-2 for first and Anthony Arrevalo (Brawley) defeated Gabriel Sandoval (Southwest) 12-5 for third.

137: Edel Lopez (Holtville) defeated Joel Aguirre (Brawley) 6-3 for first and Max Leimgruber (Calexico) stopped Lon Curtis (Palo Verde) 13-12 for third.

142: Aaron Barrios (Calexico) decisioned Jesse Soto (Brawley) 18-11 for first and Cameron Lechner (Central) pinned Norman Taylor (Palo Verde) for third.

147: Bobby Myers (Brawley) defeated Dustin Fusi (Holtville) 14-3 for first and Eddie Cortez (Southwest) pinned Daniel Moreno (Calexico) for third.

154: Harry Ramirez (Calexico) decisioned Eddie Conner (Southwest) 9-8 for first and Steven Duran (Brawley) blanked Gabe Carter (Palo Verde) 16-0 for third.

162: Marcos Navarro (Central) decisioned Brian Robinson (Southwest) 11-1 for first and Marcos Castro (Brawley) pinned Adam Avila (Calexico) for third.

173: James Hawk (Holtville) defeated Jonathan Creiglow (Central) 14-4 for first and Rafael Contreras (Calexico) pinned Jeremy Baxter (Palo Verde) for third.

191: Mark Martinez (Brawley) pinned Brandon Quintero (Calexico) for first and Chris Gonzalez (Southwest) pinned Kalani Kalanui (Palo Verde) for third.

217: Lauriano Garnica (Palo Verde) pinned Raul Gradillas (Southwest) for first and Michael Ramey (Brawley) defeated Edgar Ugarte (Calexico) 3-1 for third.

Heavyweight: Mario Higarda (Calexico) pinned Shawn Sellers (Southwest) for first and Cesar Leon (Brawley) placed third.

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