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Wildcats pin Palo Verde for IVL title

February 04, 2005|By TOM RONCO

Special to this newspaper

BLYTHE — Getting strong performances from the upper and lower weight classes, the Brawley Union High wrestling team claimed its 11th consecutive Imperial Valley League wrestling dual meet championship here Wednesday night, defeating the Palo Verde High Yellowjackets 41-25.

"It's always tough to win the IVL and every year you do the expectations get higher," said Brawley coach Tony Leon. "Palo Verde felt they had a good shot at us and they wrestled hard."

Pat Morris (142 pounds) gave Palo Verde a 3-0 lead by winning a 6-5 decision over Brawley's Chauncey Rowe, but Brawley's Josh Ochoa (147) used a reversal and near fall in the third period to defeat Johnny Lewis and tie the match score at 3-3.

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In the next match Brawley's Alvaro Zermeno (154) secured the first of four Wildcat victories via fall, pinning Palo Verde's Jared Kwamoo in the second period.

"I wanted to set the tempo for the team, make the upper weights wrestle harder," said Zermeno, a junior. "Takedowns are my thing. I snapped him down. It's a move I work on, and I wanted to pin him and get it done."

Leon had no concerns about Zermeno stepping up to the challenge.

"He's one of the kids you don't worry about; you know he'll give you everything he has," Leon said.

Trailing 9-3, the Yellowjackets' Ryan Kerr (162) won a 12-10 decision over Steve Trinidad and Cesar Rocha (173) pinned Brawley's Zay Shepherd in the third period and when Wildcat sophomore Steven Dominquez (191) was pinned, Palo Verde held an 18-9 advantage.

Brawley rallied behind consecutive pins by three sophomores — Josh Wise (215), Robert Harrison (275) and Marco Noriega (105) — and a walkover by senior Mark Ojeda (114) to break the match open at 33-18.

We knew it was in him to wrestle like that," said Leon of Harrison. "The other heavyweights are bigger than he is and he's only been wrestling for two years, but he's been aggressive the last few matches."

For Ojeda, a senior, the walkover was an unwelcome stroke of fate.

"It's frustrating to have to make weight and not wrestle because we thought they had a wrestler," said Ojeda, who missed last season with an injury. "So I tried to pump the team up and work with the guys warming up and help the younger wrestlers."

The Wildcats closed the match by winning three of the last four events.

Cory Cafferalla (121) won a technical fall 15-0, J.J. Santana (132) won a major decision 11-0 and Lorenzo Soto (137) scored a 9-2 decision.

John Cardenas (127) lost a narrow 7-5 decision to Anthony Shinault for Palo Verde's final three points.

With the dual meet season completed, Brawley (9-1 overall, 5-0 IVL) will host the IVL tournament starting at noon Wednesday and will host the San Diego CIF Division IV finals Feb 19.

It becomes, in fact, a second season for the wrestlers, who are now wrestling primarily as individuals.

Said Ojeda, "CIF's important to all of us. I want to do well because the divisionals lead to the Masters and the Masters to the state … it's up to me how well I prepare and how well I perform."

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