Local wrestlers fare well at 50th annual Holtville Rotary Invitational
Central Union High's Richard Aguilera (top), 18, pins a Granite Hills High wrestler during the 50th annual Holtville Rotary Invitational at Holtville High on Saturday. Aguilera won the match. (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / January 26, 2013)
Wrestlers were pitted against each other in five separate rings, coaches shouted themselves hoarse — to say nothing of onlooking parents, friends and teammates — while whistles shrieked and statisticians recorded.
On Saturday, however, order presided as all attention was centered on a single ring in the middle of the gymnasium floor as finals got under way.
The matches proceeded in order of weight class, beginning with 108-pounders and concluding with heavyweights. Of the 28 contestants, 13 were Valley-born — Vicente Elizalde (115 pounds), Peter Martinez (128), Alonso Osuna (134), Brian Satino (160), J.J. Morales (172), Joseph Guler (197), and Brian Ortiz (222) from Brawley Union High; Micah Perez (122) and Nicholas Alvarez (184) from Central Union High; Phillip Gutierrez (134) and Jose Sandoval (222) from Holtville; Alvin Wong (147) from Calexico; and Kenny Caldera (108) from Imperial.
Caldera got the night started off right as he overcame Jason Revarra of Mira Mesa High in the third period, 11-3. Elizalde won his weight class for the third year in a row by defeating Jaime Cruz of Hilltop High, 9-2, and three-time CIF champion Micah Perez of Central won his fourth Holtville title by walkover.
Although he really has little left to prove, Perez was disappointed to win in such a manner.
“I had a feeling it was going to happen that way,” the 12-year grappler stated. “It’s not like I didn’t earn it, but it’s something I would’ve wanted to fight for.”
Perez wants to wrestle collegiately and has been offered scholarships by the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia and Cal Poly.
“I have no idea where I’m going,” he said, “but it feels great, knowing they’re interested.”
The rest of the tournament was filled with ebbs and flows. All told, six of the 13 Valley wrestlers won their matches, but thunder seemed to strike when the local favorite, Vikings’ Jose Sandoval, pinned Wildcats’ Brian Ortiz with 39.2 left in the first period.
“I’ve got a better takedown than I thought,” said the first-time winner. “(Winning my weight-class) felt amazing, like I just got a chance to go to State. But I’m not gonna let this go to my head; it’s just another match.
“I’ll always remember the four years I wrestled here,” he added.
Reigning Imperial Valley League champion Brawley Union High won the overall, leading the next-closest team, Rancho Bernardo High of San Diego, by some 70 points.
Longtime head coach Tony Leon said, “I think we did well. I didn’t like the way we ended it,” — Wildcats Joseph Guler and Brian Ortiz lost back-to-back matches — “but it’s just something we’ll have to work on.
His thoughts on impending Imperial Valley League competition?
“We’ve got Southwest next, then we’ve gotta get ready for that. I don’t like to be cocky or predict anything. We just have to go out, wrestle well, and the outcome will take care of itself.”
To join the discussion and add your comments to this story, please click here to be directed to Facebook.