Wrestlers look to keep season alive
Brawley Union High's Vinny Elizalde (top) wrestles during the 49th annual Holtville Rotary Invitational wrestling tournament Jan. 28 in Holtville. (Joselito Villero)
The Masters sectional tournament pulls together the best of the best from the San Diego section to compete for a shot at the California State Championships.
The Imperial Valley will have 36 wrestlers from various schools competing in the tournament including a couple of returning champions.
Central Union High wrestlers Micah and Antonio Perez won their respective weight classes last year and will look for a repeat Saturday.
“It’s important for me to win any tournament I compete in. The name of the tournament really doesn’t mean that much to me,” 17-year old junior Micah said. “This year I’m just going to give it what I’ve got and hopefully overcome anything thrown at me so I can go back to the state tournament.”
Micah and Antonio will head to Masters with a few teammates with hopes of placing high as a team.
“We’ve had some injuries, so not a lot of our wrestlers are going,” Micah said. “But hopefully we are going to do the best that we can and place as high as we can.”
Being able to place high at the tournament requires a lot of qualifiers from CIF.
In Brawley Union High’s case the whole team will be present as the Wildcats qualified 14 wrestlers to Masters.
“Taking 14 to Masters is an awesome deal because not too many teams do that,” Brawley head coach Tony Leon said. “That’s going to help us score team points, but we have to wrestle better because the quality of wrestlers at Masters is always tough.”
For the other teams, Central qualified seven, Calexico qualified six, Imperial qualified four and Holtville qualified two.
The tournament is a 24-man double-elimination bracket format with the top three placers from each weight class advancing to state.
For Brawley’s Lonzie Osuna, last year’s tournament was a tough reality check.
“Last year I made it all the way to the quarterfinals on the first day and lost a close match,” the 16-year-old junior said. “The next day I didn’t warm up like I should have and lost my first match of the day which ended my season.”
Osuna is ranked in the top four in the section and will look to finish in the top three on Saturday so his season doesn’t come to an early end.
“Right now I’m focused on taking out one of the top three wrestlers to make my way to the finals assuring me a trip to state,” Osuna said. “I have to be ready this year because I want to go to state and I’m going to do anything I can to make that happen.”
The tournament starts at 9 a.m. today and 9 a.m. Saturday at Otay Ranch High in Chula Vista.