Story by John Salzer
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Santa Ana College Wrestling team traveled to Cuesta College for the annual Meathead Movers Invitational, competing against top-ranked teams such as Fresno City College, Mt San Antonio College, Sacramento City College, and Bakersfield College. This was the second individual tournament that the Dons were participating in while getting the opportunity to wrestle more teams from the Northern section of the state. Seven wrestlers competed across six weight classes. The top finishers of the day were Joshua Fuentes - Norikiyo at 133 lbs., Jeremy Huang at 141 lbs., and Wolfgang Bernal at 149 lbs. All three wrestlers placed third in their respective weight classes.
Fuentes-Norikiyo started off the day by scoring a fall over Branon Julien of Chabot in the second period of his round of 16 match. In the quarterfinals, he faced off against Julian Melecio of Mt SAC, who was the #7 rank in the 133 division in the state. After a scoreless first period, Fuentes-Norikiyo chose bottom to start the second period, but could not escape and was ridden out by Melecio, although he did not give up any near fall points. However, he rallied in the third period by riding Melecio all the way after Melecio chose bottom. With the score being 0-0 at the end of regulation, Fuentes-Norikiyo wasted no time by scoring a takedown off Melecio within ten seconds of the sudden victory overtime. His run in the championship bracket ended when he was pinned in the first period by Isaiah Perez of Fresno City College, ranked #1 in the state. He would earn his way to a respective third place by defeating Trevor Mattox of Sacramento City College 11-0 and pinning Lucas Howes of Palomar in the 3rd place match.
Jeremy Huang opened his competition up with a majority decision win of 13-2 over Sean Breceda of Mt. SAC in the first round. He then faced a challenge from Thomas Thorton of Sacramento City after being caught onto his back early in the first period. He managed to score a reversal before the end of that period, and dominated the second period by scoring a reversal followed by two 4 point near fall combinations, outscoring his opponent 10-2 in that period. He would then ride out his opponent for the entire third period to advance to the semi-finals with a score of 13-8. In the semi-finals, he would lose 5-3 after being unable to score a takedown off of Abraham Del Torro of Fresno City. Huang was able to go in the consolation brackets and finish third after defeating Jeremy Newman of Sierra College 7-1, and Adam Valdez of Mt SAC 4-3.
The last third place winner Wolfgang Bernal got off to a rocky start, dropping his first match against Omari Batts of Sacramento City 12-9. From there though, Bernal would not look back. The "Wolf" started his consolation run by pinning Brandon Acosta of Bakersfield in his first consolation match, while fighting a very close match with Khalil Howard of Rio Hondo, winning 5-4. His third consolation match ended with a fall over Adrian Marrufo of West Hills, while his consolation semi-finals bout was a rematch against Omari Batts. Batts had no answer for Bernal this time around, with Bernal getting a fall in the last period of the match. The third-place match saw him go against Josh McMillon of Fresno City, with Bernal having complete control of the match and winning 4-1 to earn him the third place trophy.
Women's wrestling also saw action for the day, as Santa Ana's Polette Montano faced Jazmin Villa and Vanessa Gardeu, both from Delta College in the women's B pool. Montano scored falls over both women, being undefeated for the tournament. Montano is now 9-4 for the season after a 1-3 start.
Brandon Tierney (174 lbs.) and Leo Perez (184 lbs.) both made the consolation semi-finals and lost very close matches to higher ranked opponents. Tierney finished his tournament with a 5-2 loss to Abel Garcia of Sacramento City, while Perez lost 5-3 to Ivan Sevilla of West Hills. Both wrestlers were tied for 5th place in their respective weight classes and scored placing points for the team.
Santa Ana as a team finished 5th place with 63 points, 10.5 points behind 4th place team Bakersfield. Rounding out the top three teams were Sacramento City (96 points), Mt SAC (128.5 points) and Fresno City (171.5) who continues their domination of the season and keeping their #1 rank.
125 - Samuel Galdamez-Valle: 0-2
133 - Joshua Fuentes - Norikiyo: 4-1, 3rd place
141 - Jeremy Huang: 4-1, 3rd place
141 - Javier Virgen-Aguilar: 0-2
149 - Wolfgang Bernal: 5-1, 3rd place
174 - Brandon Tierney: 3-2, 5th place
184 - Leonel Perez: 1-2, 5th place
Women - Polette Montano: 2-0