By Bill Tamburrino
The holiday season is tournament season for the wrestlers. While the majority of the population is gaining weight, the wrestlers are working to “make weight.”
“We enter tournaments to get our young wrestlers mat time and to give our experienced wrestlers some competition and to get ready for the big tournaments (CIF, Masters and State). We only took 10 wrestlers (there are 14 weight classes) to the Shark Tank but we had a good showing,” said coach Steve Koch.
Koch and his program have never been known to duck competition and the Shark Tank at Santiago High School in Corona invites 58 teams with some of the best wrestlers in the state.
Noe Hernandez (182) was the Bulldogs’ highest finisher at the Shark Tank. Hernandez took third place and his only loss was to the defending CIF champion in the Southern Section.
Isaiah Ilich won the fourth place medal in the 152 class and Raul Briseno (170) also took fourth place. Josh Allen got a medal for his sixth place finish in the 220 pound division.
Ramona went to the Mission Hills Tournament with only eight wrestlers and took third place as a team.
“We rested some guys that were nursing minor injuries and really got a great effort from the guys that we took. Six out of the eight guys that wrestled won medals,” said Koch.
“Vince Adair (125) and Jake Ohnysty (145) won gold medals and beat some wrestlers ranked higher than them,” said Koch.
osh Allen (220) and Arturo Osario (138) both brought home silver medals. Trae Rodriguez (285) took third place and won the bronze medal. Noah Lagoe (106) won the medal for fourth place and Scott Valente (170) won the medal for fifth place.
The Mat Dawgs finished the holiday vacation by competing in the Clinchgear Southern California Challenge at Tustin High School, Jan. 4 and 5.
Ramona finished fourth in the 55 team tourney. Ilich won the silver medal in the 132-pound class. Kevin Conroy earned a medal for his fourth place finish. Adair (120), Hernandez (182), and Troy Jordan (152) all earned sixth place medals.
“We are trying to get better with every tourney and with every meet. It is a lot harder to defend a CIF championship than to win it. We have scheduled very good competition in dual meets and tournaments and the team is improving. We are right where we want to be as we head to the Valley League,” said Koch.