By Bill Tamburrino
Raul Briseno is going to the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield this weekend.
The scrappy junior battled back after losing a tough semifinal bout at the Masters Meet, held Feb. 28 and March 1, to win the bronze medal for third place and a berth in the state meet.
In all, four Bulldogs earned medals at the Masters. Only the top three wrestlers in the San Diego Section of CIF advance to the state meet.
“Raul (197) was down by 5 points with 20 seconds left,” said coach David Tomaino. “He sent the bout into overtime and then scored the winning takedown on a wrestler that had beaten him twice this season. That match propelled him into the bout for third place and a berth in the state meet where he upset the No. 2 seed and earned a trip to Bakersfield. Raul wrestled very cool and calm and collected throughout the Masters. He is going to represent the team and community very well next weekend in Bakersfield.”
Three Bulldogs went undefeated the first day of the Masters, and made it to the semifinals: Vince Adair (128), Trae Rodriguez (222) and Briseno. Two Bulldogs, Troy Jordan and Alex Gomez, lost on the first day and battled through the consolation bracket on day two of the Masters.
Trae Rodriguez lost in the semifinals and battled back in the consolation bracket to take home the medal for fifth place.
“After losing a 6-5 heartbreaker on a tough call, he laid it all on the line this weekend like he has all year. He is a great football player, but he may be a better wrestler. He is just a warrior,” Tomaino said of Rodriguez.
Jordan (152) lost on day one and showed his tenacity by battling through the consolation bracket on day two to win fifth place.
“Troy showed his toughness battling some injuries. I think he has become poised enough to take this tournament next season. He will start next season as one of the guys to beat in San Diego,” said Tomaino.
Adair lost in the semi’s and had to lose by injury default (head) in the bout for fifth and sixth place.
“Vince is one of the hardest working I’ve seen in this sport and just a great young man,” noted Tomaino. “It is unfortunate that he had to default, but the health and safety of the wrestler always comes first. He will make our community proud one day.”
It’s been a good season for Tomaino, his staff and the team. The Ramona Bulldogs were the undefeated Valley League Champions, second in the CIF Division III, sent eight wrestlers to the Masters Meet and one Bulldog advances to the state meet.