Story By John Salzer
LEMOORE, Calif. - The Santa Ana College wrestling program participated in their first individual tournament of the season at West Hills College in Lemoore, CA. There they faced a variety of schools throughout the state including top ranked schools Fresno City, Cerritos, Sacramento City, and Mt. San Antonio. Taking a crew of five wrestlers for the tournament, the Dons got a boost to the program for the season with a 6th place finish by returning state placer Josh Fuentes, and a 1st place medal by Oliver Rivero. Coming into the tournament, Rivero was the 7th seed at 133 pounds, while Fuentes was the 3rd seed at 141 pounds.
The first round action saw matches for Sam Galdamez (125), Luis Cervantes (184), and Mario Moz (285) who made his season debut for the team. Galdamez and Cervantes ended up dropping into the consolation brackets after losing their first matches. Galdamez was unable to get an offense going against Trevor Bagan (Santa Rosa), losing 0-6. Cervantes was unable to overcome an early deficit to Rafael Vega (Chabot), losing 3-8. Moz in his season debut was the sole winner for the Dons in the first round after a 10-5 decision against Steve Garcia (Chabot). Rivero and Fuentes were the beneficiaries of byes thanks to being seeded.
The second round finished quickly for both Oliver Rivero (133) and Josh Fuentes (141). Rivero scored very early and worked to a fall over Andres Gonzalez (Cerritos) at 2:06. Josh Fuentes followed suit with a fall over Carlos Perez (Sierra) at 1:07. Mario Moz faced Marcus Macias (Fresno City) in his second round match, being taken down early before scoring a reversal to tie the match 2-2. Macias scored again with a reversal of his own, catching Moz on his back in the process and winning by fall at 1:51, sending Moz to the consolation bracket. In the consolation round, Sam Galdamez trailed 3-0 through the third period of his match against Gavin Sweeney (Sierra) before scoring a last second takedown, but unable to score anymore as time expired, giving Sweeney the win 3-2. Luis Cervantes added bonus points to the team score with a late fall over Thomas Montserrat (Skyline) at 6:48.
The quarterfinals had Oliver Rivero facing 2nd seed Kyle Jimenez (Fresno City). Rivero was dominant throughout the match, thanks to two takedowns and three sets of near fall points. Jimenez came back for a late rally in the third period for a reversal and near fall, but Rivero was able to escape from the bottom and held on to advance to the semifinals by a score of 15-8. Josh Fuentes found his first challenge of the season against 2nd seed Anthony Chavez (Fresno City). While being able to score the first takedown, Chavez rallied with an escape and takedown, plus near fall to extend his lead. Fuentes could only score two escape points the rest of the match, being dealt his first loss of the season by a score of 10-4. In the consolations, Luis Cervantes advanced to the next round after receiving a medical forfeit from his opponent. Mario Moz went against Christopher Alvarez (Mt San Antonio) but found himself outmatched as he gave up a fall at 1:39, finishing 1-2 for the day.
In the 4th round of consolation, Josh Fuentes recovered quickly from his quarterfinal loss with a win by fall over Jacob Licea (West Hills) at 1:47. Luis Cervantes faced Victor Cruz (Modesto) and was not able to put up a quick enough offensive, falling behind early and losing to Cruz by a score of 9-5, finishing 1-2 for the day. Oliver Rivero was matched against Jesus Garduno (Mt San Antonio) for his semifinal match, showing complete control for the duration of the match. A late rally by Garduno in the closing seconds of the match saw Rivero's 6-0 lead cut to 6-4, but the Dons wrestler held on to win the match 7-4 with riding time.
In the 5th round of consolation, Josh Fuentes guaranteed a second medal for the Santa Ana wrestling team as he dominated Chris Valencia (Sierra) with a majority decision victory of 16-3. In the consolation semifinals match, however, he could not repeat the performance against Luis Ramos (Fresno City), being caught in a chicken wing hold and losing by fall at 3:44 of the match. For the 5th place match, Fuentes wrestled against Aaron Diaz (Mt San Antonio). The Mt SAC wrestler's defense was impenetrable, with Fuentes only able to score two escape points versus three takedowns by Diaz, ending the match 6-2 in favor of Diaz. Fuentes with his 6th place medal finished the day 2-3, with his overall record for the season now 9-3.
The finals round for 133 pounds saw Oliver Rivero paired against number one seed and returning state champion Isaiah Perez (Fresno City). Rivero scored the first point of the match after Perez was called for a technical violation during a scramble that saw neither wrestler able to gain an advantageous position. Perez would respond with a takedown to take the lead 2-1, followed by Rivero escaping in the closing seconds of the round to close the gap 2-2. Perez opted to take bottom to start the second period, but Rivero rode the Fresno wrestler out for the entire period with the score remaining the same. An escape by Rivero in the third period gave the Dons wrestler a 3-2 lead, which he was able to hold on to upset the returning state champion and improve his record to 13-0. For his accomplishments, Rivero was named lower weight MVP of the tournament.
The Dons will be hosting the Santa Ana Tournament on Saturday, September 29th and will be facing a majority of these top ranked teams again.