Fallbrook High School’s younger wrestlers competed in the Escondido JV Dual Meet tournament Jan. 12 at Escondido High School, and four of the Warrior matmen went undefeated to win their weight class.
The Warriors as a team finished fourth among the eight schools despite ceding three weight classes. “I was very ecstatic about that, actually, and I was very ecstatic about the final dual meet, too,” said Cristian Vera, who coaches Fallbrook’s freshman and junior varsity teams.
The four teams in each of the two pools faced each other in round-robin format, and Fallbrook won two of those three competitions to place second. A cross-pool pairing pitted Fallbrook against the top team in the other pool, resulting in a loss to La Costa Canyon. Fallbrook then faced Point Loma, which finished second in its pool, for third place.
Fallbrook had a 34-33 lead over Point Loma entering the final match, the 126-pound contest. Shane Davis, who had won three of his previous four matches, lost by a single point to give the Pointers three team points and a 36-34 final score to take third place.
“We just barely lost it,” Vera said.
Vera doesn’t fault Davis for the loss. “He had a good tournament,” Vera said. “Both of the matches that he lost were pretty close.”
Davis also lost to his Granite Hills opponent. The Warriors took two wrestlers whose weigh-ins placed them in the 126-pound division. A team may use both wrestlers in the same weight class, although the need for points led Vera to use Davis in all five matches. Mark MacDermot was given two exhibition matches, although both were defeats. “I’m so proud of him,” Vera said. “It was still a good thing to watch him out there.”
If a team has more than one wrestler in the same weight class another option is to loan one of those grapplers to another team which has no representative in that bracket. Fallbrook borrowed two wrestlers: a 113-pound competitor from Valhalla and a 170-pound matman from Granite Hills. Both lost their first matches, but both defeated their Point Loma opponents. “It was just really cool to see,” Vera said of the two borrowed wrestlers closing out the tournament with victories.
Fallbrook took 10 wrestlers and competed in 11 weight classes, including the two with the borrowed grapplers. “It was a large group of kids,” Vera said.
Tournament champion La Costa Canyon, second-place Granite Hills, and Point Loma all had representation in each weight bracket, so Fallbrook’s finish was the highest of any school which did not have 14 wrestlers. “It was a huge accomplishment, especially considering the fact that up to this point things haven’t been going our way, so this was a huge step,” Vera said. “It was a big confidence builder that a lot of the JV guys really needed.”
Cris Rudisell not only captured the tournament’s heavyweight championship but pinned all five of his opponents. “He was the only guy we had who pinned everybody,” Vera said. “He did exceptionally well.”
Mario Beltran won all five of his matches to take the 138-pound title, pinning four of his competitors. “He’s going to be one of those kids to watch,” Vera said.
Nick Perillo’s 5-0 record and championship for the 160-pound bracket included three pins, a win by major decision, and an overtime win against La Costa Canyon after Perillo’s takedown in the overtime period broke a 2-2 tie. Vera felt that the 160-pound division was the tournament’s toughest. “For him to still come out and be able to beat all those people was exceptional,” Vera said.
Fallbrook’s fourth champion was Steve Sparacino, a sophomore transfer from Fullerton. Sparacino was victorious in all five of his 152-pound matches. “He didn’t get a single pin, but all of his wins were pretty good,” Vera said.
An injury early in his third match ended Zack Moistner’s participation after he won his first two 120-pound contests. “He had two exceptional matches,” Vera said.
Moistner injured his back against his Escondido counterpart. “To prevent more injury we ejected him from that match and we kept him out of the fourth and fifth duals,” Vera said. “Even though we had to keep him out of the last two he still was there as the captain,” Vera added. “They needed that leadership there, and he did it really well.”
In his first-ever tournament, sophomore Juan Chavarin won three matches and lost two in the 145-pound division. “For him to have as good as a tournament as he did was awesome to watch,” Vera said.
Bacilio Gaspar, a first-year sophomore, lost his first two 132-pound matches but won his final three contests by pin. “He came back strong and ended up pinning the last three kids, so that was pretty impressive to watch,” Vera said.
Although Drew Backe was Fallbrook’s only wrestler who did not win the majority of his matches, the 195-pounder’s sole win was an overtime victory against Point Loma. “He pulled through for us when we needed him the most,” Vera said.
Granite Hills opened the tournament with a 36-30 victory over the Warriors. Fallbrook next battled Valhalla for a 60-24 victory. Fallbrook defeated Escondido by a 38-32 score. “Getting a win over Escondido was pretty big for us,” Vera said of defeating the host team. “We managed to get a couple of more pins than they did.”
La Costa Canyon defeated Fallbrook by eight points. “What did us in was not getting as many pins as we should have,” Vera said.
“It was phenomenal for us to win the majority of the matches,” Vera said. “I’m really happy with what the boys managed to do.”
Vera noted that the Warriors were down by 18 points at the start of each dual competition. “They still pulled together and brought home the trophy,” he said.