Fallbrook High School senior Andrew Tate placed fourth in the 147-pound weight division at the CIF Division I wrestling tournament February 16 at Otay Ranch High School.
The third-seeded Tate won three of his five matches, losing to top seed Alex Gallo of Escondido High School in the third round and fourth-seeded Alvin Wong of Calexico High School in the third-place match.
“We really wanted to get in the finals,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman. “He had to get through Gallo to do that and it didn’t work out.”
Tate was one of two Fallbrook wrestlers to compete at the Division I tournament. The Warriors brought five grapplers, but transportation complications kept sophomores Steve Sparacino and Nick Perillo and junior Cris Rudisell from arriving before the weigh-in room was locked and the three were not permitted to wrestle. Wagaman had planned to utilize Sparacino in the 154-pound division, Perillo in the 162-pound class, and Rudisell in the 222-pound bracket.
Zack Moistner represented Fallbrook in the 122-pound class but ended the double-elimination tournament without a victory. His first match was against Justin Guzman of Mira Mesa High School, who took a 6-2 decision over Moistner. “He had a slow start in the match and obviously you can’t afford to do that in any tournament but this tournament in particular,” Wagaman said.
In Moistner’s second match he was pinned by Vista’s Carlos Perez in the second period.
The 122-pound class was the 120-pound division during the regular season. “He’s been an underweight 120-pounder all season long,” Wagaman said of Moistner.
Wagaman explained that the initial weight assessment, which includes body fat, was not close enough to allow Moistner to compete in the 113-pound division. “He’s really been scrapping all year,” Wagaman said.
If a wrestler is ahead by 15 points a technical fall is awarded, and Tate opened his CIF tournament competition in that manner with a 19-4 victory over Colin Waters of San Pasqual. Tate required 1:42 to obtain the 15-point lead. Tate then took a 15-0 technical fall victory over Antonio Edison of San Diego High School, although Tate didn’t achieve that lead until the second period.
Wagaman wasn’t concerned about Tate’s failure to pin either of his first two opponents, since it was a matter of conserving effort for future matches that day. “He’s been wrestling with a pretty significant shoulder pain since the Las Vegas tournament,” Wagaman said.
Tate finished fourth at the December 20-21 Las Vegas Holiday Classic. Wagaman added that Tate’s numerous takedowns in the early rounds of the CIF tournament also enhanced Tate’s confidence. “I think what he was trying to do was get spun up and get his emotions up,” Wagaman said. “I think he liked pretty much to be able to score at will.”
Tate and Gallo had faced each other twice in the La Costa Canyon Classic tournament December 7-8 with Tate winning by decision in the first match and Gallo prevailing by decision in the consolation match. Gallo, who would eventually win the CIF Division I tournament, defeated Tate by a 9-5 decision in their third match of the year. “We had opportunities to win that match and obviously didn’t capitalize on them, but the score’s kind of deceiving,” Wagaman said. “He had several opportunities during the match, but his shoulder was hurting him a lot.”
In some cases those opportunities were due to higher-risk moves which ended with Gallo obtaining the points. Wagaman doesn’t fault Tate for being aggressive. “That’s what you’ve got to do if you’re doing to teach yourself to be a champion,” Wagaman said.
Tate won his first consolation bracket match by pinning Emmanuel Mercado of Eastlake High School in the third period. “I was really happy,” Wagaman said.
During the second period Tate and Wagaman were forced to take a 30-second injury time out. “He did well, but I was worried about his focus because of his shoulder,” Wagaman said.
Wagaman explained that the next round, which was against Wong to determine third and fourth place, would be tougher. Wong took a 3-0 decision.
“I would have to go back a really long ways to find a time when Andy didn’t score a point,” Wagaman said.