The Raul Huerta Memorial Classic wrestling tournament Jan. 25 and 26 at Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley did not seed Fallbrook High School senior Andrew Tate in the 145-pound weight class, but Tate still managed to place seventh in the weight bracket.
“I think him not being seeded put him at a disadvantage in the tournament,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman. “I would have liked to have seen him seeded.”
The lack of seeding pitted Tate against seeded opponents in earlier rounds of the tournament. “You’ve got to wrestle those guys anyway, but I think he would have wrestled them later on,” Wagaman said.
“If you get seeded obviously you have a different path to the medal rounds,” Wagaman said. “That’s why they do seeding, to try to keep the best guys apart.”
Wagaman submitted his seeding arguments for Tate on-line when he submitted his registration for the tournament. The seeding process also included an in-person forum the night before the start of the tournament where coaches could seek a higher seed.
That Jan. 24 in-person meeting conflicted with Fallbrook’s dual meet against Carlsbad. The Warriors’ 60-18 loss included Tate pinning his opponent. Shane Davis and Bacilio Gaspar also won their matches by pin, although the three pins were Fallbrook’s only victories against the Lancers.
Although Tate was not seeded, he defeated Poway’s Chris Jones in an earlier tournament. Jones was seeded sixth in the weight class.
Tate still received a first-round bye and then won by default against Cameron Gerken of Granada Hills High School. In the third round he faced Bakersfield High School’s A.J. Fierro, who was ranked sixth in the state in the 145-pound class and seeded third in the tournament’s bracket. “It was a pretty tough weight class,” Wagaman said.
Fierro defeated Tate by a 10-4 decision. “He did well against the ranked kid,” Wagaman said of Tate.
The loss relegated Tate to the consolation bracket. If a wrestler is ahead by 15 points a technical fall is awarded, and Tate received such a victory over Jose Lopez of Rialto’s Carter High School when Tate achieved a 16-0 lead.
Tate’s next opponent was Ryan Donovan of Alta Loma High School, which is in Rancho Cucamonga. Tate’s 4-0 victory over Donovan gave him a match against Albert Gonzales from Rim of the World High School in Lake Arrowhead. Tate pinned Gonzales 1:31 into the match.
Tate’s victory over Gonzales placed him against fifth-seeded Diego Mata of Canyon Springs High School. The two grapplers were tied in points with 45 seconds remaining in the third period. Tate and Wagaman believe Tate scored a takedown, but the referee ruled otherwise and the match went into an overtime period. “Would have been nice to get that takedown in regulation, but he didn’t give it to us,” Wagaman said.
Mata recorded a takedown against Tate to advance to the fifth-place match, which he won by default. Fierro defeated Jones in the third-place match. Tate competed in the seventh-place match against Mark Aceval of San Jacinto High School and took seventh place with a 2-0 victory over Aceval.
Wagaman took seven Fallbrook wrestlers to the Raul Huerta Memorial Classic. Steve Sparacino won his first 152-pound match against Coby Jensen of Rim of the World High School before losing his next two contests. Cris Rudisell opened his 220-pound competition by defeating Redlands East Valley High School grappler Maxwell Stephan but lost his next two matches. Gaspar won a 132-pound consolation match when Frank Lopez of West Covina High School defaulted.