Fallbrook High School’s varsity wrestling team had three tournaments and one dual meet in December.
With the exception of Andrew Tate, who placed fourth in the 145-pound class at both the Dec. 1 Carlsbad Invitational tournament and the Dec. 20-21 Las Vegas Holiday Classic tournament, the highlights focused more on the development of the Warrior wrestlers rather than how they fared in matches.
“We’ve been trying to put our team together and learn some things,” said Fallbrook coach Greg Wagaman.
The Carlsbad Invitational opened the 2012-13 season for Fallbrook’s varsity. Nine Warrior grapplers competed in the tournament; Tate was the only one who placed. “First tournament of the season, it was nice to place somebody,” Wagaman said.
Because there are 14 weight classes in high school wrestling, Fallbrook did not have enough wrestlers to place as a team. The lack of a full team also cost the Warriors in their Dec. 6 dual meet at Westview. Fallbrook took 10 wrestlers; one of the weight classes was a double forfeit while the Wolverines scored 18 points on three Fallbrook forfeits. That was enough to give Westview a 40-26 victory in the meet.
“We wrestled some really good matches,” Wagaman said. “All in all I thought we had a good dual meet.”
Wagaman placed several new wrestlers on the varsity for what became their first dual meet. “We had a couple of guys win that were kind of surprising,” he said.
“It was a pretty positive experience for us,” Wagaman said. “It was a positive place for us to start as far as dual meets.”
The La Costa Canyon Classic was held Dec. 7 and 8, although none of Fallbrook’s eight matmen placed. “Andy had some rather good matches and he had some that weren’t so good,” Wagaman said.
Wagaman noted that Tate’s historical problem has been following a good match with a mediocre performance. “He’s never been able to string those things together through the course of a tournament,” Wagaman said. “It was very, very different at Vegas this year.”
Nine Fallbrook wrestlers traveled to Las Vegas. “We took some first-year guys that have been wrestling really well,” Wagaman said. “They could get the experience of a big tournament.”
The tournament included 81 teams. “I think they did really well,” Wagaman said of his new wrestlers. “The Vegas tournament was a really good experience for me as a coach.”
Wagaman felt that the 145-pound class had numerous high-level wrestlers. Tate opened his part of the tournament by pinning the division’s seventh seed, who attends Camarillo High School in Las Vegas, in the first period.
Tate lost his second match due to an injury default. He took down Jamen Littlefield of Cedar City (Utah) High School in the first period but hurt his neck. The allowable injury time passed, and Wagaman opted for the default rather than returning Tate to the mat. “I wanted more time to take a look at his neck,” Wagaman said.
Wrestling tournaments are double-elimination, so Tate was relegated to the losers’ bracket. “He came right back,” Wagaman said.
Tate won his first three matches in the consolation bracket to advance to the tournament’s second day. His first Dec. 21 match was a 7-3 victory over a Las Vegas opponent. “That was one of the best matches he had all day,” Wagaman said.
Tate met Littlefield in the consolation semifinals, this time taking a 15-0 victory.
The consolation finals for third place matched Tate against Kolby Lloyd of Beaver (Utah) High School. Tate had the first takedown, although Lloyd managed a reversal. Three second-period points helped Lloyd to a 5-2 victory over Tate.
“He had the best matches of his life in the tournament, and the best part was he was finally able to string consecutive good performances,” Wagaman said of Tate.
Fourth place is the highest finish ever, at least to Wagaman’s knowledge, for a Fallbrook wrestler at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic. “His confidence level is way, way up,” Wagaman said of Tate. “He knows that he’s capable of putting those things together now.”