EL CENTRO â€” The California Mid-Winter Fair was not the only show in town this weekend as the CIF San Diego Masters Tournament came to the Valley, with Southwest High in El Centro serving as host.
Top valley and San Diego divisional placers were in town, including local top team and fifteen time CIF champions, Brawley Union High, as well perennial San Diego #1 school Poway High, both of which had qualified competitors in all weight classes.
The Brawley Union High Wildcats finished with seven placers in the top six at their individual weight classes, two state qualifiers by finishing top in the top three, and one CIF San Diego Section Masters Champion.
All eyes were on Daxton Gordon, Brawley High’s 128 pound representative, as he has been on an impressive 2015 campaign. Â Ranked in the top three in the state at 132 pounds Gordon came into this tournament as the #1 seed despite being controversially disqualified in the semi-finals of last weekâ€™s CIF Division IV Tournament.
After breezing through the competition en route to the finals he eventually accomplished his goal and defended his seeding with a 6-4 overtime victory over Poway High hopeful, Scott Kiyono. Â With the Masters Tournament victory, Gordon will head into next week State Tournament with all cylinders rolling.
Brawley’s Isaac Moreno also punched his ticket to the State meet with a third place finish in the 122 pound category. Â In what had been an unlucky season due to injuries sustained before and during the season, Moreno has found a way to salvage the season and earn a trip to Bakersfield next week for the State Tournament, a return to where he was two years ago as a sophomore.
Also on an interesting note, Gordon and Moreno almost met at the Masters Tournament as freshmen in 2012, with Moreno as a representative of the blue and gold, and Gordon donning Imperial red , but an injury sustained by Moreno in his prior match caused him to be pulled from their match.
They now both represent Brawley Union High next week at the California State Tournament in Bakersfield.
Junior 108-pounder Joseph Meier finished the tournament in fourth place narrowly missing a spot at the state tournament. After an exiting double overtime victory in the quarterfinals his semifinal matchup provided another example of his toughness and championship heart, as an illegal slam could have led to a disqualification victory in his favor. Rather than go to the finals with a win on DQ terms, Meier elected to try and earn it on the mat and continued, even with a shoulder injury caused by a slam, eventually dropping the semifinal in overtime.
Also finishing in the top four for the Wildcats was Manuel Morales at 162 pounds. After earning two close decisions, he fell to eventual champion Colt Doyle of Poway High.
He then turned around and earned a spot in the third place match with an 11-0 victory over Gray Montana of Morse High, but in the end would finish the tournament in fourth place, also barely missing out on a shot at the State Tournament next week.
Wildcat 172-pounder, Noe Gonzalez, also nearly earned a trip to state but could not get through the tough 172-pound field ,but did go 4-2 overall in the tournament finishing in fourth place.
Also placing in this weekendâ€™s San Diego Masters Tournament were Junior Victor Gonzalez (132) and Jacob Moreno (115) who each took sixth in their respective weight divisions.
“Dax wrestled smart, and also has a bad knee but he really was focused. Â Isaac started slow this season with a concussion, but he is now really confident and wrestling well,” said head Brawley Head Coach Tony Leon of the two wrestlers who will head to Bakersfield next week.
“Overall I’m proud of all our wrestlers,” added Leon.