Holtville Rotary Hosts 54th Annual Wrestling Tournament

Gibby Carrilo (Brawley) attempts to sprawl from an Erik Salcido (Rancho Bernardo) shot. Photo by Gus Garcia.

HOLTVILLE — The 54th Annual Holtville Rotary invitational Wrestling Tournament came to a conclusion Saturday night as only two grapplers from each of the 14 weight classes were left standing in the tournament finals championship. Of the hundreds of competitors from the 33 teams invited, only 28 were left to compete for the 14 championship spots.

“The event went well, we had a lot of teams compete, a little more than we’ve had in the last few years,” said CJ Johnston, Holtville High School head coach. “We might be at the most we’ve ever had with 33 schools. The competition was outstanding, probably one of the best it’s been in a while.”

Of the 28 competitors in the finals, Brawley Union High led the Valley with four finalists including Jayden Smith (134), Eric Reyes (140), Gibby Carrillo (154) and Dane Martinez (220), with Dane Martinez earning a championship for the Valley in the tournament.

In the closely contested final against Steele Canyon High’s Jaime Gerrardo, Martinez won two points on an early take down in the first and rode his opponent out the whole second period to keep him off the board. In the third round, Martinez earned an important escape point to secure the decision victory which would finish at 3-1 in Martinez’ favor.

“It feels really good winning this tournament,” said the 220 pound junior, Martinez.

“I think I could have done better. The score was a little low, but I think I can work on improving on that a little more,” said Martinez of his finals match.

Nick Hart made the final at 128 pounds representing Imperial High School, but did not compete due to injury. Southwest High’s representative Julien Tabarez competed in the  140 pound final against Brawley’s Eric Reyes, winning by Pinfall, adding a second championship for Imperial Valley high schools.

Overall, Rancho Bernardo would finish with the lead in team points with 314.5 and nine finalists and six champions. The nine finalists were Gavin Conception (108), Jake Grigg (115), Jaden Le (122), Jordan Abas (128), Tyler Badgett (134), Charles Franchina (147), Erik Salcido (154), True Stewart (184), and Chasen Blair (197).

Le, Abas, Badgett, Franchina, Salcido, and Blair would earn first place finishes in their respective weight classes.

Mater Dei Catholic High would take home three championships as well, as Aaron Olmos took first in the 163 pound division with a third round pin over David Lipscomb of Steele Canyon High.

Uriel Beristain earned a competitive 7-3 victory over San Ysidros’ Pablo Perez in the 172 pound championship match, the second one for Mater Dei high on the night.

Thomas Schmitt would make it three for Mater Dei Catholic with a win in the 184 pound division final minutes later with an 8-1 decision over Rancho Bernardo’s True Stewart.

“There was a lot of support from the Valley out here tonight,” said Johnston.

“We would like to thank all the Holtville Community and the Holtville Rotary Club especially for helping sponsor this tournament. The community really came together, the students helped out and the Valley schools as well,” Johnston said.

Other Finals results:

108 Marcus Taylor (Helix High) defeated Gavin Conception (Rancho Bernardo) by a 12-0 decision.
115 Nathan Kiddo (Ramona High) defeated Jake Grigg (Rancho Bernardo) by fall in the third round.
287 Jonathan Lewis (St. Augustine) defeated Andrew Poumele (Helix High) by a third round pin.