AKRON, Ohio. – Side headlocks, gut-wrenches, and under hooks were moves seen today inside Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House, as some of the top scholastic wrestlers across the country were battling to become world team members.
Five of our California athletes still have the opportunity to make the team as they have advanced to the semifinal round of their respective weight classes.
Maxximus Martinez (Sunkist kids/Monster Garage) kickstarted the tournament by conquering his first two opponents 7-1 and 10-0 to set up a crucial matchup with 2017 UWW Cadet World team trials All-American, Drake Ayala of Sebolt Wrestling Academy.
Martinez hit first in the match with a headlock in 17 seconds and then obtained another two points with a takedown with 30 seconds left on the first period to seal the 4-2 victory over Ayala. Tomorrow morning Martinez will take on Casey Swiderski of BTWC.
Richard Figueroa (Sunkist Kids/Monster Garage/Selma HS) will place better than last year (7th place) as he also advanced to the semifinal round at 48 kg by defeating all three opponents via a (10-0) technical fall. He was unscored on the event with his most extended bout lasting 2:24. His opponent tomorrow will be Cole Skinner (USA-Ohio Wrestling) a 2017 World team member and winner of this tournament at 42 kg.
A second wrestler from the Central Valley making a statement in this event was Ryan Franco (Darkhorse/Clovis North HS). Franco began the tournament by defeating his first opponent 11-2, followed by a 13-4 victory, and then a 10-0 technical fall to advance to the quarterfinal round.
In the quarterfinals, Franco beasted his opponent by getting three four-point moves, including two in the first period to win the match 12-7. In tomorrow’s session, he will get the opportunity to compete against Joshua Saunders of Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, an opponent he lost to in the finals of Fargo last summer.
The 71 kg weight class was a good one for our California athletes as both Jace Luchau (Sons of Thunders/Selma HS) and Sonny Santiago (Sunkist Kids/Monster Garage/St. John Bosco), beat their quarterfinal opponents to make the semifinal round.
Luchau, who advanced to the finals of this event in Greco-Roman yesterday, has secured doubled All-American status and could make the team in Freestyle. His opponent tomorrow will be Alex Facundo (Team Donahoe). Both wrestlers met last year in the semifinal round of Fargo with Facundo getting the 8-4 win.
Santiago completed the day with a 3-0 record after defeating 2018 Pan American champion Aaron Gandara (Wrestling Prep) 3-1 in the quarterfinal round, the No. 2 seeded wrestler in the weight class. His opponent tomorrow will be Joshua Otto of Askren Wrestling Academy.
Wrestlers still alive in the consolation rounds include Tristan Lujan (Sons of Thunders/Selma HS) at 51 kg and Maximo Renteria (Dethrone/Buchanan HS) at 55 kg. Tomorrow’s action will begin at 9:30 AM Eastern Time.