MT. VERNON - Four individual championship performances propelled the Sunnyside High School wrestling team to a fourth place finish at this past Saturday's Mt. Vernon Invitational. A total of eight schools competed.
Blaine won the team title with 199 points. Burlington-Edison was second with 175 points. The original scoring results show Mt. Lake Terrace placing third with 156 points and Sunnyside fourth with 154 and a half. There is a strong possibility, though, a scoring mistake was made and the Grizzlies may be moved up to third place.
Winning individual titles for Sunnyside were Isaac Romero (103 lbs.), Ricardo Rivera (112 lbs.), Steve Sanchez (119 lbs.) and Victor Moreno (171 lbs.).
Romero, only a freshman, tallied a 3-0 record at the tournament. In the 103-lb. finals, he decisioned Burlington-Edison's Colin Cavanaugh by a 10-3 score. Romero turned Cavanaugh onto his back in the third round for near fall points to break open a close match.
The sophomore Rivera eked out a 9-7 victory over Taylor Gentry of Mt. Lake Terrace in the 112-lb. title bout. The match was tied at 4-all after two periods, but Rivera let Gentry go to start the third round, then scored a takedown and a near fall to account for the winning score.
Sanchez, a senior, had little trouble claiming a 12-4 win over Taylor Reijm of Burlington-Edison in the 119-lb. championship match. Sanchez scored near fall points in both the second and third periods.
Sunnyside's other individual champion, the senior Moreno, played a takedown and reversal game with Burlington-Edison's Jose delosRios in the 171-lb. title match. Moreno ended up prevailing, 8-3.
The Grizzlies had two other wrestlers advance to the finals, as well. Both settled for runner-up honors. They included freshman Joseph Villanueva and senior Peter Garza.
Villanueva, wrestling at 125 lbs., was pinned in the opening round of his championship bout by Burlington-Edison's George Yousling.
"Joseph got hit with a head and arm move," said Sunnyside Coach George Paulus. "He fought it off for quite a while, but with about five seconds left in the round, got pinned."
Garza, Sunnyside's 275-lb. entry, like Villaneuva posted a 2-1 record at the tourney. In the finals, Garza was decisioned 12-4 by Blaine's Corey Smith.
Sunnyside junior Carlos Garza-Padilla managed a 2-2 record at the invite to earn fourth place honors. Wrestling at 189 lbs., Garza-Padilla was defeated 8-2 by Mt. Lake Terrace's Ben Jerome in the consolation finals.
Bringing home a fifth place individual finish was Sunnyside junior Casey Smith (215 lbs.). Smith tallied a 2-2 record at the tourney, which included an injury default victory in the trophy round.
Three Grizzly wrestlers earned sixth place individual honors at the tourney with identical 1-3 records. They were Juan Salinas (135 lbs.), Sam Bardell (140 lbs.) and Lionel Candido (145 lbs.).
Salinas' one victory came against Brett Thompson of Mt. Vernon, a second round pin. In Salinas' three losses, he was ahead in points in all three matches, but all three times got caught in a cradle and was pinned.
Bardell, a freshman, won his one match on the day via injury default.
Candido's only win came against Zack Fortier of Burlington-Edison, an 8-5 decision.
The three other Sunnyside wrestlers who competed at Mt. Vernon included Jose Salinas (130 lbs.), Michael Graham (152 lbs.) and Ulysses Olivarez (160 lbs.). All three were 0-2 on the day.