FINLEY - To say the Sunnyside Lil' Grapplers had a successful 2006 debut would be an understatement.
Of the 50 "mighty mite" wrestlers the Sunnyside athletic club had at the season opening invite in Finley last Saturday, 26 of them earned "top three" showings. And of those slightly more than two dozen youngsters, seven of them brought home individual championships.
"The kids wrestled very well," said Lil' Grapplers Coach Daniel Guillen.
The Sunnyside wrestling club-established for youngsters ages 5 to 14-was one of nine youth organizations represented at the tournament in Finley. Team scoring wasn't kept, but Guillen said the Sunnyside club fared better than most.
Last Saturday's action was staged at Riverview High School. The second tournament of the season will be held this coming Saturday in Connell. Guillen said he anticipates taking 50 to 55 wrestlers to the March 11 competition.
Sunnyside's seven individual titlists at the Finley tourney included 7/8-year-old division wrestlers Isaac Velasquez and Isaac Palomino; 9/10-year-old division grapplers Angel Ochoa, Noe Palomino and Fidel Medina; and 11/12-year-old division competitors Ryan Hernandez and Adam Peters.
The weight divisions in which the Sunnyside wrestlers competed were not immediately available.
Second place finishers for the Sunnyside Lil' Grapplers included (5/6-year-olds) Izaiah Gonzalez; (7/8-year-olds) Zavien Sustaita; (9/10-year-olds) Jesse Barajas, Kayla Gonzalez, Angel Magana and Orlando Medina; (11/12-year-olds) Eric Lee Amaro, Devan Amaro, Frankie Ochoa and Marcos Yanez.
The Sunnyside wrestlers earning third place finishes at Finley included (5/6-year-olds) Jose Campos and Bailey Febus; (7/8-year-olds) Frankie Gomez and Jacob Mendoza; (9/10-year-olds) Ethan Kantman; (11/12-year-olds) Josh Dalrymple, Marcel Saenz, David Vidales and Nathan Gonzalez.