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Prep Wrestling: 'Rabbits, Sultans stand out at Comly
Victor Valley finishes second; Sultana's Griego named upper weight Outstanding Wrestler
VICTORVILLE • So, just how does Sultana’s Corey Griego handle the pressure of being the wrestler others are gunning for?
“He’s a goofball, that’s how he handles it,” Sultans coach Rocky Humphrey said. “He tries to be a clown, and he’s a jokester. Most of our guys are like that anyway, but he really exemplifies that.”
Griego, who placed fifth at 152 pounds at last year’s CIF State Championships, doesn’t disagree.
“That’s how I’ve always been,” he said. “I’ve never been really serious except when I wrestle.”
Opponents are wishing Griego didn’t take wrestling so seriously at this point.
The junior has dominated on the mat this season. He placed fourth at the Walsh Ironman — considered the toughest prep tournament in the country — in early December and hasn’t lost since. He’s currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 170 pounds by thecalifornia
wrestler.com and 13th in the nation by intermatwrestle.com.
Griego handled the pressure well again on Saturday, pinning Victor Valley’s Blake Fifer — who is ranked seventh in the CIF-Southern Section and 18th in the state — in the third period of the 47th annual Dick Comly Invitational final for his fourth fall of the two-day tournament and earning the upper weight Outstanding Wrestler belt.
“He’s just focused on what he wants to do,” Humphrey said. “He’s not satisfied. He knows what the end goal is.”
Host Victor Valley finished second for the second year in a row. This time, Cimarron-Memorial (Nev.) edged the Jackrabbits for its ninth team title at the event and its first since 2005.
Victor Valley trailed by two points heading into finals and had a shot to overtake the Spartans, but was only able to win one of its three finals matches. The Jackrabbits had nine placers.
“The kids battled hard,” Victor Valley coach C.T. Campbell said. “It would be nice to win it; it might be better at the end of the year to win some things. Maybe that’s what we’re waiting for. I think this is what we need. We’re starting to wrestle well.”
Michael Lopez (152) won Victor Valley’s lone individual title. He beat Birmingham’s Frank Berduo 9-4 in the finals.
“(Winning the Comly) means more to me, because my freshman year I didn’t even make it to the second day and last year I didn’t get to wrestle in it because I had too many matches,” Lopez said. “That was my goal, to come in and win it.”
Jonathan Oliveira (160) reached the finals, but got caught in a headlock late in his match with Liberty’s Connor Watanabe to lose 8-6. Fifer’s loss to Griego was just his second loss of the season.
Griego wasn’t the only Sultan to win his weight division. Junior Trent Smith (126) beat Spring Valley’s Eduardo Penha 11-4 in the finals for a title.
“I think I got out there and wrestled on my feet. When I went out there and started attacking on my feet, I think it helped me open up more,” said Smith, who won a CIF-SS Individuals title last year.
The Sultans’ Dylan Bollinger (195) and Chris Mesa (106) also reached the finals to help Sultana come in fourth place. Matthew Williams (182), ranked fifth in the state, reached the semifinals, but defaulted that match due to taking the ACT Saturday morning. He came back to finish third.
Hesperia, Apple Valley and Serrano all finished just outside the top 10.
Lower Weight Outstanding Wrestler
Javier Jimenez, Porterville, 106
Upperweight Outstanding Wrestler
Corey Griego, Sultana, 170
1. Cimarron-Memorial (Nev.) 196; 2. Victor Valley 193; 3. Liberty 189; 4. Sultana 1521⁄2; 5. Arbor View 142; Other Local teams: 11. Hesperia 93; 12. Apple Valley 79; 13. Serrano 75; 25. Barstow 35; 35. Granite Hills 14.
106 — Jimenez (P) major dec. Mesa (Su) 12-0.
113 — Ramos (Ar. V) dec. Teran (P), 9-7.
120 — Sanchez (L) major dec. Tapia (SV) 12-4.
126 — T. Smith (Su) dec. Penha (SV) 11-4.
132 — Tevin (L) major dec. Saavedra (CM), 17-7.
138 — Thomas (CM) dec. Goya (Ar. V) 9-1.
145 — Meyers (YL) dec. Rodriguez (SG), 6-4.
152 — Lopez (V) dec. Berduo (Bir), 9-4.
160 — Watanabe (L) dec. Oliveira (V), 8-6.
170 — Griego (Su) pinned Fifer (V), 4:56.
182 — King (Ar. V) dec. Taylor (CM), 7-4.
195 — Siwiec (L) pinned Bollinger (Su), 4:48.
220 — Villalobos (Bir) dec. Dishari (SV), 8-2.
HWT — Eskam (Ca) dec. Sinyard (CM), 9-3.