Four kings, one crown

San Jose
– It’s called the Flying Duck, a tricky maneuver designed to win
a quick couple points. Arm-feint one way, hurl your body the other,
score a lightning takedown of the opponent – it’s a wrestling
veteran’s move.
San Jose – It’s called the Flying Duck, a tricky maneuver designed to win a quick couple points. Arm-feint one way, hurl your body the other, score a lightning takedown of the opponent – it’s a wrestling veteran’s move.

A freshman executed it to perfection at Saturday’s CCS Championships at Overfelt HS to clinch the overall team title for Gilroy (186.0 points).

Hunter Collins had already beaten Monta Vista’s Dan Montanez twice in 160-lb. title matches this season. The freshman found himself in yet another finals contest with the burly senior at Overfelt, and once again it was a close contest where one mistake would throw it either way.

After no points were scored in the first round, Collins managed an escape in the second to lead 1-0. In the third, he had the offensive position and Montanez pulled off an escape of his own to even the score.

That’s when the Flying Duck quacked. Montanez, taking a split-second breather after his match-tying move, was caught off-guard as Collins, sensing weakness, swooped in for the takedown. Comfortably up 3-1, he could afford to allow Montanez, a two-time state qualifier, a last-minute escape, pulling out the win on a 3-2 decision.

“We’ve actually trained that move in practice,” said Gilroy assistant coach Mike Koester said. “Hunter had the guts to try to execute it. It’s not a move you do every day.”

Five Mustangs placed in the top four at CCS and will travel to Bakersfield for this weekend’s State Championships. In addition to individual title-winners Collins, Nicolo Naranjo (103), Adin Dueñas (130) and Armando Gonzalez (135), 140-pounder Austin Gubrud had a fourth-place showing and heads to State.

Naranjo got things started in the finals for the Mustangs, pinning Fremont’s tiny Borislav Novachkov – twice Bulgarian national champion and last year a U.S. champ at just 90 lbs.

“Nico was taking it easy on the guy because Nico remembered when he was that small,” said Koester. “Then the guy threw him and that made Nico mad. He reversed him, put him on his back and pinned him.”

Dueñas toyed with his title-match foe, Joey Wilson of Half Moon Bay, before being awarded a technical fall. Scoring a ridiculous 27 points on the sophomore, Dueñas gave up 10 simply allowing his opponent to escape.

It was fitting that Gonzalez essentially clinched the team title for Gilroy with his win – Collins’ win prevented an unlikely scenario where a pin by the final wrestler for second-place Los Gatos would leave the two teams even on points. Gilroy’s best and most consistent wrestler this season is ranked No. 2 in the state going into Bakersfield.

“You had to feel bad for Los Gatos,” said Koester of the team that held first place after the first day of competition. “They actually had sweatshirts made up that said ‘CCS 2005.’

“I hope they got a good deal on those sweatshirts and they can get their money back.”

Gilroy’s team title was its third in as many years.

“It feels great the the champs,” said Dueñas.

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