South valley shines at Bert Mar Tournament

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Gilroy's Daniel Vascara looks to get position on Sobrato's Felipe Duenas during their semifinal match in the 120-pound class at the Bert Mar Tournament.

Adam Mena was winning big in his championship 170-pound match, but was doing all he could to hang on.
Through two periods, he dominated Gilroy’s Angel Carbajal, leading 10-1 going to the final round against his crosstown rival.
That’s when Carbajal found a second wind and took over the bout.
Carbajal forced Mena to the mat, straddled him the whole way, got very physical and did all he could to flip the Christopher wrestler on his back.
But Mena wouldn’t budge. He survived the brutal onslaught to hang on for a 10-2 victory and deny the Mustang a chance to steal the match.
After the match, Mena said his back hurt and he was visibly exhausted, but he said it felt good to come away with a win.
“I knew I was so far ahead, that if I got flipped there I would be giving up the match,” Mena said. “I kept thinking to myself even with all that pain I was so  far ahead, I had worked so hard, to give up that lead.”
It was fitting that there was a at least one championship bout between kids from the host city of the annual Bert Mar Wrestling Tournament.
“That just goes to show how tough this town is,” said Christopher coach Alecxis Lara. “Both high schools I think are improving. Gilroy is at a real elite level and we’re wanting to close the gap. We’re going to see a lot more Gilroy-Christopher finals in tournaments to come.”
Gilroy took home a championship at 145 pounds, three second place finishes (126, 160 and 170 pounds) and   two third place finishes (106 and 126 pounds).
In all, the Mustangs had seven medalists and took second as a team behind Cupertino.
Meanwhile, Christopher earned eight medals, including Mena’s championship, a second place finish (220 pounds) and a third place (182 pounds). The Cougars took sixth overall in team score.
Overall, 30 schools competed, including from Live Oak and Sobrato.
Lara said he was beyond happy with how the day went.
“Overall I am very happy with the quality of the tournament, the smoothness of it, the quality of the referees,” Lara said.
Gilroy may have had a chance to overtake Cupertino for the team win were it not for one of the oddest finishes of the day.
In their semifinal bout, Gilroy’s Noah Castro was dominating Cupertino’s Akhil Vega in the 106-pound class.
Castro was leading 10-1 in the third period and had complete control of the match. He was working Vega for a pin when he found himself on the mat under Vega as he had his opponent’s arms locked in his.
The position and subsequent maneuvering put Castro’s shoulders on the mat and with Vega in an unlikely dominate position, won the pinfall.
Vega went on to win by decision over his Piedmont Hills opponent and Castro won by major decision over his opponent from Saratoga.
Had Castro earned the pin against Vega and subsequently won by pinfall in the championship bout, Gilroy may have won.
Despite being visibly disappointed after the match, Castro and the Mustangs still put on a show at Bert Mar.
The Villarrael brothers at 145 and 160 put on a show during the early rounds of the tournament.
Both Nathan and Juan had quick pins, both coming within 45 seconds into their matches.
Nate said it was great to be wrestling in his home town where his family and friends could watch and not have to deal with the riggers of travel.
“Not having to worry about getting up at 4 in the morning and driving two hours to Clovis it was great,” Nate said.
Nate took down his first wrestler within 45 seconds to open the tournament.
Juan in his quarter final bout had his opponent from Live Oak locked up for a few seconds when he finally took his shot and landed a pin.
All in the span of less than 30 seconds.
Juan ended on a hard-luck note when he lost after three overtime periods thanks to a third caution that cost him a point.
He and Nick Kolesov from Monta Vista were tied 1-1 after three periods of wrestling.
Juan actually held a 1-0 lead after two thanks to an escape, but gave the point back on a late escape from Kolesov.
After neither scored in sudden death overtime, they went to two 30-second periods where both sides scored escapes.
But in the third round, Juan was cautioned for the third time, yielded a point and couldn’t score a takedown to steal the win.
Meanwhile, Nate had little trouble against Chance Benadum from Dos Palos.
He led 4-1 after the first thanks to a pair of take downs and went up 6-1 after the second on a reversal.
But before the match, Nate said he was preparing himself mentally and physically for a tough battle in the finals, not wanting to take anything for granted.
Then in the third, both wrestlers scored reversals to put Nate up 8-3 when he scored a late reversal to put the match away and take home the championship.
At the 126 pound class, Zeferinio Oshiro held a 3-2 lead midway through the second period of his championship match, scoring an escape after giving up a reversal.
But Oshiro found himself taken down and suffering a near fall at the end of the period to go down 7-3.
In the third, he did get within two thanks to a reversal late in the frame, but ran out of time.
He was forced to cut his opponent to give him a chance at a couple of two-point take downs to possibly force overtime, but couldn’t score again for an 8-5 loss to take second.
Also for Gilroy, Daniel Vascara took home third after a 7-1 win over Amman Klar from Monte Vista in the 120 division.
Rounding out the medal finishers was Robert Zepeda at 170, taking sixth.
For Christopher, Anthony Gomez took second at 220 pounds after he was forced to withdraw before the start of the championship because of injury.
Gomez had a hard-fought semifinal bout that came down to the wire with the Cougar narrowly eking out a win late. Rounding out the day was Anthony Lopez at 182 who took third with a pin, Keoni Calimpong (126), Mario Anchando (132) and Collins Okoronokwo (Heavyweight) took fifth, Ray Tapia (195) took sixth and Dylan Han (106) took eighth.

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