54th Annual Holtville Rotary Invitational Wrestling Tournament
By Alfredo Guzman
The 54th Annual Holtville Rotary Invitational Wrestling Tournament ran from Friday January 27th to Saturday January 28th. The event took place on the Holtville High School campus within the John Kirchenbauer Athletic Complex (HHS Gym).
Holtville Rotary, which helps raise funds for local youth programs sponsored the event, along with numerous local entities and individuals who volunteered their time and resources to help make this event happen. The Holtville Rotary Invitational Wrestling Tournament is the only Varsity Wrestling Tournament in the Imperial Valley.
According to Holtville High
School Athletic Director and Tournament Director CJ
Johnston, “Thirty three High School wrestling teams with a total of three hundred and fifty five wrestlers competed in this year’s tournament.” He added ” We’re grateful for all the volunteers, The Holtville Rotary, the hundreds of community members who generously donated their time and resources, who housed out of town wrestling teams. Thanks to the wrestling programs from around the Imperial Valley who brought mats and more volunteers, Holtville High School students, especially HHS Cheer and Mat Maids. There’s so many, I don’t want to leave anyone out.”
Mindy Toth, a wrestling tournament volunteer, housed the East Wrestling Team. She said, “I got into wrestling because of my son Brian who wrestles (and who attends HHS). This is my first year hosting a team. We needed to house 217 kids total. I was given the East Lake Team, with nine kids. They were very respectful and polite. I was a bit overwhelmed taking in that many kids but I felt if they came as a team they should stay together as a team. If anybody is considering being a houser, I would recommend it. Sign me up next year!”
Inside the Gym were packed stands and controlled chaos. School color wrestling singlets waiting their turn to compete while coaches yelled from the sidelines and the crowd cheered. Wrestlers, volunteers and spectators finding their way across the Gym floor and through the stands, deciding where to look and trying to find where they need to be. The official blows his whistle as an opponent is pinned and raises the hand of the victor. This was scene set by the Holtville Rotary Invitational Wrestling Tournament.