BY ALFREDO GUZMAN
The 55th Annual Holtville Rotary Invitational Wrestling Tournament was held Jan. 26-27 at the John Kirchenbauer Athletic Complex on the Holtville High School campus. 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.
“We had 366 participants from 41 teams. (Holtville) had two placers: Michael Toten placed fourth at heavyweight and Edward Rubin placed sixth at 220,” said C.J. Johnston,Holtville High athletic director and wrestling coach. As a team, Holtville placed 16th inpoints. Johnston lauded the community’s efforts in coming together once again to make the event happen, with city residents even hosting visiting wrestlers in their homes during the tournament.
“I’d like to thank the HHS Students, parents and community of Holtville. In addition, a special thank you to the Holtville Rotary Club for sponsoring the tournament, as well the Holtville Athletic Club, Caliber Screen Printing and Crystal Geyser for their contributions. Also, the HHS and Brawley Mat Maids and HHS Cheerleaders for running the tables both days.”
According to Johnston, the top four teams were in order of finish Rancho Bernardo high with 300.5 points, Kofa high, 170, San Marcos high, 163.5, and Brawley Union High School, 157. Each placing team received a plaque. Joe Terribilini received the John Kirchenbauer coaches award for having the winning team. The outstanding lowerweight wrestler was Jaden Abas of Rancho Bernardo and the outstanding upper weight was Dane Martinez of Brawley.
The Benji Rivas Best Takedown Award in the finals went to Abas who is ranked number one in the state and third in the nation. “This tournament was our biggest one to date. Most weights(were) featured, two of the top four wrestlers in our sections, as well as a number of state-ranked wrestlers,” Johnston said. “I felt the competition was extremely high, especially on day two. Congratulations to all the wrestlers that placed and thank you to all the teams that attended.”