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The Holtville High School wrestling team had nine wrestlers finish in the top-eight and finished third out of 40 teams at the Juan Enriquez Memorial Wrestling Tournament at John Glenn High School in Norwalk on Saturday, Jan. 8. | PHOTO COURTESY OF HOLTVILLE WRESTLING

WRESTLING: Vikings Take 3rd in Norwalk

Holtville Places Nine Grapplers at Enriquez Tournament

NORWALK — The Holtville High School wrestling team had nine grapplers place in the top-eight and walked away with a third-place team trophy at the Juan Enriquez Memorial Tournament here on Saturday, Jan. 8.

With 40 teams competing, Northview High School from Covina took first place and Milikan High from Long Beach took second.

“Overall I was very pleased with the way the guys wrestled,” said C.J. Johnston, Holtville’s head wrestling coach. “Kids from the Southern Section are scrappy and they will come after you for the full six minutes.”

Holtville was the only school from the San Diego Section competing at the event.

Leading the charge for the Vikings was the brother duo of Payton Iten and Seth Iten who both finished second at the event. Senior Payton Iten took second in the 147-pound division while sophomore Seth Iten was second in the 162-pound weight class.

“Payton had a really good tournament, beating two or three really tough kids,” Johnston said.

At 194 pounds, junior Daniel Ledesma brought home a third-place medal with junior Joshua Enriquez (140 pounds) and senior Alan Marquez (222 pounds) finishing fourth. Freshman heavyweight Smitty Hilfiker finished in fifth place in his first varsity tournament.

“Smitty got better each match. I was very happy with his performance,” Johnston said. “He went out there and beat the No. 1 seed and some coaches couldn’t believe when I said he was just a 14-year-old freshman.”

Freshman Dion Johnston took sixth place in the 128-pound division while Fernando Rivera (108 pounds) and Jaiden Robles (115 pounds) both finished in eighth place.

“We had some guys who didn’t look so good in our dual meet against Imperial then dropped down a weight and looked a lot better at the tournament,” Johnston said. “They looked a lot stronger.”

Holtville defeated Imperial 57-10 in an IVL dual meet on Wednesday, Jan. 5, the first dual meet for the Vikings in almost two years.

The Vikings are scheduled to travel to Brawley Union High for a 6 p.m. dual meet with the Wildcats on Wednesday, Jan. 12. They will then travel to Temecula on Friday, Jan. 14, and Saturday, Jan. 15, for the Battle for the Belts Tournament.

Holtville High School senior Payton Iten (left) and his sophomore brother Seth Iten show the singlets they won for taking second place at the Juan Enriquez Memorial Wrestling Tournament at John Glenn High School in Norwalk on Saturday, Jan. 8. | PHOTO COURTESY OF HOLTVILLE WRESTLING