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Braced by 10 finalists, Titans overpower conference field

Phillip Brents | Fri, Feb 12 2016 

The Eastlake High School wrestling team left little doubt as to the identity of the top team in the Metro Conference this season by roaring to the team title at last Saturday’s conference championship tournament at Mater Dei Catholic High School. The Titans, braced by 10 finalists, racked up a tournament-best 224.5 points to easily out-distance runner-up Otay Ranch with 149 points.

“I thought we wrestled really tough,” EHS head coach Troy Vierra explained. “Our kids were wrestling, for the most part, six minutes. I thought our kids wrestled really tough.”

The Titans, who defeated Mater Dei Catholic 66-9 on Feb. 4 to wrap up this year’s Mesa League dual meet championship, advanced 10 of their 14 wrestlers to the championship round in a show of force.

Five EHS mat men emerged with individual conference championships: Ben Martinez (115 pounds), Kevin Moyna (134 pounds), Carlos Vazquez (172 pounds), Tanner Waller (184 pounds) and Joshua Pultorak (197 pounds).

Five Titans secured runner-up place-finishes: Antonio Collazo (108 pounds), Michael Johnson (147 pounds), Armando Castro (154 pounds), Ricky Renteria (222 pounds) and Jake Suggett (287 pounds).

Martinez, who finished second at 108 pounds at last year’s tournament, scored two pins in as many matches to win this year’s 115 title. He pinned San Ysidro’s Juan Castro in 5:05 in the championship round to improve to 25-5 on the season.

Moyna (18-11) emerged as a first-time varsity conference champion by recording a 7-6 decision over Bonita Vista’s Ryan Calumpit (5-8).

Vazquez (24-11) recorded a 9-7 overtime decision over Hilltop’s Elvis Coronado to win his weight class. Vazquez advanced to the final with pins of 3:51 (quarterfinals) and 53 seconds (semifinals).

Waller (14-10) outlasted Sweetwater’s Aaron Porras by a 10-4 decision to also emerge as a first-time Metro varsity champion. Waller, a junior varsity champion last year at the same weight class, finished 2-0 on the day by adding a 40-second pin in the semifinals.

He lists resiliency and patience as his strong points.

“I feel more accomplished than I have all year,” Waller said after winning the varsity title. “It’s a small step to CIF, Masters and state — I’ll just take it as it goes.”

Pultorak (19-9) captured a tight 7-4 decision over Montgomery’s Chase Riegg to crown himself as a conference champion.

Eastlake will compete in Saturday’s San Diego Section Division I dual meet championship tournament at Mira Mesa High School. The Titans are seeded fourth in the eight-team field.

Following that, Eastlake will compete in the individual CIF championship tournament Feb. 20 at Otay Ranch High School. Vierra is optimistic about further success.

“I think we’re wrestling aggressively,” he said in regard to the upcoming divisional championship events. “Our guys are taking the match to the other person. We’re getting a lot of pins. The kids are watching each other and coaching each other. They’re doing all the things we’re preaching in practice.”