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The Altus High School wrestling team, so far, hasn’t taken much time off for Christmas break. In an effort to stay several steps ahead of the competition, the Bulldogs ventured far away from home last week to compete against some of the nation’s best wrestlers.
The location was Las Vegas, and the event was the 2018 Las Vegas Holiday Classic. It was a tough two days of competition, and although the Bulldogs only had three placers in the tournament, the experience gained will serve the wrestlers well as they begin preparing for February’s regional and state tournaments.
Altus’ best performance in the tournament was from 172-pound wrestler Noah Briones who wrestled his way to the championship match before falling to Matthew Stevenson from Liberty High School of Peoria, Ariz. via decision, 10-6.
Before that, Briones had taken down five other opponents to work his way up the bracket, scoring pins on every opponent but Stevenson.
The only other Bulldogs to place in Las Vegas were Kobi Gomez and Brady Marple. Gomez finished fifth in the 140-pound weight division while Marple finished eighth in the 184-pound division.
In the first three rounds, Gomez had little trouble working circles around his opponents. He took down Rancho High School’s Wyatt Nordwall via pinfall at 1:15 before earning a major decision, 10-1, victory over Las Vegas’ Daniel Law and a pinfall victory over Cajon High School’s Michael Delgado.
In the quarterfinal round, Gomez escaped Slam Academy’s Gabriel Ojeda with a narrow, 3-2, decision to move on to a semifinals battle with Liberty High School’s Kenny Marzola. Marzolo earned a, 5-4, decision over Gomez to knock Gomez into the consolation bracket where he then fell to Cimarron Memorial High School’s Nathaniel Rodriguez by a, 3-2, decision.
In the fifth-place match, Gomez won via forfeit after Spring Valley’s Andres Garcia withdrew from the match.
Marple’s eighth-place finish came after he ripped through the consolation bracket following a major decision defeat in the second round of the championship. Marple defeated four straight opponents before falling to Cimarron Memorial’s Kevin Love by a, 7-2, decision.
Following that match, Curtis High School’s Jacob Kesling was awarded a win after Marple injured his shoulder and was forced to withdraw.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Jan. 3 when they hit the road for a dual with Geary. Following the dual, the Bulldogs will remain in Geary for the Geary Invitational on Jan. 4-5.
Final match results were as follows:
108 pounds — Lane Snapp (3-2), did not place;
Consolation round 4 — Loheao Kaahanui (Slam Academy) won by, 9-0, major decision over Snapp.
128 pounds — Jose Centeno (3-2), did not place
Quarterfinals — Triston Curtis (Shadow Ridge) over Centeno by forfeit.
134 pounds — Joseph Buxton (4-2), did not place
Consolation round 5 — Parker Thammavongsa (Slam Academy) won by, 9-1, major decision over Buxton.
140 pounds — Gomez (5-2), 5th-place
5th-place match — Gomez over Garcia (Spring Valley) by forfeit.
147 pounds — Chase Epperson (4-2), did not place
Consolation round 5 — Alex Ruffentine (Williams Field) won by, 3-0, decision over Epperson.
154 pounds — Dawson Loving (3-2), did not place
Consolation round 4 — Joel Hemintakoon (Shadow Ridge) won by fall (4:11) over Loving.
162 pounds — Aydan Lesley (4-2), did not place
Consolation round 5 — Skyler Hillberg (Granite Hills) won by, 5-1, decision over Lesley.
172 pounds — Noah Briones (5-1), 2nd-place
1st-place match — Stevenson (Liberty) won by, 10-6, decision over Briones.
184 pounds — Brady Marple (6-3), 8th-place
7th-place match — Kesling (Curtis) over Marple by injury forfeit.
Heavyweight — Elias Soliz (5-2), did not place
Consolation round 6 — Ivan Parra (Mojave) won by fall (0:35) over Soliz.