The sixth annual “Battle for the Belt” wrestling tournament was held Jan. 18-19 at Temecula Valley High School and attracted wrestlers from 75 teams, including state- and nationally-ranked teams and wrestlers from as far away as Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Clovis took the team title with three champions and four finalists for a score of 228.5. Nationally-ranked (33) Bethlehem Catholic from Pennsylvania (226 points) took second, leading all teams with 10 placers. Poway had seven placers (five in the top three), earning them third place with 220.5 points.
Temecula Valley placed 13th (80); Chaparral was 17th (70); Temescal Canyon finished 21st out of 75 (21); and Elsinore tied for 33rd with 46.5 points.
Six Valley wrestlers placed, led by Chaparral’s Brad Christiansen (ranked #3 in the state by California Wrestler) in the 160-lb division with a fourth place finish. He lost 7-5 to Drew Smith of Reno, Nevada. Christian Root took seventh place in the 106-lb group and Josh Cortez placed fifth at 132 pounds; both are from Temecula Valley.
Temescal Canyon’s Daniel Gonzalez finished fifth at 220 pounds. Elsinore had two wrestlers place: Dustin Kirk was fifth at 120 pounds and Ruben Avila took eighth at 160 pounds.