Duenas' Lopez puts on a show at Rumble
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 1, 2013
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – James Alexander could only shake his head in wonder at the marvel that was his undoing on Friday as the 6th Rumble on the Rock Wrestling Tournament began at Kubasaki High School.
Micah Lopez of Father Duenas Memorial uncorked a rare five-point throw to terminate the second period and cap a superior decision over Alexander in the 158-pound bout of their dual meet. Alexander and Kadena won the meet 48-12, but it was Lopez upon whom all discussion was riveted afterward.
“He’s amazing,” said Alexander, who lost for just the second time this season but was dominated for the first time. “Everybody meets their bogeyman.”
Lopez, a senior Far East tournament runner-up who wrestles for Guam’s junior national team, won the first period 6-0, then midway through the second grabbed and lifted Alexander in a side suplex, thundering him to the mat and turning heads throughout the gym.
Referee Ariel Morano indicated a five-point throw; under international freestyle rules, a period ends automatically when one combatant scores two three-pointers or one five-pointer.
“That kid can wrestle,” said reigning Far East 215-pound gold medalist Fred Suniga of Kubasaki.
“Pretty amazing,” Dragons assistant coach Justin Cook said.
“Beautiful,” Kubasaki head coach Ron Geist said of the throw.
Sadly, Lopez won’t be able to improve on his Far East tournament finish of a year ago. Other than Guam High, no island schools have been invited to Far East. Tournament organizers said in discussion with DODDS Pacific’s area office, it was determined that they cap the tournament at 15 teams this year.
The reason: Humphreys American School will come aboard next year, giving the tournament 13 DODDS teams and 16 total, including St. Mary’s International, Christian Academy Japan and American School In Japan of Tokyo.
Tournament director Tom Bell said rather than wait until next year to withhold invitation to Guam teams and others, it was best to do it now.
“He was really hoping to go to Far East,” said Lopez’s coach, Terry Debold. “He’s a career wrestler.”
The five-point throw was simply a matter of opportunity, Debold said. “The opportunity was there. Every now and then, you have that opportunity. The other kid was aggressive and that’s what created the opportunity. Credit the other kid for being aggressive. That was gorgeous.”
Kadena won its three dual meets on the tournament’s first day, with Kubasaki next at 2-1. They, the Friars and the Okinawa combined JV Prime Time team engage in individual freestyle action on Saturday.
On the hardwood in Japan, Zama American’s boys ran their winning streak to 11 games, but they needed a last-second miracle in the form of Andre Encarnacion’s buzzer-beating shot to edge host Matthew C. Perry 62-61.
Robert D. Edgren’s boys team staged a surprise of its own, stunning Nile C. Kinnick 50-46 on the Red Devils’ home court, behind Quan White’s 19 points. The Red Devils thrashed the Eagles 70-47 in pool play on Jan. 3 in the New Year Classic at Yokota.
Nicolas Duenas of Guam's Father Duenas Memorial gets the advantage on JV Prime Time's Joe Patterson of Kubasaki High School in the 101-pound bout during Friday's dual-meet portion of the 6th Rumble on the Rock Wrestling Tournament at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Duenas pinned Patterson in 2:55 and the Friars won the dual meet 36-22.
ADAM FONDREN/SPECIAL TO STARS AND STRIPES