Sports: Wrestling to win at the sectionals
RAF ALCONBURY — Menwith Hill senior Jesse Best didn’t let a cut nose get in the way of winning the 145-pound weight class championship at the Northern Sectionals wrestling tournament on Saturday.
The 17-year-old pinned Roberto Busquier from SHAPE (Belgium) in 3 minutes and 24 seconds to end the regular season with an 11-2 record before a crowd at the Alconbury High School gym.
This weekend, Best and at least nine other wrestlers from American high schools in the United Kingdom will compete in the Europeans tournament at Wiesbaden, Germany.
Eight schools, including all five U.K. schools, met in the Northern Sectionals, one of four sectionals held on Saturday. The top two wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes automatically advanced to Europeans, while third- and fourth-place finishers would be evaluated for the remaining wild-card spots this week.
U.K. schools have 17 wrestlers up for wild card spots.
Best was one of the lucky ones to know right away that he’d be heading to his fourth Europeans tourney.
“I’m really excited. This is my last year, so I hope to do real well and make a good effort,” said Best, who finished fifth at last year’s Europeans.
One wrestler standing in his way of the 145-pound title is Jon Peden of Ramstein (Germany).
Ramstein’s coach Jeff Pellaton has said that Peden was ranked No. 2 nationally at 130 pounds in 2005.
“He is unbelievable,” Best said.
This is the first time Lakenheath’s Derek Franco will be competing at Europeans. Franco, a freshman, squeezed past Josh Royer from AF NORTH (Netherlands) by a decision of 6-5 to win the 112-pound championship.
“It was tough. He was working hard, but I wanted it more,” an exhausted Franco said following the championship match.
The 15-year-old finished the regular season with an impressive 19-3 record but wasn’t too optimistic about Europeans.
“I think I’ll do OK. There’s a lot of other good competition,” he said.
Chris Santos became the second sectional winner for Lakenheath after he pinned AF NORTH’s Darius Griffin in just 1 minute and 40 seconds to win the 285-pound championship.
London Central, which is closing, had two sectional champions, Hugh Borchers at 125 pounds and Ivan Linatoc at 215 pounds, for its last wrestling season.
“It’s been tough for the kids, since there’s no next year,” said London Central coach Fredo Ontiveros.
The thing that Ontiveros will miss most is the camaraderie he had with the other U.K. coaches, he said. For the past four years, Ontiveros coached wrestling, football, cross country and soccer for the school. He’s still awaiting word on where he’ll be next school year.
“It’s been a nice ride,” he said. “It’s an end of an era for our school.”
Northern SectionalsAt RAF Alconbury
Lakenheath, Alconbury, London Central, Menwith Hill, American School of London, SHAPE (Belgium), AF NORTH (Netherlands) and Brussels (Belgium) competed. Top two finishers in each weight class will advance to this weekend’s Europeans, while third and fourth place finishers will be wild card considerations.
103-pound weight class
1. JJ Donohue (AF NORTH)
2. Jeremy Sessions (Alconbury)
3. Nick Geronimo (Alconbury)
4. Shola Bauer (London Central)
112-pound weight class
1. Derek Franco (Lakenheath)
2. Josh Royer (AF NORTH)
3. Jordan Castillo (Lakenheath)
4. Joe Andersen (Alconbury)
119-pound weight class
1. David Hebing (Brussels)
2. Josh Dennis (London Central)
3. John Cunningham (Alconbury)
4. Austin Hill (Alconbury)
125-pound weight class
1. Hugh Borchers (London Central)
2. Damon Dennis (London Central)
3. Nathan Lorei (Brussels)
130-pound weight class
1. Kris Higgins (AF NORTH)
2. Aaron Ellis (Brussels)
3. Damon Hoffman (Lakenheath)
4. Joey Buckley (Brussels)
135-pound weight class
1. Konner Higgins (AF NORTH)
2. Nate Buckley (Brussels)
3. Charley Weeks (SHAPE)
4. Dylan Tomjack (London Central)
140-pound weight class
1. Emmanuel Ruiz (AF NORTH)
2. Hunter Baudiondajoux (Brussels)
3. Conner Kelly (Lakenheath)
4. Chris Brew (Menwith Hill)
145-pound weight class
1. Jesse Best (Menwith Hill)
2. Roberto Busquier (SHAPE)
3. Lance Beissner (Lakenheath)
152-pound weight class
1. Cesar Saenz (SHAPE)
2. Steven Herway (Brussels)
3. Brad Yates (Alconbury)
4. Cameron Gill (London Central)
160-pound weight class
1. John Kilroy (Brussels)
2. A’Amir Jagtiani (ASL)
3. Adam Tate (London Central)
4. Sean Mumane (SHAPE)
171-pound weight class
1. Brock Blankenship (AF NORTH)
2. Luis Trujillo (Alconbury)
3. Kolton McMahon (ASL)
4. Ignacio Villanueva (SHAPE)
189-pound weight class
1. Sascha Miller (AF NORTH)
2. Nick Letsios (SHAPE)
3. Doug Bagnall (Alconbury)
215-pound weight class
1. Ivan Linatoc (London Central)
2. Johnny Fitzgerald (SHAPE)
3. Zachary Cooney (AF NORTH)
285-pound weight class
1. Chris Santos (Lakenheath)
2. Darius Griffin (AF NORTH)
3. Thomas Rands (ASL)