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SUNRISE WRESTLING: Gators storm to lead after first day

Much like the “Sesame Street” song, the 132-pound bracket at the Division I Sunrise Region wrestling tournament is not like the others. The reason?

It doesn’t have a competitor from Green Valley in the semifinals.

The host Gators put at least one wrestler through to the semifinals in 13 of the 14 weight classes and scored 75½ points Friday to lead after the first day of the tournament.

Las Vegas was second with 61 points, followed by Liberty (51½). Foothill and Rancho were tied for fourth with 42 points apiece.

The tournament continues Saturday at Green Valley with the championship round scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the Division I state tournament Feb. 20 at Primm.

“That’s always our ultimate goal, to be a complete team and to have everybody put themselves in an opportunity to get to the state tournament,” Green Valley coach Jon Ferry said. “Our kids did their job, all of them. We wanted to take them down, turn them, put them to their back, get in and get out and get ready for (Saturday). As a group, they all did what we asked them to do.”

The Gators advanced 13 scoring wrestlers and 15 in all to the semifinals.

Giullian Nakamatsu, the defending region champion at 152 pounds, won both of his matches by pin at 145 pounds for Green Valley. Teammate Adrian Ojeda, who won the region title at 145 last year, needed a minute, 47 seconds to win his only match at 152.

Jared Temple (170), Robert Razo (182) and Cade Van Orden (195) also reached the semifinals for the Gators, and each will go for their second straight region crown.

“I’m excited to see our kids compete. I think they’re ready to go,” Ferry said. “I think they got some of the butterflies out of their stomachs (Friday) and we’ll see their best wrestling (today).”

Las Vegas has nine wrestlers in the semfinals led by Antonio Saldate, the defending 106-pound state champion, and Robby Kaempfer, who is seeking his second straight region title at 285 pounds.

In addition, Nick Sablan, the region runner-up at 126 pounds a season ago, won both of his matches at 132 by decision for the Wildcats.

Saldate is part of a loaded 113-pound weight class and faces Green Valley’s Daniel Brathor in the semifinals. Liberty’s Adam Knopow, who won both of his matches by pin, is on the other side of the bracket.

Liberty was especially strong at the lighter weights and put seven wrestlers through to the semifinals. Kyle Dudder, who was third at the region tournament at 120 pounds last season, won his lone match by pin at 126 for the Patriots.

Foothill had five semifinalists, including 138-pounder Wyatt English, who needed only 49 seconds to win his lone match by pin. English was the state runner-up at 106 last season as a freshman.

Rancho also advanced five wrestlers to the semifinals. Alex Arnone won both of his matches by fall in less than a minute at 170 for the Rams.

Contact reporter David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ

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