By GERARDO RECINOS
Six Alhambra wrestlers qualified for the chance to represent their school in the North Coast Section Wrestling tournament at James Logan High School starting on Friday, Feb. 26, and going through the weekend.
The best of the best from the entire section converged in Union City, and cars packed the neighborhood surrounding the large school, creating a mass of chaos when students went to lunch.Alhambra’s six wrestlers were Nate Winslow, Fabian Garcia, Jacob Smith, Paul Bromley, Joey Miller and Brandon West.
In the 132-pound weight class, Nate Winslow went 3-2 in his five matches – a seemingly solid record for someone who didn’t end up as a top finisher.
Unfortunately, Winslow lost his opening match against Will Dilling from Eureka.
Winslow rebounded by winning three straight, starting with a victory over Rezin Harris of Tamalpais-Mill Valley. He then went on to beat Elijah Blake of Mt. Diablo Concord, and Anatoly Nazarov from Diablo Foothill Athletic League rival Dougherty Valley, for his third win in a row.
He was knocked out of the consolation bracket by Lawrence Guo of San Leandro. Guo himself would be knocked out in the next round by eighth place finisher Terry Watts of Granada-Livermore.
Fabian Garcia wrestled in the 138-pound weight class, but his day wasn’t as successful as Winslow’s. Garcia was knocked out of the championship bracket in his first match, where he was drawn Casey Cox of San Ramon Valley.
Garcia was then drawn against Chris Fulton of Acalanes in the consolation bracket, where he didn’t fare much better against the DFAL rival.
Jacob Smith, in the 145-pound division, had to grind out a win in his first match of the day, but was able to beat Emiliano Alvarez of Deer Valley-Antioch.
Smith scored two take downs in the opening round to take an early lead, but Alvarez was able to score crucial points on a slick reversal.
In the second round, the two grapplers were unable to get away from one another. Smith couldn’t secure an escape and score points, but in the third round, after nearly getting reversed, Smith pinned Alvarez.
His win over the Deer Valley wrestler was the only one Smith could muster. The Bulldog junior drew the short stick in the brackets. After his win over Alvarez, he was set to do battle with Peyton Omania of De La Salle-Concord. The sophomore from Concord went on to win the division and will represent his school at the state tournament.
In the consolation bracket Smith drew Skyler McKnight of Hoopa High School. McKnight beat Smith on the way to a sixth place finish of his own.
Paul Bromley wrestled in the 195-pound weight class, and made easy work of his first opponent on Friday afternoon. Bromley scored points quickly and often in the first round against his opponent from Berkeley High School. Bromley pinned his opponent with only 15 seconds left on the clock in the first round for a strong start to his day.
Bromley was dumped from the championship bracket by Karim Shakur of Tamalpais-Mill Valley, who would end up finishing in fifth place in the tournament.
His next opponent was Darian Brooks of Hercules, who Bromley beat to advance in the bracket. Bromley’s run was cut short by Christian Cruz of Pittsburg who would finish eighth.
Joey Miller, the 220-pound DFAL champion was shocked in the first round when he was defeated by Kameron Chase of Casa Grande-Petaluma.
Miller started the match strong with a quick take down, but Chase recovered by scoring a reversal in the second round to even it up going into the final round.
Chase and Miller battled for two minutes, without either wrestler looking more dominant than the other. But it was Chase and not Miller who would make a move to secure their place in the next round. Chase took Miller down and earned two points for a near fall.
Miller scored points for an escape with three seconds, but he couldn’t do enough to earn the win. Chase would go on to finish eighth overall.
In the consolation bracket Miller would win twice before being beaten by Moise Flores of Antioch. Flores was beaten following his bout with Miller by Oscar Esqueda of Antioch.
On the way, he beat Miller’s opening round opponent, Chase.
In the 285-pound bracket, Brandon West was beaten by his opening round opponent, and Wade Willit of De La Salle-Concord, who would go on to finish in seventh place overall.
Alhambra’s 10 wins over the weekend did enough to put them in 41st place out of 68. They shared the distinction with El Molino-Forestville and Middletown High School.