Newport Harbor takes District Championships for second straight year

A busy slate of wrestling was headlined by the Five Counties Tournament last week.

Fountain Valley High's Karson Ayres (145s) and Merrick O'Donnell (182s) made the host school proud, placing fourth and fifth, respectively.

Elsewhere, local schools were carrying out a rather intimate ritual of their own last Friday at Estancia High.

For the second year in a row, the District Championships went to Newport Harbor.

The Sailors produced five weight-class champions. At the lower weights, Michael Craft (120s), Bryan Aguilera (126s), and Diego Naranjo (132s) went undefeated.

DJ Van Oostendorp (182s) and Connor Spence (220s) also accomplished the feat.

"It's always nice to win the tournament," Sailors Coach Dominic Bulone said. "It's not necessarily our goal for the season, but we're happy to do it. We're obviously looking toward the playoffs."

In the four-team tournament, Newport Harbor went 3-0 in the dual meets. Costa Mesa was 2-1, Corona del Mar was 1-2, and Estancia went 0-3.

CdM turned out a number of weight champions as well. Jewlian Avila had a decision and a pin to win the 160s.

At 170 pounds, Min Hwan Lee had only one opponent, which he pinned. The same applied to Zavier McGuire, who won the 195s by pinning Newport Harbor's Austin Osumi.

Jacob Petersen had the most work to do. He pinned Costa Mesa's Tony Leal and Newport's Andrew Altamirano, earning a decision in his other bout.

"That was really exciting that we had four champions," Sea Kings Coach Mark Alex said. "We weren't going to win it because we had too many forfeits."

"I saw great improvement from the team. They wrestled harder again. This whole process is about us trying to peak for league finals."

The postseason is fast approaching. Corona del Mar will compete in the Pacific Coast League Finals on Jan. 28 at Irvine High.

The Sunset League Finals will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at Edison High. Before that occurs, Newport Harbor has a dual meet against Marina this coming Wednesday.

That match will offer one more potential showdown. Xander Moreno, a strong 145-pounder, returned from his lower body injury to score a pin in the Sailors' dual meet against Huntington Beach on Tuesday. Newport won the team battle, 54-21.

Marina could have John McCoy wrestle above his weight in an effort to have him see better competition before the playoffs. The Vikings junior medaled in the 138s at Five Counties.

"That would be great if that works out," Bulone said of the two possibly matching up. "I'm pretty sure [McCoy is] going to be ending up at the lower weight classes, but maybe not that evening. It would be a good match."

The Orange Coast League Finals will be contested on Feb. 7 at Estancia High.

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