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Agoura High Wrestler Dies After Match

TIMES PREP SPORTS EDITOR

Jason Rouimi, a 16-year-old wrestler from Agoura High, collapsed after winning a Southern Section divisional match at Rio Hondo College in Whittier Friday and died shortly thereafter.

Emergency personnel on the scene and at Greater El Monte Community Hospital tried for one hour to resuscitate Rouimi, who apparently died of cardiac arrest. An autopsy will be performed by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office next week.

“The whole thing was very sudden,” said Dennis Ritterbush, Agoura’s assistant wrestling coach. “After the match, Jason just flopped on his back. I thought he was just exhausted at first. But then I realized it was much more than that.”

An emergency medical technician at the meet immediately administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and stayed with Rouimi until paramedics arrived. Rouimi, who had collapsed at 3:55 p.m., was taken to Greater El Monte Community Hospital in South El Monte, where he was pronounced dead at 4:57 p.m.

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“He was not known to have any prior medical problems,” said Deputy Mary Landreth of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

Rouimi, a sophomore in the 125-pound weight class, was competing in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation’s Southern Section Division 4-A wrestling championships. He defeated Eric Reed of Irvine High, 6-0, in a match that lasted the entire three periods.

“Jason seemed fine to me,” said Reed, a sophomore. “He was very strong and did not have any problems during the match. I don’t know what happened afterward. I didn’t see anything.”

Most of those attending the meet were not aware that Rouimi died. The meet went on as scheduled.

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Daniel Rouimi, Jason’s twin brother, watched the match from the bleachers.

“I’m really in no condition to talk right now,” Daniel Rouimi said from the family’s home in Westlake Village late Friday night. “The family has no comment.”

Daniel Rouimi also is a wrestler and competes in the 103-pound weight class.

Ritterbush said Rouimi wrestled well against Reed and appeared to be strong for the six-minute match.

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Steve Smith, Agoura’s wrestling coach, accompanied Rouimi to the hospital.

Ritterbush said Rouimi did not have any problems losing weight to make 125 pounds. The assistant coach said Rouimi started the season at the 119-pound weight class but moved up to 125 because losing weight became too difficult.

Rouimi qualified for Friday’s meet by finishing third at the Marmonte League championship at Channel Islands High in Oxnard last weekend.

Times staff writer John Ortega contributed to this story.

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