Dennis Piramo began to talk about some of the ambitious goals that he had for the Fountain Valley High wrestling team before the season started.
Piramo, who co-coaches the Barons with Brad Woodbury, thought it was reasonable to think that Fountain Valley could experience extensive team success, possibly even a CIF Southern Section Masters Meet title.
That will be the next goal for Fountain Valley after the Barons successfully defended their title in the Northern Division individual wrestling championships on Saturday at Marina High.
Fountain Valley beat Simi Valley Royal 218.5-189 to win the team championship, with five wrestlers winning individual CIF titles along the way.
Sean Solis (113 pounds), Mikey Folch (120), TJ McDonnell (138), Luis Ramirez (145) and Max Wilner (160) were the champions of their weight classes.
Wilner, a junior, earned his third section crown. The Arizona State commit scored a 15-5 major decision over Valencia’s Trent Munoz.
The Barons had already rallied from a 21-point deficit against Long Beach Millikan to win the Division 3 championship in the CIF Duals this postseason, and Wilner said he was proud to see his teammates dig in again.
He credited Ramirez, his sparring partner, for putting in the work to win his first CIF title.
“If I do bad, it looks bad on him,” Wilner said. “If he does bad, it kind of looks bad on me. I feel like he finally believed in himself, like he knew, ‘All right, I can win this. I’m supposed to win this.’
“I feel like that goes for everyone on the team. If they believe in themselves, if they trust that they are going to win and their work is going to pay off, then they go out there and win.”
Fountain Valley had six semifinalists, and all of them won. That group included Zach Parker, who was eventually pinned in the third period of the 132-pound final against Perris Citrus Hill’s Gabriel Schumm.
“For us at Fountain Valley, it’s unprecedented,” Piramo said. “We’ve never had six in the semifinals and then go six for six, and then five for six in the finals. Everyone was fighting for everything.
“I had a friend that came out here and watched this, and he said, ‘Your guys are scrappy.’ That means a lot because they fight for six minutes, or overtime, if they have to.
“They want to win for each other. These guys are competitive. They don’t want to be the one losing or the one [costing us] the title, so it’s now a standard, and hopefully we keep running with it.”
Solis, a sophomore, won his second CIF crown. It was the first of the careers of Ramirez, a junior, as well as Folch and McDonnell, who are both freshmen.
When the Barons won the Northern Division last season, Ramirez was the only one of four finalists not to go on to win his championship match. It motivated him to work harder.
“I was getting gassed a lot, and my coaches did talk about it,” Ramirez said. “They said, ‘We need to step it up. The season is right around the corner, and you keep getting gassed like that. You’re not going to be able to win it.’
“I kind of took it to heart, so I started working harder from there.”
McDonnell may have had the most exciting final, securing a reversal with four seconds to go to earn a 6-4 decision over Citrus Hill’s David Villa.
“It was rough,” McDonnell said. “I had previously injured my rib, and I had to fight against him with a knee in my ribs, and it was painful. I was winning previously before that ended up happening, and that tied up the match. I was tired in the third period, and I knew that I wanted to do everything that I could not to wrestle in overtime.
“We needed the team points, too, to win the tournament, so I just had to fight those last few seconds to get that takedown.”
Fountain Valley also had Matthew Fee (fourth, 220) move on to the Masters Meet, which will be held at Sonora High on Feb. 21-22.
Corona del Mar’s Emilio Franco (second, 220) and Marina’s Mike McCoy (third, 126) also advanced.
CIF Southern Section Northern Division individual wrestling championships
At Marina High
1. Fountain Valley 218.5; 2. Royal 189; 3. Roosevelt 186; 4. Centennial 143; 5. Valencia 125; 6. Riverside King 122.5; 7. Citrus Hill 116; 8. Beverly Hill 113.5; 9. Colton 92.5; 10. Mira Costa 92.5. Others: 18. Corona del Mar 51; 19. Marina 47.5; 26. Huntington Beach 35; 29. Newport Harbor 27; 30. Edison 26
106 – Allen Hendricks (Centennial) dec. Adrian Ledezma (Roosevelt), 3-0.
113 – Sean Solis (Fountain Valley) tech. fall Conor Uyekawa (Los Alamitos), 15-0.
120 – Mikey Folch (Fountain Valley) dec. Tamer Shalabi (Bloomington), 7-3.
126 – Phillip Saucedo (Riverside King) pins Aidan Hansen (Royal), 1:58.
132 – Gabriel Schumm (Citrus Hill) pins Zach Parker (Fountain Valley), 4:29.
138 – TJ McDonnell (Fountain Valley) dec. David Villa (Citrus Hill), 6-4.
145 – Luis Ramirez (Fountain Valley) dec. William Fulgentes (Royal), 6-0.
152 – Isaiah Vasquez (Roosevelt) dec. Greg Sevaston (Mira Costa), 15-11.
160 – Max Wilner (Fountain Valley) maj. Trent Munoz (Valencia), 15-5.
170 – Braden Smelser (Valencia) pins Armando Sandoval (Los Alamitos), 1:52.
182 – Travis Wuerth (Hemet) pins Daniel Winn (Beverly Hills), 3:04.
195 – Jack Richards (Royal) pins Alejandro Porter (Citrus Hill), 3:47.
220 – Brandon Leon (Roosevelt) pins Emilio Franco (Corona del Mar), 5:14.
285 – Arturo Ojeda (San Jacinto) pins Isaac Lopez (Centennial), 1:21.
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