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Fountain Valley duo earn titles in Five Counties wrestling tournament

Fountain Valley's TJ McDonnell wins the 182-pound final in the Five Counties wrestling tournament at Fountain Valley High.
Fountain Valley’s TJ McDonnell wins the 182-pound final in the Five Counties wrestling tournament at Fountain Valley High on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)
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With the home stretch of the season rapidly approaching, Fountain Valley High wrestlers used their host tournament to turn up the heat.

Senior TJ McDonnell and junior Ryland Whitworth took home titles in the prestigious Five Counties Tournament on Saturday, leading the Barons to a third-place showing against an elite field.

Bellflower St. John Bosco edged Gilroy for the team title, 286.5-278, the two rosters proving to be the class of the 84-team tournament.

The Barons amassed 198.5 points, which was well clear of fourth-place Covina Northview’s 138 points.

Fountain Valley's TJ McDonnell pins Chaminade's Primo Catalano to win the 182-pound final in the Five Counties Tournament.
Fountain Valley’s TJ McDonnell pins Chaminade’s Primo Catalano to win the 182-pound final in the Five Counties wrestling tournament on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

McDonnell, who finished third in the state at 182 pounds last season and is currently ranked second in the weight class, was coming off his first loss of his senior campaign. He used the defeat to Bakersfield’s Tye Monteiro in the semifinals of the Doc Buchanan Invitational as fuel.

In his next opportunity, he delivered a lightning-fast 27-second pin of West Hills Chaminade’s Primo Catalano in Saturday’s championship match. McDonnell used a single-leg technique for the takedown before finishing him off with a cradle.

“My dad told me before the match that he wanted me to get it over with as soon as possible, so that’s exactly what I did,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell has expressed a desire to become the first state champion in school history, but he now has company in that goal with Whitworth, not that he minds sharing.

Fountain Valley's Ryland Whitworth wins the 195-pound final in the Five Counties wrestling tournament on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“We’re going to be winning that thing right next to each other,” said Whitworth, who defeated St. John Bosco’s Mark Ayala 5-1 in the 195-pound final. “We’re going to win it right away and run straight to each other.”

Fountain Valley had three finalists on the weekend, the breakout performer being Khale McDonnell. The sophomore reached the 170-pound final, which was won by Northview’s Nate Cruz 2-1.

“It felt really good to get to the finals,” Khale McDonnell said. “It’s good to see that I’m inching closer and closer to each of my opponents. It sucks that I lost, but I know that I’m getting closer and closer, and I’m going to end up beating those guys.”

His older brother kept an eye on the proceedings as he waited for his time to step on the mat.

Fountain Valley's Ryland Whitworth, right, is congratulated by teammate TJ McDonnell.
Fountain Valley’s Ryland Whitworth, right, is congratulated by teammate TJ McDonnell, left, after winning the 195-pound final.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

“It’s hard watching your little brother wrestle,” TJ McDonnell said. “It feels like you’re out there with him, but this dude has made huge improvements, I mean, even over the last couple of weeks. He had some big wins this weekend over some kids that he lost to a few weeks ago.”

In a war of attrition, Fountain Valley’s Hercules Windrath earned an escape in the fourth overtime to take the third-place match at 145 pounds over Clovis North’s Max Del Bosque, 3-2.

Hunter Jauregui (106, eighth) and Anthony Lucio (120, fourth) also placed for Fountain Valley.

Corona del Mar had Zion Hernandez (160, sixth), Antonio Aramburu (160, eighth) and Eugenio Franco (195, third) among the tournament’s placers.

Fountain Valley's Hercules Windrath, center, reacts after winning the 145-pound third-place match on Saturday.
Fountain Valley’s Hercules Windrath, center, reacts after winning the 145-pound third-place match in the Five Counties wrestling tournament on Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Marina’s Haden Hernandez also reached the third-place match at 132 pounds, falling to Rancho Bernardo’s Brandon Eusebio 7-6. Adrian Jimenez was a fifth-place finisher at 113 pounds for the Vikings.

Demian Pryima (120, eighth) was the top performer for Newport Harbor.

Five Counties Tournament

At Fountain Valley High

Team Results

1. St. John Bosco 286.5; 2. Gilroy 278; 3. Fountain Valley 198.5; 4. Northview 138; 5. Hesperia 137.5; 6. Clovis North 130; 7. Lakeside 127.5; 8. Slam Academy 104.5; 9. Kingsburgh 99.5; 10. Trabuco Hills 97; 20. Corona del Mar 71.5; 32. Newport Harbor 53; 36. Marina 48.5; 60T. Edison 26; 67. Costa Mesa 22; 73. Laguna Beach 18.

Championship Matches

106 — Paulo Valdez (Hesperia) pins Sean Wilcox (St. John Bosco), 4:23.

113 — Moses Mendoza (Gilroy) pins Mason Carrillo (Royal), 1:37.

120 — Isaiah Quintero (El Dorado) dec. Nathan Carrillo (St. John Bosco), 3-1/OT.

126 — Alek Van Bebber (Kingsburgh) dec. Victor-Alexander Gutierrez, 6-4/OT.

132 — Daniel Zepeda (Gilroy) maj. Garrett Reece (Regis Jesuit), 14-4.

138 — Moses Mirabal (Gilroy) dec. Justin Wells (Lakeside), 3-1.

145 — Thomas Thongseng (Exeter) dec. Joseph Antonio (St. John Bosco), 8-2.

152 — Jacob Salcedo (Northview) dec. Brian Leon (Roosevelt), 5-3.

160 — Nicco Ruiz (St. John Bosco) dec. Travis Grace (Gilroy), 4-0.

170 – Nate Cruz (Northview) dec. Khale McDonnell (Fountain Valley), 2-1.

182 — TJ McDonnell (Fountain Valley) pins Primo Catalano (Chaminade), 0:27.

195 — Ryland Whitworth (Fountain Valley) dec. Mark Ayala (St. John Bosco), 5-1.

220 — Nicholas Sahakian (St. John Bosco) dec. Henry Sturn (Trabuco Hills), 11-5.

285 — Cody Merrill (Gilroy) pins Jose Morales (Lemoore), 1:02.

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