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Hassan Alexander finished fourth at The Brawl. Photo by Hugh Cox.
Hassan Alexander finished fourth at The Brawl. Photo by Hugh Cox.

Wrestling get first tournament win since 2018

Comets fans, friends, alumni, and supporters,

Collectively, the guys took a big step forward and are right where they need to be for the post-season.

2021 ELAC Brawl Champions: Palomar Wrestling

My thoughts on each wrestler's performance:

Juan Diaz - 125

When Juan believes he is better than an opponent, he looks fantastic. He has high-level takedowns from the neutral position. If Juan mentally prepares himself, I would not be surprised to see him turn a corner and beat some top-ranked competition in the post-season when it matters. However, he needs to prioritize not giving up uncontested points and believing in his skills—regardless of who is in front of him.

CJ Howard – 125

CJ made his 125 lbs. debut this weekend, having not competed since being up at 141 lbs. CJ showed tremendous improvement in the bottom and neutral positions. I'm excited to see if he can put all his skills together in these next few weeks—he will be a real dark horse contender in the post-season if he can do this.

Owen consistently demonstrates that he's one of the toughest guys in the state. And when I say "tough," I mean he does not walk onto a mat without making every match a dogfight. Owen made it to the tournament finals, and while he lost to a guy who's beaten him several times this season, he closed the gap substantially. Owen is unquestionably ready to make a run for the state podium. 

Lucas Jeetan – 133

I was glad to see Lucas gain some match experience this weekend. He wrestled well but made some tactical errors that ultimately took him out of each match. Lucas is one of our hardest working guys in the room, and I'm confident that he'll make the necessary adjustments before the post-season.

Randy Lockwood – 141

Simply put, Randy flipped a switch and went beast-mode this weekend, pinning three opponents and defeating the other via technical fall. Randy's dad (Russ) and our coaching staff agree that when he gets a takedown early on, he wins virtually every match. Randy is right on track to finish this season successfully.

Hassan Alexander – 149

Hassan has been one of my favorite wrestlers to watch all season because you never know what kind of highlight-reel takedown he's going to hit next. I'm very proud of Hassan for fighting hard to a fourth-place finish, his first tournament placing as a Comet. He's on his way to being a great wrestler; he just needs to keep improving the "in-between" areas, which will develop with more practice and match experience.

Gavin Kaminski – 157

Gavin proved once again that he's ready for a state title run. In his finals match, he earned some "man points" by not finishing a period on the bottom, securing takedowns when they matter, and punishing his opponent from the top position. Gavin will need to maintain this mindset to realize his post-season goals.

Daniel "Chino" Hernandez – 165

Daniel's skill and confidence have grown considerably from the beginning of the season. After a thrilling overtime win in his first match, Daniel had some back-and-forth battles that didn't go his way due to a few technical errors on the bottom. Like many of our guys, Daniel needs to stay in good position and not try to go "off script" with his technique. I'm proud of the effort Daniel shows in every match.

Keoni Morgan – 165

Keoni wrestled aggressively this weekend, going after his opponents with takedown attempts and showing some moments of great wrestling. From my perspective, Keoni needs to continue refining his technique and think about getting stronger or dropping a weight class. I'm happy with the fight he showed this weekend. 

Brayan Macias Morales – 174

Brayan did not perform at his best this tournament, but I'm not at all worried about him. He dropped two close matches that could have gone either way and was on the wrong end of some questionable officiating calls. Brayan is a tough kid and will undoubtedly be ready to rumble in a few weeks.

Armando (James) Rodriguez – 184

The best joke I heard this weekend was that Armando transformed into "James" (his actual first name) because he showed up to take care of business. Armando scored some excellent takedowns from the neutral position, which is something we've been waiting for all season. The addition of these attacks to Armando's arsenal makes him a well-rounded wrestler and a serious post-season contender.

Oscar de la Cruz – 197

Oscar wrestled tough but ultimately dropped matches to two solid opponents. My hope is that Oscar realizes how close he is to turning a corner and showing what he's capable of. Oscar has already proven that he can battle with the best—he just needs to bring the attitude that I know is in there!

Allen Salgado – 285

Like Oscar, I think Allen needs to realize just how good he can be. He has a unique style for a heavyweight and can move like few other big men I've seen. Once we figure out what his ideal match looks like, I believe Allen will turn a corner. I'm proud of the hard work he and Oscar put in every day in practice.

What's Next:

This tournament title indicates our improvement; however, the goal isn't to win this tournament. Our sights are now on post-season competition!

We compete at the CCCAA Southern California Regional Tournament @ Cuesta College on December 4th. Our philosophy and approach leading up to this tournament will be the same as the rest of the year—getting 1% better and focusing on winning each small battle.

Go Comets!


--Head Coach, Tim Box