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La Liga de Las Americas

ETWC has strong showing in Cleveland

By Fletcher Word, Special to La Prensa


The East Toledo Wrestling Club competed at the grade school/junior high state championships during the weekend of March 16-18, 2007 in downtown Cleveland at the Wolstein Center.


“We took 28 grade school and junior high wrestlers who had qualified from the Oregon Clay District a few weeks ago,” explains Hector Ramírez, assistant coach. “The competition was fierce, but we were up for the challenge.”


ETWC took a strong third place ending up behind Team Miron – by 40 points – and Team Jordan, who won the team trophy “running away,” says Ramírez.


“Those two clubs are all-star teams that wrestlers pay to join,” says Ramírez. “We do not charge our wrestlers—it is all voluntary on our part.”


The hardy, young grapplers who attended the meet included: Eric Miller, Josh Portillo, Jaxon Davis, Calixtro Mondragon, Nathaniel Hagen, Justin Tomaszewski, Jarred Davis, Alex Rosales, Brandon McDowell, Seth Gaghen, Andy Howard, Zack Kern, Bryce Castilleja, Ed Silva, Devin McGibbeny, Jacob Conine, Shane Gaghen, Tyler Hackworth, Brandon Ishmael, and Cameron Griffen.


Nick Stencel had a strong showing, with a very solid fourth place finish.

Placing third for ETWC was Kyle McGibbeny who, according to Assistant Coach Earl Ramírez, “was robbed.” In his semi-final bout against the Tulsa national champion, and a member of Team Jordan, the referee made some horrendous calls, says Earl Ramírez, and even the Team Jordan coach felt his wrestler should have lost.


Chad Sonnenberg also placed third.


In an awkward situation for the team and the coaches, on two occasions ETWC wrestlers battled each other for the gold. The coaches agreed not to coach the wrestlers during the matches in order to avoid showing partiality.


The first two ETWC wrestlers to face each other were Jay “Jay Bug” Nino and Chance Sonnenberg. “Jay Bug had what I would say was the best tournament in his wrestling career,” said Hector Ramírez. “He was on fire.” Unfortunately for Jay, he lost a very close match to Chance who also wrestled extremely well all weekend.

The other ETWC pair to face off were Matt Stencel and Jacob Rettig. Matt prevailed in their finals bout. “We told the second placers that there was nothing to be ashamed of,” says Hector Ramírez, “especially since you get to avenge the loss in practice every week.”


The club’s other two champions were Evan “E” Ulinski, (Coach Steve’s con) and Dalton Ishmael. Evan had his best tournament, says Ramírez. “He arguably had one of the top upsets, in beating the projected state champ, 1-0,” says Ramírez. “He wrestled very smart, with no mistakes. He dominated, 5-0, in the finals. And Dalton, our big man, destroyed the projected state champ, 13-7, and then stuck his opponent in the finals, in less than a minute.”


Keeping things in order and working diligently behind the scenes was Bonnie Mauder, program director (Seth and Shane’s mom). ETWC coaches present were Head Coach Gary Burgess, assistant coaches Earl and Hector Ramírez, Steve Ulinski, Chris McGibbeny, Jim Davis, Ray Castilleja, Ed Silva, Joe Campos, Edison “Junior” Kendall and Dave McDowell.

Felipe Martínez



Felipe Martínez: The “True” Beast of the East

Felipe Martínez, former ETWC wrestler and Genoa native, also came to the state championships in Cleveland. Felipe, who is with Team Jordan, is 13 years old and is currently wrestling at 120 pounds. His contests proved to be no contests at all as he “toyed with and destroyed his opponents,” says Hector Ramírez.


A multiple Tulsa National Champion, Felipe “truly looked like a beast,” says Joe Campos, assistant ETWC coach.

Felipe arrived in Cleveland with a 27-1 record and left 31-1. “He is at a different level than his opponents,” says Ramírez. “He made some returning state placers look like they had just started out wrestling. He probably could have moved a couple of weight classes above what he wrestled and won it there also.”


Felipe, says Ramírez, is one of the best wrestlers to ever come out of northwest Ohio. His one loss was to a two-time Division I state champ from Lakewood St. Edward’s, Collin Palmer, in the Slippery Rock Open – open to all junior and senior high school wrestlers. Felipe lost that match 6-5 in overtime.


According to Ray Castilleja, ETWC assistant coach and Felipe’s cousin, Palmer, a 125 pounder, did not have a closer match to any Ohio high school wrestler than the one he had with Felipe. Palmer, a 16-year-old sophomore, is ranked number one in the nation.


The following weekend, March 23-25, 2007, Felipe captured first place at a national tournament in Danville, Illinois, where 17 teams from the Midwest, California, and Texas competed.






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