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Sonora's Kawaguchi feels good competing at 160

STAFF WRITER

FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Life feels pretty good right now for Sonora’s Josh Kawaguchi.

After a couple of years of having to cut down to get to his wrestling weight, the senior is now in a comfortable spot, competing at 160 pounds.

He has been in a couple of duals so far, but this weekend is the best chance for him and the team’s coaching staff to gauge how he will stack up at the new weight.

Things look promising after the first day of the Five Counties Invitational at Fountain Valley High.

“I’m healthy and I’m having fun this year,” Kawaguchi said. “After state (last year), I gained a lot of weight. I cut down and certified pretty low, and after that I didn’t want to do it (cut weight) anymore. I just figured wrestle at what I walk around at, be happy while I wrestle.

“I feel like I’m at 100 percent when I’m wrestling. Now, my first battle isn’t against the scale.”

He opened the tournament Friday with a 12-1 victory and a win by fall to advance to the quarterfinals. He will face Drake McKee of Will C. Wood of Vacaville.

Kawaguchi said he walks around a couple of pounds over 160. Friday, there was a three-pound allowance and today, it increases to four.

“I’m looking forward to wrestling the top guys,” Kawaguchi said. “See how I match up against them. I’m excited. It is a lot different from the past few years. Thirty more pounds than last year is a big difference, and the style of wrestling against bigger guys.”

“Wrestling bigger guys, there isn’t as much scrambling as the lower weight. It is more just straight to it and sticking to the basics.”

Justin Thomas of Calvary Chapel is the top seed at 160 pounds. He won both of his matches Friday by fall. Fountain Valley’s Blake Vasquez is the third seed and also had a pair of victories by fall.

Vasquez will face eighth-seed Jacob Cooper of Vista Murrieta Saturday in the quarterfinals.

The 170-pound division had an early shake-up with top-seeded Jeremy Thomas (Calvary Chapel) pulling out because of a knee injury.

Calvary Chapel has six in the quarterfinals: Elijiah Palacio (109), Luciano Arroyo (116), Johnny Knowles (148), Gabe Collins (155) and Morris Wilner (185).

Servite has five in the quarterfinals: Marcos Polanco (109); Liam Cronin (116); Wolfgang Bernal (141) and Troy Madrigal (148). Madrigal won his first three matches by fall. Cronin had a fall and two technical falls. The Friars have three alive in the consolation.

Servite ended the day in third place with 86 points. Selma (95) and Palm Desert (89.5) are in first and second, respectively.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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