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    • 106: Morgan Sauceda, Chico, def. Curtis Booth, Folsom, 5-2

    • 126: Michael Knoblauch, Clovis West, def. Dakota Fiero, Antelope, 5-1

    • 138: Johnny Callas, Nevada Union, def. Chris Garcia, Clovis West, 4-3

    • 160: Nicholas Fiegener, Folsom, def. Justin Brown, Calaveras, 5-3

    • 170: Peter Santos, Oakmont, def. Keaton Subjeck, Oak Ridge, 5-1

    • 182: Nick Troquato, Ponderosa, def. Tanner Blank, Liberty, pin

    • 220: Jordan Sepeda, Natomas, def. Victor Raygoza, Orland, 5-2

    • 285: Sam Alnassiri, Sheldon, def. Sam Woods, Rocklin, pin

Natomas wrestler Sepeda overcomes injuries to excel on the mat

Published: Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 - 12:16 am

If Natomas' Jordan Sepeda were a cat, he would be on his 12th life, as his coach, Don Martinez, likes to say.

Sepeda tore his right ACL during his sophomore year, his shoulder is in shambles, and he sports a black eye, to boot.

But in late October, the 220-pound senior wrestler was hit by a car just blocks from campus. His parents feared he had a lacerated liver, which fortunately wasn't the case, and he spent 43 hours in intensive care.

Sepeda hasn't let injuries stop him. Saturday, he scored a takedown with 7.6 seconds left in regulation to break a 1-1 tie and defeat Victor Raygoza of Orland 5-2 for the 220-pound title at the seventh annual Tim Brown Memorial Tournament at the Sacramento Convention Center.

For Sepeda, there was a bit of payback. A week earlier, Raygoza beat him in El Dorado Hills.

"It was redemption," Sepeda said. "I don't like losing to the same guy twice."

Through all of his injuries, Sepeda said the only pain he thinks about now is in losing.

"I've been hurt for so long, it would hurt more to lose knowing how hard I've worked," he said.

Tourney runs smoothly at new site – After an eight-year run at Memorial Auditorium, tournament director and Foothill coach Bill Lum needed to move the tournament this year because of renovations to Memorial.

Heading to the Convention Center, with its larger floor space, Lum said there was greater availability to stage more matches at once. So much more that 14 mats were being used Friday when the first day of competition ended just before 7 p.m. – more than three hours sooner than in 2012 at Memorial.

But Lum is not ready to make a permanent venue change.

"The good was we got all of the rounds of Day One done and got out at a reasonable hour," Lum said. "But the Memorial has such great seating to watch from."

Lum credited his staff for running a smooth tournament. Most of the staffers have been with him since the event's inception in 1997 as the Foothill Invitational.

Inspiration from a late friend – During his sophomore year at Sheldon, Sam Alnassiri lost a close friend, then-senior wrestler Jimmy Doan, who died of a congenital heart disease.

Alnassiri said he told Doan he would make it to the state tournament, and after coming up short as a junior, the senior is 25-1 with 25 pins this season after pinning Sam Woods of Rocklin in the 285-pound title match Saturday.

"I lost my best friend," Alnassiri said. "I told him I would make state for him. I fell short last year. That is my main goal now."

Rivalry at the top – As two of the top three ranked wrestlers in California at 170 pounds, Keaton Subjeck of Oak Ridge and Peter Santos of Oakmont have built a friendly rivalry after seeing each other so often at top tournaments.

The seniors – the third-ranked Subjeck is headed to Stanford, and the second-ranked Santos is leaning toward Navy or North Carolina State – chat with each other between matches, but when they are on the mat, it's all business.

Last year, Subjeck beat Santos in the Tim Brown 160-pound final. But Santos won the Sac-Joaquin Section 170-pound Masters final a month later, while Subjeck placed second at 160.

Saturday, Santos decisioned Subjeck 5-1 in the title match.

"It's not a priority," Subjeck said of winning. "I love winning, but it's not the end of the world. Just wrestling him and getting a good match in is what I want."

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Trevor Horn



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