By Mike Sciacca
3:22 PM PST, February 20, 2013
Seniors Colin Navickas of Marina and Steele Escobedo of Fountain Valley claimed Eastern Division titles in their respective weight classes Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Wrestling Individuals Championships at Oak Hills High in Oak Hills.
Navickas won his third-consecutive Southern Section title by taking the 160-pound weight class. Escobedo captured the 145 weight class.
The two are among 10 local athletes to earn a spot in the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet. The two-day event is Friday and Saturday at Temecula Valley High.
The top five finishers at the Eastern Division tournament Saturday qualified for the Masters Meet. The qualifiers from the local schools, with their final Eastern Division weight-class placement, are:
Edison: Kevin Nguyen (126, third); Justin Lyle (138, fifth); Jonathan Fraser (170, fourth).
Fountain Valley: Josh Madrid (132, fourth); Andrew Morgan (138, third); Steele Escobedo (145, champion); Nathan Bazan (152, fourth); Bryant Vasquez (220, fourth).
Marina: Colin Navickas (160, champion); Elijah Gonzales (182, fifth).
Navickas became the first three-time CIF Southern Section individual champion in Marina history, Vikings Coach Chris Rasmussen said, noting that the first prep tournament Navickas won, was his weight class during his sophomore year at the 2011 CIF Southern Section Inland Division Individual Championships.
He also won the his weight class at last year's Inland Division finals.
"It feels good to get out there and represent my school and inspire others on my team, to work hard and achieve their goals," Navickas said.
"He is, by far, the hardest working student-athlete that I have ever coached," Rasmussen said. "He deserves all of the accomplishments that he will earn through wrestling and his academics. He is extremely smart, taking 4 [Advanced Placement] classes as a senior.
"Wrestling is more of a mental than physical sport. At times he treats wrestling as a class and watches video and really learns from his coaches. His preparedness allows him to remain calm on the mat, which is a huge advantage over other wrestlers."