Prep Preview: Battle For The Belt

I’m covering the finals of the Battle for the Belt Temecula Valley Invitational wrestling tournament today for The Press-Enterprise. The best part of this assignment will be seeing, up-close, the very best wrestlers in California.

THE LOW DOWN:
The most prestigious prep wrestling tournament in the Inland Area, which is due, at least in part, to the fact that the champions of each weight class receive actual championship belts. The best wrestling programs in California, Arizona and Nevada come to Temecula for this event, now in its fifth year. Among the Area schools participating are Rancho Cucamonga Alta Loma, Bloomington, Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, Rialto Carter, Temecula Chaparral, Elsinore, Temecula Great Oak, Hesperia, Riverside King, Riverside La Sierra, Fontana Miller, Murrieta Valley, Hesperia Oak Hills, Phelan Sultana, Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon, Temecula Valley and Vista Murrieta.

Riverside King's Eli Macias (feet on mat) is the best 113-pound wrestler from the Inland Area at today's Battle for the Belt in Temecula. / Terry Pierson -- The Press-Enterprise

TOP INLAND AREA WRESTLERS:
106 pounds:
Mario Torres, Riverside La Sierra
113: Eli Macias, Riverside King
120: Taylor Hall, MoVal Canyon Springs
126: Spencer Glasheen, Riverside King
132: Nolan Kistler, Riverside King
138: Preston Mitts, MoVal Canyon Springs
145: Taylor McCormick, Riverside La Sierra
152: Yopoldo Rodriguez, Temecula Chaparral
160: Bradley Christensen, Temecula Chaparral
170: Immanuel Barber, MoVal Canyon Springs
182: Jon Wixom, Temecula Chaparral
195: Joe Arellano, Vista Murrieta
220: Diego Vasquez, Vista Murrieta
285: Matt McCullough, Temecula Chaparral

CENTRAL/NORTHERN CAL:
Not a single wrestler from an Inland Area school won a belt last season, a trend that finally bottomed out as more and more out-of-Area programs were invited. Schools from the San Joaquin Valley seems to to very well here, with Clovis winning seven titles the last three seasons. Riverside County should be represented very well here, with at least five of its recent champions participating.

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