SAN DIEGO — In the San Diego Section Masters Wrestling Tournament Saturday, it was no surprise that, even before the championship-round matches, Poway High School had an insurmountable lead to win the team championship for the second straight year.
Valhalla's Mark Gerardi found that many people expected him to win an unprecedented fourth straight Masters title and set the state record for consecutive victories even before he stepped on the mat.
"People were coming up (during the tournament) and telling me that I had the record," Gerardi said. "You couldn't avoid it, but I think I pretty much blocked it out of my mind."
Gerardi made it official, passing the record of 122 straight victories set by Santa Monica High's Lawrence Jackson between 1983 and 1986. Gerardi, a two-time state champion, pinned St. Augustine's Armando Aguilar at 2:44 to win the 157-pound class title. Gerardi dominated the match, building a 6-0 lead before the pin that improved his record to 42-0 this season.
Gerardi's last loss was his freshman year, when he was defeated in the second round of the state tournament at 135 pounds. He has since won state titles at 141 and 148 and this year will attempt to win at 157.
"I think I feel better winning this (the Masters) again," Gerardi said. "It takes a little pressure off me because everyone thought I would get the record."
Everything went much the same way for Poway, the defending state champion.
The Titans scored 186 points before the championship-round matches to take a commanding lead for the team title.
Poway put four wrestlers in the championship round, and all came away with individual titles. The Titans finished the meet with 202 points, and a trio of Grossmont League schools battled for second.
Mount Miguel clinched second when Brian Millum pinned previously undefeated Mario Cole of Clairemont at 1:45. The Matadors finished with 119 1/2 points, Valhalla was third with 116 and Granite Hills was fourth with 115.
Two wrestlers stayed undefeated this season. Poway's Shane Rosselle improved to 35-0 with a 6-2 victory over El Camino's Michael Grubbs at 101 pounds, and Granite Hills' Tom Vardell (34-0) pinned Orange Glen's Nicholas Jauregui at 1:53 to win the 194-pound title.
Other wrestlers to win Masters titles included: El Camino's John Grubbs (108); Hilltop's Mike Murray (115); Poway's Tony Cooke (122), Marty Lewis (129) and Brian Woods (168); Valhalla's Scott Seubert (135); Granite Hills' Dave Meyers (141) and Aaron Gaier (148), and Escondido's Jumbo Malsack (248).