Wayne Branstetter, then wrestling coach at Channel Island's High School in Oxnard, was looking to venture north from Ventura County 10 years ago.
Luckily for Poway High School, the state high school wrestling meet was held at San Diego State that year and Branstetter decided to stop by Poway to check out the program at the urging of Al Doris, who was planning to retire.
Branstetter was immediately impressed with the school's wrestling room, and pursued the opening left by Doris.
The next season, Branstetter took over a Poway team that was heavily depleted by graduation.
So, Branstetter searched the school for talent. He picked up players from physical education classes--anyone whom he perceived to have the slightest potential. Since then, his teams haven't lost a dual meet or tournament.
Branstetter's undefeated streak stands at 125 matches. He is 75-0-1 at Poway, and had 49 straight victories at Channel Islands before he left. In his first year at Channel Islands, Branstetter's team finished second in the league, his worst finish in 15 years of coaching.
"It has been a lot of hard work and I've been somewhat lucky, I guess," Branstetter said.
He'll need plenty of both this season, having lost seven seniors to graduation. But once again, Poway is the favorite to win the San Diego Section title.
Branstetter has filled the vacant spots on his team with seven wrestlers from last season's undefeated junior varsity team, including sophomores Tony Matteucci and Eric Sarmiento.
Poway has already won the El Dorado tournament and the Colton tournament. At the El Dorado tournament, which featured 32 teams from the Southern and San Diego sections, Poway outscored its nearest competitor by 62 points. The Titans finished with 239 points, Canyon High of Anaheim was second with 177 and Monte Vista was third with 123.
At the Colton tournament, which ended Saturday, Poway set a tournament record for points scored with 289. All 13 Poway wrestlers placed in the top five, including five first-place finishes.
This week, Poway is competing in the El Cajon Invitational. Branstetter said that in the past he would have avoided two tournaments so close together. But this season he wants to test his young squad.
"We'll see how the younger kids do," he said. "If they come through this, they will be very hardened and very veteraned."
Rancho Buena Vista's Kira Jorgensen, who won the section, state and national cross-country meets this season, said she she will not run in an indoor meet once track season begins.
Normally, Jorgensen would have two indoor meets to choose from--the Michelob Invitational in San Diego and the Sunkist Indoor Meet in Los Angeles. But last November, it was announced that the San Diego meet will be moved outdoors this year for the first time in 21 years to secure a national television agreement.
That leaves the Sunkist meet, but Jorgensen, a junior, said she will not participate because of a bad experience she had there her freshman year.
Jorgensen was one of five runners who had missed her scheduled heat. So officials put Jorgensen in the same heat as the top-seeded runners, where she was clearly overmatched.
"It was a bad experience," she said. "I'll go and watch, but I don't want to run it. It kind of scares me now. . . . I just don't want to go back there."
The San Diego meet is expected to return to the Sports Arena in 1989, according to Al Franken, race chairman.
Kris Fillat of Serra was named the San Diego Section field hockey player of the year last week. Fillat, the section's all-time career scoring leader with 56 goals, was also one of three Californians named to the 27-member Penn Monto High School all-America team announced by the U.S. Field Hockey Assn.
Fillat, a senior, was one of four players from Serra named to the San Diego Section first team. Serra (20-0) beat San Pasqual, 5-1, Nov. 21 to win its eighth section title in the past nine years.
Also representing Serra are seniors Shirley Kessler and P.J. Meyers and junior Julia Taylor.
Other first-team selections: Jackie Jones (Bishop's), Lisa Barone (San Marcos), Janel Wing (Mira Mesa), Aimee Esch (Vista), Melissa McNutt (Fallbrook), Sandy Shimooka (San Pasqual) and Phyllis Hauser (San Marcos).
Named to the second team were: Irene Kuster (Bishop's), Kerri Sandstrom (Bishop's), Amy Thompson (Serra), Sheryll Berg (Mira Mesa), Kim Huberts (Rancho Buena Vista), Christina Orndorf (Vista), Roberta Hulit (Fallbrook), Kim Thomas (San Pasqual), Nubia Cortez (San Marcos), Jen Gregoroff (San Marcos) and Chelsea Smith (Mission Bay).