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Tuitama Pins Up 171 Title


CAMARILLO — The son also wrestles--seemingly as well as his father.

Tiloi Tuitama Jr. of Hueneme High entered the Camarillo wrestling tournament Saturday seeded first and with only one defeat in 16 matches.

Not surprisingly, Tuitama, with his father barking encouragement from the edge of the mat, placed first at 171 pounds by pinning three of four opponents.

Tuitama, a junior, pinned senior Juan Gutierrez of San Fernando in 5:38 in the final.

Tuitama and John Fleemer of Oxnard were the only wrestlers among nine regional finalists to place first. Fleemer (6-0) defeated Ryan Brand of Southwestern, 12-6.

San Fernando, which had three wrestlers reach the finals, took the team championship with 134 1/2 points, followed by Arroyo Grande at 133 1/2 and Arroyo with 131.

Tuitama and Millikan heavyweight Hugo Hernandez were the only wrestlers to record pins in the finals.

"There were some good teams here," Tuitama said. "I don't really know how I did it. Luck, I guess."

Heritage might have played a part, too.

Tiloi Tuitama Sr., a 1968 Hueneme graduate, was a two-time Channel League champion and wrestler for Arizona State.

"He's always there rooting for me," Tuitama said. "I need my dad when I'm battling it out like that."

Tuitama and Gutierrez, who entered the bout with a 3-0 record, staged an intense match. Tuitama extended a 6-3 second-period lead to 13-5 before rolling his opponent and flattening him late in the bout.

"We were going at it, taking each other down," Tuitama said. "Finally, I had a burst of energy, so I thought I'd finish it."

Tuitama, in search of his first league title this season, has never lacked motivation, his father said.

"He took right to wrestling," Tiloi Sr. said. "He showed up in the wrestling room in seventh grade."

San Fernando's Rick Aguirre (103 pounds) and Joe Hernandez (119) were narrowly outpointed.

Aguirre (13-3) lost to John Estrada of Fresno Central, 10-8. Hernandez (9-2) fell to Ashley Reyna of Montebello, 2-1.

"I just didn't come out and attack and that's been my problem," Aguirre, a junior, said. "But it's only my second year. What can I expect?"

In the 135-pound final, Alex Herrera of Alemany lost a 10-8 overtime decision to top-seeded Aaron Miller of Arroyo.

Herrera scored a reversal with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

Miller, selected the tournament's outstanding wrestler among lower weights, won on a takedown.

Adolfo Sanchez of Pittsburg defeated Josh Berman of Camarillo, 14-10, at 152 pounds and was selected outstanding wrestler among upper weights.

Brent Vickers of Arroyo Grande defeated Steve Juaregui of Thousand Oaks, 4-3, at 215.

Nathan Knutson of Righetti defeated Jason Blakeman of Channel Islands, 7-4, at 160.

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