BY RAUL GARCIA
LA JOYA — The La Joya Juarez-Lincoln Huskies had their normal practice Wednesday night, and then began setting up to host their first wrestling tournament of the year in their house.
Boys and girls matches are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today and will continue throughout the day and end in the evening. They are sure to be filled with slams, wrist locks, choke holds, and wrestlers falling on each other as they fight for position to gain points against their opponents or pin them for the win.
The Huskies have three top wrestlers entering the tournament. Two of them are undefeated, and the third has only one loss in 25 matches.
They are Willie Bonilla (24-1) in the 195-pound weight class. Bonilla is coming off his first loss of the season at last week’s Twin Cities Invitational.
His loss came to the hands of Edcouch-Elsa’s Joel Garza.
Jose Cerda (19-0) remains unbeaten in the 132-pound weight class, and Carlos Doria (8-0) will make his return to the 126-pound division after missing two meets due to an injury.
Doria’s stiffest competition will come from Los Fresnos’ Roman Rodriguez (9-1), who finished first in the Twin City Invitational last week.
“We are excited to have good teams coming here to compete,” La Joya Juarez-Lincoln head coach Armando Resendez said. “There are going to be some tough matches.”
Many of those tough matches may be rematches between wrestlers who went head-to-head at last week’s Twin Cities Invitational in Elsa.
Teams scheduled to attend the wrestling tournament today are Donna North, Edcouch-Elsa, La Joya High, La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, La Joya Palmview, Los Fresnos, Mission High, PSJA High, PSJA North, PSJA Southwest, Rio Grande City, Roma and San Benito.
Edcouch-Elsa has four wrestlers coming into the tournament as champions from their last meet in Derick Arelano (9-0) at 106; Joel Garza (15-1) at 195; Ross Uresti (4-0) in the 182 weight class; and Felipe Neves (15-0) at 170.
It is the first year Juarez-Lincoln hosts the tournament. In the past, La Joya High had traditionally held the wrestling tournament.
Many of the same teams which competed against each other at the Twin City Invitational will be looking for a rematch while others look to extend their winning streaks as they prepare for the district championships in February.
In the 145 weight class Jacob Gonzalez (20-0) of La Joya is coming into the tournament. He may be contested by Los Fresnos’ Kevin Ponce (8-2) once again as the both of them went at it for the championship in Elsa last week.
La Joya’s Michael De la Cerda (21-0) will also see some of the same faces on the mat he defeated in Elsa.
The girls matches will also be happening all day. Matches will begin at 9 a.m. today after the wrestlers are weighed in. Each of the participants will be wrestling throughout the day and championship rounds will most likely begin around 6 p.m.
Some of the top girls heading into today’s tournament are Mission High’s Zenaida Vega (13-2) in the 102 weight-class. Genisa Gonzales of La Joya is (16-4). The two met in the Twin City Invitational championship where Vega defeated Gonzales in a fall of 1:44.
La Joya Juarez-Lincoln Jazmin Muñoz is heading into the 110 division with an 11-5 record.
In the 165-pound division, La Joya Palmview’s Judith Rivas is coming into the tournament undefeated at 13-0 and a first place at the Twin City Invitational. She may face Mission High’s 2019 district champion Alexia Sandoval (11-5) once again.
“The Valley wrestlers are pretty good and they are experienced,” Sandoval said. “The competition is there, and even though wrestling has not been in the Valley that long, the girls are experienced and dedicated.”