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Fountain Valley boys wrestling earns 3rd-place finish at prestigious Five Counties tournament

Fountain Valley’s three individual champions at the 5 Counties Invitational...

Fountain Valley’s three individual champions at the 5 Counties Invitational were,
from left, Khale McDonnell (190), Ryland Whitworth (215) and Anthony Lucio (126). (Photo by Lou Ponsi)

West Point commit Ryland Whitworth of Fountain Valley won the...

West Point commit Ryland Whitworth of Fountain Valley won the 215-pound championship at the prestigious 5 Counties Invitational Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Fountain Valley High School. (Photo by Lou Ponsi)

Fountain Valley’s Khale McDonnell captured the 190-pound championship at the...

Fountain Valley’s Khale McDonnell captured the 190-pound championship at the 5
Counties Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Fountain Valley High School. (Photo by Lou Ponsi)

Anthony Lucio of Fountain Valley High School won the 126-pound...

Anthony Lucio of Fountain Valley High School won the 126-pound championship at the
prestigious 5 Counties Invitational Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Fountain Valley High School. (Photo by Lou Ponsi)

The Fountain Valley boys wrestling team finished in third place...

The Fountain Valley boys wrestling team finished in third place at the prestigious 5 Counties Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 13, at Fountain Valley High School. The Barons finished with 231.5 points and had the highest finish among Orange County teams. (Photo by Lou Ponsi)

FOUNTAIN VALLEY — The Fountain Valley boys wrestling team continues to show its mettle against some of the best competition in the state.

The Barons finished in third place as a team with individual champions in three weight classes and were the highest placing Orange County team at the prestigious 5 Counties Invitational Tournament on Saturday at Fountain Valley High School.

Buchanan, ranked No. 2 in the state by CalGrappler, won the tournament with 305.5 points. St. John Bosco, the No. 4 team in the state rankings, was second with 269 points and No.8 Fountain Valley took third with 231.5 points.

The next highest placing county team was Servite, which finished 13th scoring 88 points.

“It’s probably one of the toughest 5 Counties we’ve had in the past few years,” Barons coach Dennis Piramo said. “I got a lot of good compliments from coaches and out-of-towners. We had a couple of teams come in from out of state.”

Anthony Lucio (126), Khale McDonnell (190) and West Point commit Ryland Whitworth (215) won their respective weight classes and were among seven Barons to finish among the top seven, which earns a wrestler a medal and a spot on the podium.

“For us to be able to do what we did … I think the kids did a great job,” Piramo said.

McDonnell, who entered the tournament ranked No. 12 in the state after first-place finishes at the Mann Classic and Tournament of Champions, earned a tight 2-1 victory in the championship match over Sean-Michael Roberts of Buchanon.

Whitworth pinned his three opponents leading up to his 9-1 victory over Noah Bode of Vista Murietta in the championship match.

Lucio scored on a reversal late in the second period, scoring the only points in his 2-0 victory over top-seeded Michael Romero of St. John Bosco, who had defeated Lucio in their two previous matches, including a 3-2 victory in the Tournament of Champions on Dec. 30 at Sonora High School.

“He’s beat me twice before, but I just come into each match with the same mindset,” said Lucio, who has committed to wrestle at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “I’m going to win this one. I just keep working to close that gap. Now that I’ve closed it, I’m looking to expand it.”

The county’s only other champion was Calvary Chapel’s Max McWilliams, a highly accomplished wrestler who dominated Seth Iten of Holtville by a score of 12-2 in the championship match.

McWilliams is a returning Masters champion, who finished first at the Kris Camacho Memorial Tournament at Capistrano Valley High School and second at the Cossarek Tournament at Westminster High School this season.

“In the first few matches I was trying to get the quickest pin,” McWilliams said. “But coming up to my quarterfinal, I only won by five points and then semifinals I was just playing it safe winning by a few points. Then I thought for the finals, I might as well go all out.”

Fountain Valley’s Herculis Windrath finished second in the 138-pound class, losing a close 3-1 decision against Alek VanBebber of Kingsburg.

Santiago Benitez of Villa Park finished fourth in the 285-pound class.

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