By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Last year, Jeff Jordan had a score to settle.
This year, he just had to score.
Exhausted after reversing a reversal from Bryan’s Rafael Aguilar in the final seconds of the third period to force sudden death in their 120-pound championship match Saturday, Jordan quickly found himself in a precarious situation.
With Aguilar in deep on a single leg, clutching Jordan’s left thigh and working to establish control, the Ellison senior scooted on his left hip and hooked his right heel into his opponents’ pelvis prompting a quick whistle from the referee.
Both wrestlers leaped up believing they had just won the match. Only Jordan was correct in that assumption.
“I knew I couldn’t lose, especially because my team looks up to me — I know they do — and if they see me lose, their whole morale is going to be down, and I wasn’t going to let that happen,” said Jordan, who was awarded the takedown for establishing control of Aguilar’s hips with the hook.
Jordan’s head-to-head victory over the Vikings’ Aguilar cemented his second straight district title and helped the Eagles do the same, as Ellison edged Bryan 161-154 to win the District 25 boys championship Saturday at Shoemaker High School.
“(Winning district) means everything to me, because really, wrestling is my life — this is what I live for,” Jordan said.
The top two finishers in each weight class advance to the Region IV meet next Saturday at the Blossum Center in San Antonio.
Despite having just four wrestlers in the finals, compared to seven for the Vikings, the Eagles made the most of their opportunities, as Jordan, Billal Maqsood (113) and Ronald Martin (170) won their respective weight classes. Ellison also had help in the consolation bracket, where Aaron Tovar (138), Miguel Diaz (145) and Royal Foster (152) each took third — with Tovar rallying to pin A&M Consolidated’s Chris Paulus with one second left in the consolation final.
“Those (third-place) points add up into the total and that’s great for us (because) again, they didn’t give up,” said Ellison wrestling coach Geoffrey Van Riper. “I’m very proud of them.”
Also repeating last season’s results were the Shoemaker girls, who won their third straight District 25 crown and sixth of the last seven by besting Ellison 163.5-157 as the championship round turned into a glorified dual between the two city rivals.
“We’re lucky at Shoemaker, we created a program and whether we come in first or we come in last, it’s irrelevant to the fact that we have a program now,” said Shoemaker coach Ken Soloff.
The Lady Grey Wolves advanced all nine wrestlers to the finals, while the Lady Eagles sent eight as the two schools squared off in seven of the 10 championship bouts (119 through 215 pounds).
Senior 148-pound champion Zana West, who won district for the third straight year, highlighted four individual champions for Shoemaker, followed by Alicia Vasquez (102), Daisy Mijango (185) and Tatianna Clemons (215).
“When you look at the finals, we had nine girls out of 10, Ellison had eight out of 10 — that was the difference,” Soloff said. “But it came down to a district dual between Ellison and Shoemaker, and we won the one we needed to I guess.”
Ellison, which won the Region IV tournament last season, nearly made a run at the district title when 119-pounder Chelsea Lopez pinned Ingrid Toro to start a run of Lady Eagles victories over their Shoemaker counterparts, followed by Fallon Christian (128), Nalani Brown (138) and Shilo Shortte (165). But the Lady Grey Wolves closed out the final two weights with pins as each squad earned four gold medals.
District 25 Meet
1, Ellison, 161. 2, 2, Bryan, 154. 3, A&M Consolidated, 128.5. 4, Harker Heights, 124. 5, Copperas Cove, 114. 6, Killeen, 104. 7, Shoemaker, 69.
1, Shoemaker, 163.5. 2, Ellison, 157. 3, Killeen, 59. 4, Harker Heights, 55. 5. Bryan, 38. 6, Copperas Cove, 9. 7, A&M Consolidated, 0.
TOP 3 FINISHERS IN ORDER
Does not include wrestleback results
106 — Vino (HHHS), Frias (KHS), Carter (CCHS)
113 — Maqsood (EHS), Carpenter (HHHS), Knight (AMC)
120 — Jordan (EHS), Aguilar (BHS), Warren (CCHS)
126 — Pierce (BHS), Roberts (AMC), Thorton II (SHS)
132 — Bickey (AMC), McCann (BHS), Lloyd (SHS)
138 — Jimenez (BHS), Freeman (SHS), Tovar (EHS)
145 — Mongare (SHS), Wilson (AMC), Diaz (EHS)
152 — Soloman (KHS), Weise (AMC), Foster (EHS)
160 — Michael Duran (HHHS), Mireles (BHS), Bynog (EHS)
170 — Martin (EHS), Russell (CCHS), Cox (AMC)
182 — Doubleday (CCHS), Barbar (EHS), Clare (HHHS)
195 — Chivers (KHS), Turrubartes (BHS), White (HHHS)
220 — McPhall (CCHS), Jones (BHS), Collins (KHS)
285 — Leota (HHHS), Kidd (KHS), Brooks (CCHS)
95 — Wilder (HHHS), Wilson (EHS)
102 — Vasquez (SHS), Perez (KHS)
110 — Hawk (BHS), Jones (SHS), Hollis (EHS)
119 — Lopez (EHS), Toro (SHS), Johnson (BHS)
128 — Christian (EHS), Little (SHS), Mendez (HHHS)
138 — Brown (EHS), Farris (SHS), Owens (KHS)
148 — West (SHS), Lopez (EHS), Lilley (KHS)
165 — Shortte (EHS), Maitland (SHS), Neloms (KHS)
185 — Mijango (SHS), Castro (EHS), Perdue (HHHS)
215 — Clemons (SHS), Ruggles (EHS), Ogungbe (CCHS)