Archived Story

Sunday, February 8, 2004

Cougars, Sultans excel at league finals

Barstow's Burnau gets best of old rival; Granite Hills wins six weight classes

By MARK A. PEINADO/Staff Writer

RIDGECREST -- It was like old times for Nathan Burnau and Logan Hunter.

The two seniors from Barstow and Burroughs, respectively, have spent the course of their careers battling each other. It started at 145 pounds as freshmen and continued Saturday afternoon at the Desert Sky League Finals at Burroughs High.

The two rivals wrestled the match of the finals. Burnau took a 1-0 lead in the second period only to have Hunter square the match in the third period. The 171-pound match then went to overtime.

There was still no winner. The match went to a decisive double overtime. And just when it appeared Hunter was going to finally one up Burnau, the Barstow senior slipped out of his grasp for the 2-1 victory and a DSL championship.

"That was no doubt the hardest match of my high school career," Burnau said. "It happened to be at league championships against a guy I've wrestled all four years. We know each other like the back of our hands.

"First overtime, you're looking to get that takedown and second overtime is not an option. You don't want to do it."

But it was necessary as neither wrestler scored a point in the first overtime.

In the second overtime, Burnau chose down. Hunter clamped down on him for the first 10 seconds and then rolled him over for an apparent near fall but as soon as Burnau went to his back, he escaped in a matter of seconds. It would have been Burnau's first loss to Hunter.

"I felt his leverage change," Burnau said. "I knew we were both tired and he just didn't grab me quick enough. I rolled through, pushed him away and got the escape.

"This is awesome. Today in these league finals, my four years of high school wrestling just flashed by. And when I won the match, it all came together."

Burnau was one of two DSL champions for Barstow with the other being Sam Barnhart at 125 pounds.

The Aztecs along with Burroughs, Victor Valley and Silverado all had two league champions.

DSL champion Granite Hills had the second-most wrestlers in the finals, seven and came away with the most league champions, six.

Leading the way were seniors Jason Henningsen and Nathan Gutierrez. But it was junior Will Pfeffer who was the most elated with his DSL patch.

Pfeffer, a junior 152-pounder, had as a freshman and sophomore lost his championship match by a point. He wasn't going to let it happen again. Pfeffer took it to his finals opponent, Silverado's Allan Rogers, pinning him in the second period.

"This year I wasn't going to lose again," Pfeffer said. "I think I can make it (to state). I have to work a lot harder these next few weeks. I came out flat today but I finished strong. I know I can't do that at CIF or Masters."

Overall, the Cougars will take 10 wrestlers to CIF individuals which take place on Feb. 20-21 at Westminster High. While not having as many champions, the Burros are also sending 10 wrestlers to CIF. Victor Valley is next in line having nine qualifiers, with five of the Jackrabbits winning their third-place match to make it to CIF.

Barstow has eight qualifiers and Silverado has five, including 135-pound champion Georgio Tzortzis.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that Tzortzis was wrestling at 130 pounds. But cutting weight became too big of a problem for the junior and he decided that wrestling at 135 pounds was best for him physically.

"I wasn't going to kill myself at 130's," Tzortzis said. "I figure I could do just as well at 135 pounds. I've only lost three matches so I finally realized that that was the way to go."

103: Zubiate (VV) tech. fall Godina Jr. (Sil), 24-6; 3rd: Soyland (GH)

112: Riding (GH) dec. Castillo (Bur), 7-0; 3rd: Fuzie (Bar)

119: Betts (GH) dec. Arreola (VV), 8-6; 3rd: Alvarado (Bur)

125: Barnhart (Bar) dec White (GH), 6-3; 3rd: Chavarrin (VV)

130: R. Johnson (VV) pinned Sprowl (Bar), 1:21; 3rd: Aguilera (GH)

135: Tzortzis (Sil) pinned Green (Bur), 4:15; 3rd: Chacon (VV)

140: Telles (Bur) dec. Smith (Bar), 7-1; 3rd: Lopez (VV)

145: Amaral (Sil) dec. Terrel (Bur), 9-3; 3rd: Powell (Bar)

152: Pfeffer (GH) pinned Rogers (Sil), 3:27; 3rd: C. Johnson (Bur)

160: Henningsen (GH) pinned Ramirez (VV), :38; 3rd: Padilla (Bar)

171: Burnau (Bar) dec. Hunter (Bur), 2-1 2OT; 3rd: Rhodes (Sil)

189: Selph (Bur) dec. Bubier (Bar) , 5-2; 3rd: Maunu (GH)

215: Gutierrez (GH) dec. Marker (Bur), 8-4; 3rd: Orellana (VV)

HWT: Moore (GH) pinned Fulton (Bur), 1:08; 3rd: Gonzales (VV)

Mark A. Peinado can be reached at 955-5365 or via e-mail at

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