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Barstow's Ryan Barela displays the golden horseshoe award he won at the Branding Iron Invitational.

Barstow's Barela wrestles to first place

MORENO VALLEY • The Barstow wrestling team took part in its largest event of the year this weekend, traveling to Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley for the Branding Iron Invitational.

Over 60 schools were in attendance at the double-elimination tourney, which featured 48-man brackets.

Barstow did well team-wise, coming in 14th overall, with four placers. Chaparral, of Temecula, was first.

“A lot of good schools were there,” said Aztecs head coach Sam Barnhart. “Chaparral is a D1, so there was some good competition.”

The Aztecs had one wrestler come home with a golden horseshoe, which is the top prize in each weight division. Ryan Barela finished first overall at 132-pounds, going 5-0 over the two-day competition. Also doing very well was Gabe Rodriguez, who placed third at 145-pounds. Rodriguez went 6-1, all of his wins coming by pin.

Dallas Hawes reached the quarterfinals at 113-pounds. He ended up taking fifth place overall, going 5-2. Heavyweight Kiler Holmeyer went 3-3 and finished sixth, and Dominic Robles finished in the top 12 of the 120-pound division, going 4-2.

“This is probably the biggest, most competitive tournament we’ll go to all year, so I’m pretty pleased with how we did,” said coach Barnhart. “To place four and have a champ, that’s a pretty good showing. I’m pretty proud.”

The Aztecs will be in competition this coming weekend, wrestling in the Quartz Hill Tournament in Lancaster Friday and Saturday.

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