Titans look good at prestigious national tournament

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When John Meyers took over the impressive Poway High wrestling program in 2018, he had one end goal in mind.

No, not to win another San Diego Section Championship, one more state title or to put another individual state champion’s name on the walls of the Titans wrestling building.

Meyers’ vision goes well beyond these goals.

He wants his Titans to strive to be national college champions and even Olympic champions.

If Poway’s latest accomplishments at the annual USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championships took place from July 14 through August. 1 in the FargoDome in Fargo, North Dakota, are an indication there are higher laurels to be achieved.

The Titans shattered their all-time best performance in the tournament which attracted more than 6,000 wrestlers this year. They went from a best seven-placer program to a superb 13-placer eight performer.

All Fargo placers receive All-American honors.

“Every one of them will be back for us this year and only two of them will be seniors,” Meyers said. “It was not a surprise because these young people achieved our goals in Fargo.

Junior Sasha Kikiniou was the only titan individual champion in Greco-Roman for 16U. Kikiniou’s father placed third in the Greco-Roman World Championships for Belarus.

(Niki Bobzien)

“The best way to describe this tournament is that it’s six tournaments in one with 16U, 18U and a women’s tournament in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.”

Junior Sasha Kikiniou was the only titan individual champion in Greco-Roman for 16U. Kikiniou comes from a family of wrestlers, especially in Greco-Roman.

Meyers noted that Kikiniou’s father placed third at the Greco-Roman World Championships for Belarus.

Kikiniou moved to this country when he was 12 years old and had no place in Fargo when he lived in New York.

Coach John Meyers with Elias Navida, Adam Farha and Edwin Serra at USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championship.

Coach John Meyers with Elias Navida, Adam Farha and Edwin Serra at USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championship.

(Niki Bobzien)

Three other Titans – junior Adam Farha in the 16U freestyle, second Angelo Posada and junior Elias Navida in the 16U Greco-Roman – reached the 16U final.

Meyers singled out Farha, a fall football player, for special praise.

After going unseeded in the tournament at 220 pounds, he finished second. Farha lost in the last 10 seconds of the championship match.

“He was so excited at the end, even with the loss,” Meyers said. “Being in the spotlight is new for him.

“Second place was a little overwhelming, but he found that the difference between placing and not placing, as he did in Greco-Roman, is razor thin at this level.”

Poway High senior Luke Condon finished fourth in the 18U Freestyle at the USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championships

Poway High senior Luke Condon finished fourth in the 18U Freestyle at the USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championships

(Niki Bobzien)

Poway’s other All-Americans include Billy Townson (fourth) in 16U Greco-Roman, Navida (fourth) in 16U freestyle, senior Luke Condon (fourth) in 18U freestyle and junior Alejandra Valdievizo (fourth) in 16U freestyle.

Sophomore Edwin Sierra was fifth in the 16U Greco-Roman and sixth in the 16U Freestyle.

Junior Alejandra Valdiviezo, with her coach John Meyers, finished fourth in the 16U freestyle and sixth in the 18U freestyle.

Junior Alejandra Valdiviezo, with her trainer John Meyers, finished fourth in the 16U Freestyle and sixth in the 18U Freestyle at the USA Wrestling Junior and 16U Nationals in Fargo, ND.

(Niki Bobzien)

Validievizo was sixth in the 18U freestyle with rookie Tas Storer (seventh) in the Greco-Roman 16U and Condon (seventh) in the Greco-Roman 18U.

“None of those kids hit their targets,” added Meyers, who said the Titans beat 48 state teams with only Wisconsin and Florida beating Poway. “We had 13 All-Americans but left a lot there that we should have won.

“They all came back to Poway feeling salty. These kids all want to be national champions and Olympic champions one day.”

Meyers also said his wrestlers want to be state champions and win a state tag team title this winter.

“Then we will go to the World Team Trials in Las Vegas in April after the season,” Meyers said. “The Fargo tournament is very exhausting for the players and the coaches. It’s quite emotional for a tough tournament, but it’s necessary.

Poway also has a tag team tournament in October at Penn State as well as a home rematch against defending state champion Clovis Buchanan.

In all, the Titans qualified 25 wrestlers to compete in Fargo.


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