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HOLIDAY CLASSIC: Centennial’s Lessner, Brown win individual titles

John Lessner and Hunter Brown each won an individual title Saturday to help Centennial’s wrestling team to a seventh-place finish in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Bulldogs were the top Southern Nevada team and finished with 145 points to tie Brawley (Calif.) for seventh place in the 74-team field. Victor Valley (Calif.) was first with 207 points. Liberty (Ariz.) had 196½ points to finish second. Holy Cross (La.) was third with 193, followed closely by Ironwood (Ariz.) with 192.

“I told the kids we’re happy with what we did, but we’re not satisfied,” Centennial coach Steve Wike said. “This is a good step forward, but we can still get better.”

Lessner won the 160-pound title in a triple tiebreaker over Ironwood’s Vinny Trujillo, 3-2.

“He wrestled a really tough kid, and we were really happy with John,” Wike said. “John has wrestled for me for three years on varsity, and we’re hoping this is the year he can really step it up and shine. This is a good step for him.”

Brown claimed the Bulldogs’ second title, blanking Riley Hansen of Liberty (Ariz.), 3-0 in the 195-pound title match.

It was the third time the two have met in the last three weeks, Wike said.

“It’s so hard to beat a tough kid,” Wike said. “They know each other very well.”

Cimarron-Memorial’s Jose Bonifaz and Shadow Ridge’s John Scarpati also won titles.

Bonifaz took the title at 120, defeating Steven Santos of Red Mountain (Ariz.), 9-0.

Scarpati won the 182-pound championship with a 4-3 decision over Blake Smith of Liberty (Ariz.).

Faith Lutheran’s Owen Lawrie (138), Liberty’s Storm Roper (152) and Clark’s Jacob Chaparian (220) each finished second.

Cimarron finished 10th with 140 points. Shadow Ridge was 13th with 125½ points, and Palo Verde was 15th with 119.

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