By Patrick Lujan
For the second straight day, Joey Lopez took it to the best wrestlers in Oceania and kept the gold medal right here on Guam.
Lopez dominated Australian Aaron Maher in two rounds of the 66kg (145-lb) freestyle finals, ending both rounds with five-point suplexes that excited the UOG Field House crowd Tuesday afternoon in the 2013 Oceania Wrestling Championships.
“My Uncle Melchor (Manibusan), my coach and mentor, always said don’t underestimate any of these guys. All the world champs get after everyone and that’s what I tried to do here,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t trying to play around – get in and get out.”
And boy did he get after Maher.
A pumped up Lopez came out the aggressor, scoring early with a takedown and roll before delivering the suplex to end the first round early on points.
The second round was much the same as Lopez again scored early with another takedown and two tilts before ending the match with his second five-point suplex.
Lopez said his team trained relentlessly for this tournament, six days a week, 4-5 hours a day. “Sometimes more,” he said.
He said he’ll be back in the gym tomorrow to continue his goal to be an Olympic wrestler.
“Next for me is to keep pursuing this dream. If 2016 is the last year (for wrestling in the Olympics), then I want to make the most of it.”
Torres just as dominant
18-year-old Drake Torres showed nearly as much dominance in his gold medal performance over the Marshall’s Carthney Laukon in the 60kg (132-lb) junior division.
After controlling the first round and winning 5-1, Torres went to work in the second round. Taking an early 2-0 lead, Torres pulled off a five-point supley to end the match.
“He was going for the head & arm (move) and I saw the opportunity to make the supley,” said the 2012 graduate from Sanchez.
Torres, who’s been training for six months for the Oceania, is now focused on competing in the Worlds Championship later this year.
High school standout Jonah Whitt won two gold medals in the round robin format, taking the 54kg cadet (2-0) and 55jg junior (2-0) divisions.
Fellow standout Micah Lopez settled for silver in the 74kg junior finals to a very crafty Jaden Lawrence from Australia, losing both rounds 7-0.
Kai Blas also settled for silver in the 68kg cadet division after losing both rounds 7-0 to Palau’s Jarvis Tarkong.
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