Former Phoenix High wrestling standout Eleazar De Luca went unbeaten last weekend to secure a title at the ASICS Junior National Championships in Las Vegas.
Competing in the Greco-Roman style in the FILA Junior Division at 70 kilograms (154.2 pounds), De Luca went 4-0 to claim his first national title. De Luca graduated from Phoenix as a three-time state champion in 2012 and has spent this past year at the Olympic Training Center. He'll join the Iowa State University program in the fall.
The 19-year-old De Luca also competed in freestyle at the Las Vegas tourney but wound up going 4-2 in the days after his Greco-Roman pursuit.
"I wrestled 10 matches overall throughout the whole weekend so it kinda wore me out," said De Luca, who was competing for the Florida JETS program after recently moving to the Southeast Regional Training Center to complement his OTC work.
"I was happy, though," he added of his overall performance. "I've been working for this tournament the whole year. I was more so going for freestyle but I decided why not wrestle Greco as well."
De Luca said he played it pretty close to the vest in achieving his national title, often holding his opponents from a top position before using late scoring maneuvers. In the championship finals, he scored 1-0 and 3-2 decisions over Tyrel White of the Shamrock program.
"I didn't really dominate everybody," he said. "I wore a lot of guys out because I was in better shape than most of the guys I wrestled and just had a good strategy and did what I needed to do."
En route to the crown, De Luca beat three straight All-American wrestlers from the Fargo, N.D., championships. Rounding out the top five finishers were Jon Jay Chavez, Connor Sutton and Dylan Cottrell.
"It was a pretty tight bracket," he said.
Next up for De Luca will be the ASICS U.S. World Team Trials on June 21 in Stillwater, Okla. He's hoping to make the FILA Junior team at 66 kilograms (145 pounds) and get a chance to compete later in the world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Senior World Championships will be in Budapest, Hungary.
"I feel really good about it," he said. "I'm going to have to cut a little bit more weight to make that team but I feel really good."
In other wrestling this past weekend, a trio of wrestlers from the Rogue Valley won titles at the Aztec Warrior Championships in Farmington, N.M.
North Medford sophomore Trent Wilson, 15, earned the title in the 18-and-under folkstyle division after going unbeaten at 195 pounds in three matches for Team Outlaw. Wilson earned a pin in the semifinals and a 6-0 decision in the finals.
Junior Comet wrestlers Elijah Bayne and Rayanne Bayne also fared well at the event. Elijah Bayne competed in the folkstyle divisions for 6-and-under at 46 and 49 pounds, winning six of his seven matches by pin to win both titles. His sister, Rayanne, placed third among the 8-and-under 58-pounders with a 2-1 record and finished sixth in the age 7-9 Rookie Division at 57 pounds.