Buhach Colony senior Carlos Gutierrez hasn’t wrestled a freestyle match since his sophomore year. But Japanese national champion Hisaka Tsuyoki reacquainted Gutierrez with the term “touch-fall” during their match Tuesday at Los Banos High.
Gutierrez, along with Golden Valley wrestler Cristian Vazquez, joined the Tiger Wrestling Club in welcoming a team of 13 Japanese national title holders in a dual meet. The Japanese defeated the club, made up of mostly LBHS wrestlers in that age group, 50-1.
Gutierrez, the heavyweight, lost his match when Tsuyoki grabbed him by the shoulders, lifted him with ease, and slammed him to the mat flat on his back. In scholastic wrestling, that would be a 2-point takedown, but in freestyle it counts as a pin.
“End of sophomore year, I got thrown like that by the fourth seed in the state right now, Kenneth Clark,” said Gutierrez, who spent the last six months recovering from a torn ACL. “There’s bigger guys here in the states. It’s freestyle. We just switched it from collegiate to freestyle, and I only practiced freestyle for about 20 minutes before I came here.”
The Japanese wrestlers, on a tour that began in the Bay Area and touched upon Sacramento and Yosemite, brought a different style and intensity. Only Golden Valley’s Vazquez was able to score a point, when he earned a 1-point takedown in the first round.
“It’s a unique experience, showing the community that wrestling is much broader than just what we see on a daily basis and in dual meets here,” Tiger Wrestling coach Josh Adams said. “It’s an international sport that’s been going for as long man has been around.”