South Hills, led by Dakota Behr, wins the Damien wrestling tournament

For results on Damien, Five Counties and to look ahead to the next big tournaments, click here.

By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer
– While Etiwanda High School senior Jakob Miller extended his undefeated season on one mat, teammate J.J. Everard demonstrated on the adjacent mat the difficulty of staying unbeaten this deep into the wrestling season.
Everard dropped a 2-1 decision to defending CIF champion Dakota Behr of South Hills, which won the Damien High School Tournament of Champions on Saturday with 292 points to second-place Etiwanda’s 192.

“South Hills is a dynasty,” said Damien coach John Abad, whose Spartans finished ninth with 75 points. “This whole field was pretty tough. I’d say kids that finish in the top five here are going to place at CIF.”

Ontario finished third with 135 points, followed by Kaiser (129) and Apple Valley (122).

South Hills produced champions in six weight classes to Etiwanda’s three, but only once did the two schools match up in a final, the 189-pound brawl between Everard and Behr that was decided by a single point.

“Dakota kicks it into gear when something’s on the line,” South Hills coach Rob Froh said. “He does it in football, does it in baseball and he does it in wrestling.”

Perhaps more important than Everard getting his record tarnished, according to Etiwanda coach Larry Cutbirth Sr., was facing a wrestler the caliber of Behr, whom he may face down the road this season.

Etiwanda’s own defending CIF champion, Miller, won his 145- pound final over Oak Hills’ Zach VomSteeg 17-6. It was his 25th win in 25 matches.

“Coming off a CIF championship and going into CIF like this,” Miller said, “that’s pretty good.”

Etiwanda teammates Evan Coss and Larry Cutbirth Jr. won the 135- and 160-pound finals, respectively, but in drastically different fashion.

Coss pulled away from Ontario’s Sergio Reyes early in an eventual 20-10 victory while Cutbirth scratched out a gritty 5-3 comeback win over another Ontario wrestler. Jared Montanare led Cutbirth 3-2 entering the final two minutes, but an unnecessary- roughness call on Montanare tied the score at three before Cutbirth won it with a late reversal.

“I’m ecstatic to finish second,” Larry Cutbirth Sr. said.

“We’ve been consistently finishing in the top five this year, so I came here wanting to finish in the top five. South Hills is a really good team.”

Along with Ontario teammates Reyes and Montanare, undefeated Jaime Jimenez advanced to his final. The senior kept his record perfect and emerged the winner of the 140-pound class after surging to an 8-1 lead and holding on for a 10-1 win over South Hills’ Trevor Behr.

“There’s probably four or five wrestlers in the area who are undefeated right now,” Ontario coach Jimmy Gonzales said. “(Jimenez) wants to place in state. He’s got high hopes for himself this year.”

Kaiser produced a champion in dramatic fashion when Anthony Flores pinned Etiwanda’s Ramon Carlos in 3:15 to claim the 171-pound class. Kaiser, Ontario, La Puente, Walnut and Riverside North were the only schools to produce champions outside of South Hills and Etiwanda.

“I wanted our guys to come in and wrestle at a level they knew they could but hadn’t quite been getting to,” Froh said. “This is a lot crisper than we’ve been this year.”

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  • wrestling fan

    It was a good tournament. I am sure if Nv would have had their whole A team there not just the handful,the outcome would have been different. Good luck to all in league.

  • kurmugin

    Have not attended a high school wrestling event of any kind for 25 years until the Damien Invitational last Saturday. Very impressed by the turn out and the demeanor of everyone there. I was perplexed by the about one hour delay past the 9:30am starting time. Understand that it takes time to draw up all the matches at all the weights without knowing who is going to be there. The nature of the meet–invitational–would seem to indicate that the hosts had some idea of who was going to be there and gotten all that, or the bulk of it, done before the scheduled starting time. Shame to keep all the several hundred wrestlers, coaches, trainers, officials, and spectators sitting around all that time. When the matches did start, the tournament proceeded very smoothly. One other question. Why in the old gym instead of the newer, larger, nicer Events Center? Would have been more comfortable for everyone. Unspoken priorities?

  • Behr meet Calvary Chapel’s Morgan Mcintosh

    That 189 lb from Calvary chapel would destroy dekota behr, he would most likely pin him in the first round. Thats no joke either! I think that cat has a crazy number for victories and he’s like 80 something and 0.

  • diogenes

    Where does one learn how to wrestle competitively? Are there classes, clubs, or clinics? Judging by the number of frosh and soph wrestlers in these meets, the sport is being taught before these young men get in school. Where?


    Team one in Glendora High, Rosemead High has youth wrestling, El monte has SGV kids wrestling, etc. There are tons of tournaments for kids. Some people dont even know how huge wrestling is in the US. I have seen kids at the age of six already wrestling and tearing kids apart! There are even national tournaments for kids who are at that level.

  • Bulldog Momma

    diogenes to answer your question. There are many youth wrestling teams in the area. If you go to, you can probably find a team that out of your local high school. Alot of high schools practice year round and have open wrestling rooms.

  • diogenes

    Thamk you for the responses to my question. Great help.

  • Roberto Sanches

    The tournament was held in the old gym because on the same day Damien was holding an open house for the incoming freshman.

  • J


  • miller is 25-0 because they etiwanda does not go to tough tournaments, if he would have wrestled at 5 counties or temecula valley invitational it would be a different story

  • ryan

    jacob is one of the best wrestlers ive seen i know him were good friends and he on state last year

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