The Most Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament was presented to Gabriela Martinez, the 126 lb. champ from Klein Collins.
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2024 Klein Collins Tiger Classic Girls Edition

On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 19-20th, Klein Collins High School, a northern suburb of Houston held their 20th annual Tiger Classic Wrestling tournament. This year’s version had 28 teams and over 260 Girls participating. A majority of the teams represented the greater Houston area; stretching from Galveston County to Southmoore, Oklahoma, and Kingwood to San Antonio.  Two preliminary rounds and a consolation round were held on Friday evening, with the remainder of the bouts taking place on Saturday.

With late season nicks and dings, there a few ranked wrestlers who normally would have participated in this tournament that did not take part. Nevertheless, there were still 37 ranked wrestlers taking the mat this weekend, and 24 in the Top Ten, as well as three State Champions from 2023.  This was definitely a tournament to move up the ladder in the rankings, especially since this is probably the last tournament in the Houston area where full Varsity lineups would be present.  Any rankings that are mentioned in this article are from the Texas Wrestling mid-January posted top 20.

100 lbs:

There were six ranked wrestlers in this weight class. Three of them would be upset during the championship round. Top seed and #4 ranked, Christine Tran of Jersey Village, was knocked out of the tournament by an injury suffered in the semifinals to #17 Maddison Parker of Conroe Oak Ridge. Parker made it to the Finals with a 3:55 pin of 4th seed, Valerie Moreno-Barbo, who is ranked #7.  On the other side of the bracket, Third seed and #8, Heaven Herrera of Conroe Grand Oaks, upset second seed and #6, Chloe Hanes of Klein Oaks, with a 14-6 decision.

In the final match, Herrera (34-4) and Parker (22-7)  tied up for the first minute until Herrera shot a semi-fireman’s carry and put Parker on the mat. Parker recovered to her knees, but Parker did not lose control of the leg. Herrera changed her single to a double, picked Parker and dumped her back on the mat. She then did what all coaches love to see, but they don’t get it most of the time, Herrera immediately sunk a reverse half, kept her weight on Parker’s upper body and lifted Parker’s head for the pin at 1:36.  There’s a good chance these two may see each other at the District 8 tournament the first week of February. 

Pictured: Heaven Herrera, Conroe Grand Oaks, 100 lb Champ. Photo: Brian S. Doyle

Third place was picked up by Alissa Perez of Klein with a 1:49 fall over Blayklee Vasquez of Southmoore, OK.

107 lbs: 

The two ranked wrestlers in this weight class were in the same side of the bracket #8 Navidad Martinez of Klein (24-8) faced #9 Rebecca Riddling of San Antonio Churchill (36-16) in the Semifinals. Martinez would hold her seed and ranking by pinning Ridling at 2:44 to qualify for the finals. 

Top seed Yvette Zepeda (26-4) of Langham Creek was upset in the first round by ninth grader, Kamryn Quinn (21-12) of Conroe Grand Oaks. Quinn made it as far as the Semis where she was defeated in the first period by the 4th seed, Amanda Alvarado Aldana (30-12) of Cy Springs.

Navidad Martinez and Alvarado Aldana both entered the finals after pinning their way through their sides of the bracket. While this match would not end with a pin, a dominating performance would be seen by the crowd.  Martinez would start the scoring off halfway through the first period with a tie-up/back trip, with Alvarado landing on her back on the edge of the mat. Martinez would cover for a two-point nearfall before being whistled for being out of bounds.  After  the restart, Martinez would ride Alvarado for the rest of the period, primarily using a double-leg ride.  Alvarado chose top for the second, but could not keep control for more than eight seconds, as Martinez escaped. The two girls fought for better position for almost a minute and a half before Martinez was able to use a hip-throw to put Alvarado on her back for a second time for a three-point nearfall. Alvarado was able to reverse Martinez when she found Martinez’ weight was too high. As they went into the third period, Martinez was leading 10-2, and on bottom.  Martinez’ first move was to drop her head to the mat, and Alvarado slid right over her head. Alvarado was looking a bit gassed. Martinez now had a fifteen-point lead, but it took a ref who was sitting on the sideline to get up and tell the alternate ref the score, before the whistle was finally blown. Martinez wins the gold with a TF 1.5 19-4 victory.

Top seed Yvette Zepeda of Langham Creek, won six consolation matches, five by pin, to take third place.

114 lbs: 

As soon as #3 ranked Vanessa De La Cruz (38-5) of Conroe Woodlands College Park was a late addition to the bracket, as a #26 seed no less, a semifinal match-up with #2 Chamille Bryson (27-4) of Cy Creek to see who would have the honor of challenging #1 ranked, returning State champion, Riley Rayome (36-0).  Bryson and De La Cruz faced each other in the finals of the Chicken Wing Tournament the previous weekend, with Bryson winning with a stunning thirty second pin.  In this rematch, De La Cruz was on the winning side of a 4:09 pin.

Pictured: Riley Rayome, Conroe The Woodlands, 114 lb. Champ. Photo: Brian S. Doyle

Rayome pinned her way to the finals to face her District 8 rival, De La Cruz.  Rayome would get the first takedown after a failed DLC ankle pick. Rayome grabbed her head/chin and circled around until she could hook a leg for her points. DLC stood but couldn’t get free, and would spend the rest of the period on the bottom.  De La Cruz chose bottom and would stay there with Rayome extending her lead with a three-point nearfall that she held on to for thirty seconds. Going into the third with De La Cruz on top trailing 5-0. Rayome was able to face De La Cruz, forcing a stalemate. De La Cruz gave up a point to start in the neutral position. Rayome defended another shot and circled behind for a takedown to make it 8-0;  she rode out the last twenty-eight seconds for a major decision and the title.

Bryson would win two tech falls in the consolations, by a combined total score of 32-1 for third place…

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Written by Brian S. Doyle

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