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|Vic Moreno, Kirk White, B.J. Padden among winners at RPW Western Regional Qualifier|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
SAN JOSE, Calif. - You hear about them all the time.
Those guys who fell short of their own lofty expectations in college, but come back even more determined and driven when their collegiate days are done.
One of those guys is Vic Moreno.
The past two-time All-American from Cal Poly continues to stockpile momentum and victories after winning the Real Pro Wrestling Western Regional Qualifier late Saturday afternoon at the San Jose Convention Center.
Two weeks after downing Erkin Tadzhimetov at 121 pounds in freestyle to win the Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open, Moreno beat Tadzhimetov 4-2 in overtime to win the RPW Western Regional Qualifier on Saturday.
"I was disappointed with what I did in college - I had the potential to do a lot better than I did," Moreno said. "I'm still young and I'm giving this a shot at the next level and seeing what I can do. You see a lot of guys who still have that fire after college. They maybe didn't reach their potential in college and still want to prove themselves. I know that motivated me a lot - I still have a lot to prove."
The other six champions crowned at the RPW Qualifier included Martin Berberyan (132), Jerrod Sanders (145.5), Kirk White (163), B.J. Padden (185), Kyle Cerminara (211) and Mark Munoz (264.5)
The event on Saturday was the first of four RPW Regional Qualifiers as RPW gears up for Season Two of competition. The Northern Regional is set for Nov. 4 at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. The Eastern Regional is scheduled for Nov. 11 in Philadelphia with the Southern Regional slated for Nov. 18 in Tulsa, Okla.
Winners from those Regional Qualifiers then advance to the Super Challenge on Jan. 7 in San Jose. Winners from the Super Challenge will be placed on one of the teams that will compete in dual meets in Season Two of RPW. The dual meets are scheduled to start in late March, with the schedule close to being finalized.
Moreno came out aggressively in the finals, shooting in on a single and finishing for a takedown to lead 2-0. After Tadzhimetov tied it, neither wrestler scored in the second three-minute period and the match went to overtime. Moreno drove in on another single and finished for a takedown 43 seconds into overtime to win 4-2.
"I kind of arm-dragged him into a single and was able to finish it," Moreno said. "It wasn't one of my best techniques, but it was just there and I was able to take advantage of it. It was a tough match. They had a couple video reviews that took a while and that kind of broke my rhythm. I just couldn't get anything going, but it all worked out in the end."
Moreno, an assistant coach at Stanford, twice placed sixth at the NCAA Championships. He won University Nationals earlier this year.
"Real Pro Wrestling gives us a great opportunity to make a little money and maybe even get a little exposure on TV," Moreno said. "I like what they're doing with RPW. It's great for the sport, that's for sure."
White avenged a finals loss to Scott Owen from the Sunkist Open two weeks ago by taking charge early with an aggressive attack. White scored a takedown late in the first period to lead 2-0. He kept the pressure on en route to a 12-3 win. He scored eight of his points in succession with the clinch, where he was able to body-lock Owen out of bounds and then repeat the maneuver under RPW rules.
"Scott's a tough competitor," White said. "He beat me at Sunkist, and you know what, he doesn't want to lose to me and I don't want to lose to him. That's what a rivalry is made of. It's going to get heated when we wrestle and neither one of us is going to back down. The fans like to see guys get after it like we do."
White placed second to Joe Williams at the 2005 U.S. World Team Trials despite wrestling with a torn ACL. He missed the 2006 World Team Trials while recovering from the injury. American Donny Pritzlaff won a World Bronze Medal in freestyle at 163 last month.
"I'm 6-0 in my career against (Pritzlaff)," White said. "I've beaten World Champions and he's beaten World Champions now, and it just shows how tough our weight class is. It's very competitive."
In a battle of past University of Nebraska All-Americans, Padden outlasted former Husker teammate Travis Pascoe 14-13 in a wild finals match at 185. Close friends who trained together in college, Padden and Pascoe had lunch together between sessions after they both reached the finals. Padden wrestled 197 in college and Pascoe was at 184.
"That's the first time we've ever wrestled each other in competition, and it was a little weird," Padden said. "We're real good friends and we pretty much hung out together all weekend. You always know you're in for a battle when you wrestle Travis. He's a very tough competitor."
For more information on RPW, you can visit their website at www.realprowrestling.com.