Top Five Tournaments in Southern California
Battle for the Belt (Temecula Valley High)
For years, the Battle for the Belt tournament hosted by Temecula Valley High has summoned some of the top powers in California. Last year, team state champions Buchanan High smoked the field by ousting 300 plus points and five individual champions. From the quarterfinals and on, the viewers are treated with excellent matches of competitors who no doubt go on to do big things at the CIF state tournament. The final matches are highlighted by a single light in the middle of the mat as an announcer does play-by-play of the contested matches. Last year, out of the 28 finalists, five went on to claim individual championships at the big dance.
Five Counties (Fountain Valley High)
From the early 1970s until the early 2000s, Five Counties was the top tournament to appear in California. It was called the snake pit as it pitted the top teams in California. Most, if not all place winners, were predicted to challenge for individual honors at the state tournament. Even finishing in the blood round was an accomplishment by itself. Last year's tournament team champions were Central Coast power Gilroy High coached by former heavyweight UFC champion Daniel Cormier. Gilroy scored more than 300 points and had five finalists while winning three individual titles. The Five Counties tournament had four individual state champions and 34 state place winners wrestled in the event. The finals are wrestled in two mats while being lived stream via FloWrestling. All champions receive championship belts.
Tournament of Champions (Valencia High)
The Tournament of Champions allures the top powers in Southern California, including San Diego and state power Poway High. Since its early days hosted by El Camino College in Torrance, the TOC event has drawn many state champions and place winners in is 50 plus years. Last year's team champions were Poway High with over 300 points and 12 place winners. The finals are wrestled on one mat while the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place matches are also being wrestled. The tournament usually attracts 50 plus teams and it runs smoothly in a period of two days. Last year the tournament had over 60 wrestlers that competed at the California, Nevada, and Texas state tournament.
Newbury Park Invitational (Newbury Park High)
The Newbury tournament has become the most arduous event in Ventura County with all the talent they attract every year. The tournament is usually run during the first week of December on two gyms with the main gym being filled to is capacity with excited wrestling fans. What makes the event more attractive is that it pits two top teams in California in Poway and Clovis battling each other throughout the tournament trying to win the team title. Last season, Poway won the one-day tournament with 343 points, five champions, and 12 finalists. The tournament is double elimination and usually, around 29 schools attend the event. Last year, there were 252 wrestlers. 37 were state qualifiers, 10 state place winners and one left Rabobank Arena as a state champion.
El Cajon Invitational (San Ysidro High)
For 49-years, El Cajon Invitational has been the premier event in San Diego County by providing some of the best competition in Southern California. Last season, Buchanan High won the tournament with 368 points while easily outdistancing themselves from runner-up team Rancho Bernardo. The Bears had seven champions and a total of 12 place winners. Not just teams from California attend the event as teams from Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon have competed in previous years. The tournament is a 64-man double-elimination bracket and the finals are run in two mats with the top 8 finishers in each weight class receiving medals. Another great thing about the tournament is that the team champions receive free entry to next year’s event.