AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Heavyweights Giovanni Seurran (27-2) of Palmdale and Jason Fonzi of Quartz Hill and 112-pounder Jeff Merrill (25-1) of Lancaster also are in the field. Fonzi went 8-0 while winning his weight class at last week’s Bobby Loughridge Tournament at Highland. Remembering De John: Twelve-time Golden League champion Highland, which won the first three of this season’s High Desert tournaments – the Lancaster Invitational, Quartz Hill Rebel Classic and Bobby Loughridge – is attempting a title defense today in the Sam De John Tournament at San Fernando High. Former San Fernando wrestling coach Sam De John got Highland coach Mike Young started in wrestling and coaching, leading to Young taking a state-leading 601 career victories into this weekend. “He was the man who really changed my life and the lives of a lot of other people and someone I really miss,” Young said of De John, who died in 2003. Young will have most of his 30-7 team at San Fernando for competition scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Host Antelope Valley High and four other Southern Section top-10 wrestling teams compete in the final rounds of the Golden Challenge today. The first two rounds of the 13-team event’s individual-competition tournament concluded Friday. The last of four varsity tournaments scheduled by Antelope Valley School District teams this season, the Golden Challenge features Lakewood (ranked No. 8 in Div. III), Monrovia (No. 5 in Div. VI), Bishop Union (No. 9 in Div. VI), Antelope Valley (No. 10 in Div. V) and a split squad from Highland (No. 3 in Div. V). Competition resumes at 10 a.m. with a field that includes Golden League entries Lancaster, Knight and Quartz Hill. Top area entries include Antelope Valley’s Eric Timson (145 pounds), a returning Masters Meet qualifier who is 23-3 with 16 pins and five technical falls this season. Young’s son and De John’s godson, Stuart Young, a former Highland wrestler who now is Littlerock’s wrestling coach, will have his team at San Fernando. The De John has one of its stronger fields this year, with defending Southern Section Div. V Dual Meet champion Royal of Simi Valley, defending City Section champion Bell and 10-time City Section champions San Fernando and El Camino Real of Woodland Hills. Highland is one of four Southern Section top-10 teams on hand, with Royal (top-ranked in Div. V), Simi Valley (No. 9 in Div. V) and Crespi of Encino (No. 6 in Div. VI). Looking ahead: Highland’s bid for a fourth consecutive Golden League championship will be challenged by visiting Antelope Valley in a Feb. 1 league finale. Both are undefeated in league and ranked in the Southern Section Div. V top 10. The only Golden League team to defeat Highland in a league match was Littlerock, which won in 2002 and went on to win the Southern Section Div. VI Dual Meet championship. The league tournament, which determines Southern Section qualifiers, is scheduled Feb. 4 at Quartz Hill, with surviving wrestlers advancing to the Feb. 17-18 section individual finals. The Masters Meet, the final qualifier for the State Meet, will be held Feb. 24-25 at Fountain Valley. State competition will be March 3-4 at Bakersfield. Dave Shelburne, (818) 713-3609 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!