By Jordan Xiao & Sandy Grossman
The varsity wrestling team competed in its penultimate Rio Hondo League dual meet on Thursday, January 22 at La Canada High School. The Tigers as a whole fell 45-30 to the Spartans, but individual wrestlers made strong showings for one of the season’s hardest-fought meets.
South Pas collected a total of four pins against La Canada, with junior Caleb St. Julian and senior Harry Yun flooring their opponents in their first periods. Senior Nour Elsayed trapped his foe at 10-2 in the third period, while fellow senior Angel Amaral held an 18-9 lead before pinning the opposition six seconds before the third period buzzer.
Senior Julian Lopez grappled in one of the night’s closest matches, losing by a single point after his opponent escaped in the last two seconds of the match. Juniors Emiliano Sornoso and Jason Takarabe compensated for the team score by defeating their foes 3-0 and 8-4 respectively, but the Spartans’ dominance in the upper weight classes coupled with a South Pas forfeit helped close the night with La Canada 15 points ahead.
““It was good to be competitive with La Canada, and it gave us a good gauge to where [our wrestlers] are,” assistant coach Victor Gonzalez said. “We have our strengths in the lower weight classes, they have theirs in the upper classes, and they capitalized on that.”
The team’s next competition is the critical Morro Bay Varsity Tournament from Friday, January 23 to Saturday, January 24, which will influence seeding for league finals the following weekend. Despite being 0-4 in league as a team, the Tigers have high hopes for their veterans, with several likely to make CIF as individual competitors.
“We’ve been building up from where we started this season and we’ve made a good progression,” Gonzalez said.
The Tigers face Hoover at home on Tuesday, Jan. 27 for the final dual meet of the season. Rio Hondo League Finals for wrestling will be held the following Saturday, January 31 at Monrovia High School.