By Sandy Grossman & Jordan Xiao
The wrestling team fell just short of placing at the 61st California Invitational Tournament, hosted from Friday, January 23 to Saturday, January 24 at Morro Bay High School. The Tigers earned a collective total of 28.0 points to finish 49th out of 63 teams at the prestigious event.
The 64-man double elimination tournament proved to be a challenging one for South Pas, with eight out of 10 participating Tigers eliminated in the tournament’s first day. Freshman Irvin Perez (106 lbs) pinned two opponents in the runoff brackets before being trapped on the mat himself by a wrestler from Highland High School. Senior Angel Amaral (138 lbs) earned one pin for the Tigers’ total, but lost his next match by a single takedown to an opponent from Hanford.
Senior Nour Elsayed (132 lbs) topped two opponents at 12-8 and 11-7, but fell in a close match to his class’ eighth place seed. Elsayed earned one last pin for the Tigers’ team score in the runoffs before being eliminated in his first match of the second day, two wins away from placing.
“I felt my own performance was adequate overall,” Elsayed said. “The tournament was the most difficult of the season with a full 64-man bracket.”
Senior Harry Yun (106 lbs) proved one of South Pas’s strongest contenders for a top eight placement, narrowly winning his first match 2-1 but dropping out of the main bracket at the hands of the eventual sixth place medalist from Oak Ridge. Yun’s four-win streak in the runoffs, which included two pins, was ended in the medaling round by the seventh place winner from Madera.
One of the team’s few heavyweights, sophomore Michael Zepeda, suffered a tough loss to an opponent from Hanford High School in the first round.
“The team, as a whole, did okay, but we’re looking to improve. I didn’t do very well myself, but I plan to train hard,” Zepeda said.
The Morro Bay CIT marks the end of the 2014-2015 tournament season for the Tigers, aside from Rio Hondo League finals at Monrovia HS on Saturday, January 31 and possibly CIF. The team’s last dual meet is at home against Hoover on Tuesday, January 27.