By Jordan Xiao
Photos by Raj Jain
The wrestling team grappled against Hoover High School on the home mat for its final dual meet of the season on Tuesday, January 27, tying the Tornadoes 39-39 in match points. The Tigers were officially given a loss, however, after a secondary competitive provision granted the win to Hoover for earning one more pin than South Pas.
The meet opened with two forfeits from Hoover in the 106 and 113 pound classes, followed by a pin from junior Caleb St. Julian (120 lbs) in the second period. The Tigers faltered slightly in the 130-140 pound range, with junior Emiliano Sornoso (145 lbs) falling at a close 8-9, but two pins from senior Julian Lopez (152 lbs) and junior Jason Takarabe (160 lbs) brought the Tigers back into a comfortable lead. Sophomore Mason Lee (170 lbs) bumped the Tigers up another three points with a well-fought 10-5 match.
The upper class matches turned out to be the night’s decisive factors. Sophomores Brandon Yung (195 lbs) and Michael Zepeda (285 lbs) gave strong performances but were ultimately floored by the more experienced opposition, granting the Tornadoes a total of four pins to the Tigers’ three. Two forfeits from South Pas negated the effect of Hoover’s earlier ones.
“It’s kind of the same story that’s been following us [for dual meets] this whole year,” assistant coach Victor Gonzalez said. “Our lower weights are solid, while our upper weights are less experienced.”
Despite being 0-5 as a team, the Tigers have high hopes for their individual prospects at Rio Hondo League finals, to be hosted at Monrovia High School on Saturday, January 31. Wrestlers must place in the top three for their classes to advance to CIF playoffs in February.
“[We need to] work on techniques, bring up the intensity, and work hard the next few days,” Lee said.