By Brandon Yung
Photos by Hana Tyszka
Seven Tigers wrestled their way to CIF at the most recent Rio Hondo League qualifiers tournament at Hoover High School, on Wednesday, February 10th. Out of the ten Varsity wrestlers that competed, four wrestlers finished at fourth place and three managed to make it to the final rounds of their weight classes: all of which earned second place.
The tournament involved all the Rio Hondo League wrestling teams: Monrovia, Hoover, St. Paul, La Cañada, San Marino, and South Pasadena. The varsity wrestlers of the teams all fought for their chances at CIF; they had to attain 3rd place or higher in their respective classes to move forward.
All but one mat was rolled up for the final round of the competition. Wrestlers who managed to win both of their first two matches were paired up on the center-stage mat, battling for either first or second place. Win or loss, the athletes at this point were guaranteed into CIF. The wrestlers were lined up before their matches. The lower weight classes consisted of the four remaining Tigers whose simple black singlets contrasted with the slick white and blue of the ubiquitous San Marino.
South Pasadena featured wrestlers in the first three matches of the final round. Sophomore George Barrone (106 lb), with a bye and a win under his belt, started off the matches. Barrone was quickly pinned in his first period. Sophomore Irvin Perez (113 lb) grappled it out with San Marino. He lost due to a point disadvantage at the end of the match. Senior Caleb St. Julian (126 lb), also faced against a San Marino Titan, was caught and pinned in the first period. Three matches after St. Julian, senior Emiliano Sornoso (152 lb) had to face off with another state-placing Titan. Sornoso was no match for his opponent’s calculated legwork, eventually losing by technical fall (a point disadvantage of 14). All four Tigers garnered second place.
The six hour tournament was full of tension. The elimination style rounds started off rooting out the competitors who couldn’t make it to the top three. Before the final round, matches on any of the three mats were for the third or fourth place of weight classes. Sophomore Sebastian Chinen (145 lb) fought a tumble-and-roll match, eventually catching and pinning his opponent early on. Seniors Parker Bell (170 lb) and Jason Takarabe (160 lb) were also both able to make it to third place. Bell performed a swift pin on his opponent, while Takarabe managed to pull through to the end of his match with a point advantage.
All seven Tigers who made third place or higher will prepare for CIF competition, including training with the San Marino team on Titan mats. The qualified wrestlers will head to the CIF Individual Tournament at Santiago High School on 2/19.