By Brandon Yung
The tensions were high and the competition fierce within the Gabrielino High School gym, this Saturday, December 12th. Despite these conditions, the varsity wrestling emerged successful, placing three weight classes at the ten way dual meet, which took place over the span of two days. The Tigers garnered first, second, and third place medals, which were earned by senior Emiliano Sornoso(152 lb), sophomore Sebastian Chinen(145 lb), and two others who shared the 3rd place award, respectively. The duel consisted of ten competing schools, including St. Paul, La Cañada, and Hoover High School — the three being part of the Rio Hondo League.
Schools versed others in dual style fashion, having each weight class pair up with another wrestler, setting matches in order of lightest to heaviest. Because there were ten schools, each wrestler was guaranteed nine matches — an amount much higher than the average tournament. This arrangement had the Tigers at a disadvantage however, being that, as usual, the wrestling squad was lacking wrestlers in four of the weight classes — namely the upper weights. Despite the communal disadvantage, South Pas was able to shine in individual performances
Senior Emiliano Sornoso(152 lb) was able to earn first place with nine consecutive match wins and one bye (a free win due to uneven number of players in the bracket), standing undefeated in the ten matches. Sornoso seemed to obtain the first place medal almost effortlessly, with his toughest match being 4-7 by the end of the final period. Sornoso was even wrestling a weight class higher than his category last year, however he plans on dropping back down to his native 140lb class soon.
Success was also found with a much younger member of the team. Sophomore Sebastian Chinen(145 lb) lost only one match as he successfully won eight matches and one bye. The only match Chinen lost was to Hoover, who displayed a strong mid-weight variety.
“I was really nervous at first because it was my second varsity tournament this year,” said Chinen. “I was really surprised at how well I did.”
Earning the 3rd place medal, Sophomore Fernando Sornoso and senior Parker Bell both switched off wrestling for the 170 lb weight category; they together were able to win seven out of their nine matches.
“We went in with many new faces, it was good with the successes we had [at the dual meet]… what was really valuable was getting our team more exposed, and getting a feel for what competition is gonna be like in our league,” said assistant coach Victor Gonzalez.
The wrestling squad looks to continue such a successful outing at Downey on Friday, December 18th for its next tournament.