Cal High tops La Serna in dual match
WHITTIER – California High School, behind a six-pin performance, defeated host La Serna, 57-18, in a Del Rio League (DRL) dual match Tuesday.
The Condors, who have captured numerous DRL titles through the years, pinned five of the six matches in the first period.
“I was worried about La Serna,” 20-year Cal High wrestling coach Doug Loo said. “To get to Santa Fe, we had to beat the Lancers.”
Loo was referring to their big showdown with Santa Fe on Thursday. Results weren’t available at press time.
Either Santa Fe or Cal has won the Del Rio League championship over the last 20 years. Pioneer, which used to be in the DRL, won league once in all of those years.
The five Cal wrestlers who pinned their La Serna opponents in the first period were: Isaac Fernandez, 106 lbs. (31 seconds elapsed), Sebastian Bojorquec,113 lbs. (51 sec.), Nicholas Oregel, 145 lbs. (15 sec.), Paul Garcia, 152 lbs. (16 sec.) and Collin Sanchez, 220 lbs. (1 min.).
Garcia, with the pin, now has 29 for the season, which includes tournaments. “It’s awesome wrestling at Cal,” Garcia said. “It’s a great program.”
Fernandez, a junior, started the dual with a pin and has always wrestled in the lowest weight class since his freshman year.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking at first to start the match,” Fernandez said. “It always feels nice to beat La Serna and my cousin (Alexis Sotelo) plays water polo and I like to rub it in.”
The three other match wins came by way of decisions for the Condors.
David Arevalo (138 lbs.) defeated La Serna’s Joshua Mendoza, 10-4. Hugo Alvarado (160 lbs.) had a close win over Steven Velasquez, 6-4, for a 30-18 lead in the dual.
Two weight classes later, Ermez Villa (185 lbs.) gave the Condors the match win with a close 4-3 decision and a 39-18 lead with three weight classes left. The two other Cal wins came by way of forfeit wins.
La Serna’s three wins all came by pins in the lower weights. They were: Caleb Garcia, 120 lbs., Ben Peregrine, l26 lbs. and David Lopez, 132 lbs.
Garcia and Lopez both finished third in the CIF finals last year and hope to improve on that in their senior year.
“I just wanted to put on a show for my last (home) match,” said Garcia, who is the younger brother of La Serna coach Joshua Garcia. “I try to keep my eye on the state rankings and see who is going into the division.”
Lopez (12-2 record) also has his eye on the bigger prize this season: “League sets the tone for the postseason.”
Lopez’ opponent in the 120 Lb. weight class was against one of the top girl wrestlers in the state in Kelly Escamilla of Cal.
“It’s the first time I’ve wrestled a girl in high school,” said Lopez. “I was taking it slow at the beginning and didn’t want to rush anything and make a mistake, especially on senior night.”
Lopez had built up an 11-0 lead after the first period and pinned Escamilla at 1:07 of the second period.
Escamilla, who wrestled up a weight and is ranked sixth in the nation in the 126 lb. weight class, said she was a little nervous before the match.
“I get a little nervous and I went up there and did what I could and just got caught,” she said.
Escamilla, who was seeded first, finished second in CIF State competition in the girls division.
Loos said that Escamilla has been one of her best wrestlers in all of his years at Cal.
“She’s done some special things here at Cal High,” Loo said.
Garcia was a little short in personnel for the match, but knew they had to give it their best.
“No matter what circumstances you’re put into, you can’t make excuses,” Garcia said. “I was proud of my freshman, Ben (Peregrine). It was his first varsity match and he got the win.”