By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
High school wrestling may not be as popular as basketball or soccer during the winter season, but as it relates to Suburban League wrestlers and coaches, Thursday, January 5, 2017 will be one that many will remember for a long time. That was the date that featured a girls league meet for the first time.
Cerritos High hosted John Glenn High and while the scores were heavily one-sided in favor of Glenn, both for the boys and girls, the talk of the night centered on the girls.
“It’s come a long way,” said Glenn boys head coach Monico Enriquez. “I think it’s heading in the right direction. I really do think it’s going to help the sport overall.”
“It was a great feeling,” said Cerritos head coach Bryan Jernigan. “The girls got a chance to showcase their stuff. Everybody is new and the fact that everybody is new, they all went out there and had a great time. I think they have something to take back to their respective schools and hopefully grow this sport in the Suburban League. I think that’s going to be the way wrestling stays around here.”
The Glenn girls defeated the Lady Dons 60-12 primarily because of half a dozen byes in the 12 weight classes. After Glenn freshman Devyn Gomez had a bye at 101 lbs., the first girls meet saw Cerritos sophomore Amaris Pedroza (111) pin Glenn freshman Sonia Nunez. Following a bye at 116, Glenn went up 18-6 when freshman Nicole Demasi (121) pinned junior Sierra Day, who had briefly gone up 2-0.
Cerritos junior Desiree Estrada (126) then picked up a bye, making it 18-12. But after that, senior Christina Dominguez (137) defeated freshman Rebekah Parker and freshman Dayna Gomez (143) pinned freshman Megan White before the Lady Eagles had four straight byes. The final match, at 235, saw sophomore Keyscha Rodriguez pin freshman Kaycee Fitero.
“It’s definitely history-making here,” said Glenn girls head coach Hector Ramirez. “I’m really excited that the girls had the opportunity to start a league. I’m really proud of all of the girls from all of the schools because this sport is really growing. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
“I’m not disappointed [of the loss] because I understand that we also had a bye or two,” Jernigan said. “We did make matchups so that girls could get mat time. I think that the girls on our team will actually go back and start actively recruiting to fill those spots. Them losing because of byes actually helps us out in terms of growth in this sport.”
The Glenn girls improved to 4-1 overall while Cerritos dropped to 1-2 overall.
The boys then took over and after Glenn sophomore Jason Amaya picked up a bye at 106, the next three wrestlers all picked up first period pins to put the Eagles (12-2 overall) up 24-0 en route to a 66-12 victory. Cerritos would pick up the first of its two wins when junior Francisco Diaz (132) won on a cradle move at 1:09 of the third period to defeat sophomore Jason Barrios. Diaz led 3-2 after the first period and 8-5 after the second period.
The Dons were primed to pick up another win when senior Ethan Kim (138) was leading junior Adrian Villa 1-0 after the second period. But a takedown with 32 seconds remaining, followed by a pin at the buzzer allowed Villa to steal the victory and put the Eagles up 30-6.
“What John Glenn has that our guys don’t have is the mental toughness that it takes to wrestle no matter what the situation calls for,” Jernigan said. “Ethan was wrestling at 138 when he should have been wrestling at 132. So he had it in his mind before the match that I should be wrestling at 132 instead of focusing on being the guy at 138.”
From that point on, the Eagles would get pins from senior Manolo Chin (145) with 11 seconds remaining in the second period, senior Isaack Juarez (152) with 52 seconds left in the first period, junior Daniel Arvizu (170) with 33 seconds left in the second period and junior Adrian Manzanares (160) with 13 seconds left in the first period to lead 48-6.
Cerritos senior Kevin Lee (182), who led sophomore Marcus Salazar 2-1 after two periods, went up 4-1 with a reversal, then pinned Salazar with four seconds left. Glenn senior Aaron Enriquez (220) would pin junior Ian Davis with 1:22 remaining in the third period and junior Josiah Delgado would earn a bye in the heavyweight class to end the boys meet.
“I thought we did very well for this point of the season,” Enriquez said. “We’re not exactly where we want to be yet. But I think we’re heading in the right direction. I saw a lot of good things; stuff we’ve been working on over the break.”
“Tonight, Glenn was really beatable,” Jernigan said. “Only in a couple of weight classes [did] they actually showed some stuff where they actually destroyed our guys. We wrestled guys up weight classes; we moved guys from [junior varsity]. Today, being the second to our last day of our vacation, we were down. We were down a lot of guys. So we had four guys who actually wrestled up in terms of going from j.v. to varsity and two guys wrestling up in terms of weight class.”
Glenn will compete in the Kern County Invitational today and Saturday before visiting Norwalk High on Tuesday and hosting Mayfair High on Thursday while Cerritos, with the boys evening its overall mark at 2-2, hosted Mayfair on Jan. 12 and will travel to Artesia High on Tuesday before hosting Bellflower High on Thursday.
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