Varsity boys’ wrestling loses to Norco

Varsity boys’ wrestling fell to Norco 30-41 in a home dual Thursday, Dec. 3. The defeat marks the Mustangs’ first home dual loss since February 2014 against Rowland High School.

Seniors Micah Maes and Spencer Hoh and junior Christian Elias each earned six team points with pins. Junior Brian Mariscal and senior Barnabas Yi led the team in offensive scoring, racking up 18 and 16 individual points, respectively.

“Going into my match I knew I had a good chance of winning just by looking at my opponent. I knew I was faster and more athletically built,” Yi said. “Knowing that I needed a [four point] major had put some pressure on me but I still needed that major so I was going to do whatever it takes to get it.”

Early into the dual, 106 lb freshman Ryan Reyes was pinned, giving up an early 0-6 deficit. The Cougars received an additional six points from a bye at the 113 lb weight class. Mariscal slowed Norco’s momentum by earning five team points in an 18-3 technical fall in the 120 lb match. However, 126 lb senior Devin Robles was pinned by a 2015 CIF placer early in the first period, giving up another six points to the Cougars.

As the 152 lb match commenced, the Mustangs found themselves down 14-27. Junior Christian Elias scrambled into a cradle position, pinned his opponent and earned six; 160 lb senior Alec Dunham was pinned by a banana split the match afterwards, giving up an additional six points.

The Mustangs gained momentum with Maes’ six-point pin at 170 lbs, in which referees also deducted a point from the Cougars for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Although sophomore Jonathan Salas followed with a 0-1 loss, Yi earned four team points with a major decision and Hoh added an additional six with a pin in the following matches. With one weight class left, the Mustangs trailed 30-35. They needed a pin.

“[Spencer’s match] brought my hope up, as well as the team’s. It doubled the intensity of the dual. Spencer brought the dual to a point where we could win,” senior Andrew Franco said.

In the final match, heavyweight sophomore Vincent Narvaez struggled to score in neutral and escape from the bottom position throughout the second period. The opposing wrestler rode Narvaez on top and pinned him, solidifying Norco’s victory 30-41.

“It sucks that we came down to one match but I knew I did my job so it’s alright,” Hoh said. “They beat us by being more physical but they were also bad sports. No one was mad at Vince but he was mad at himself.”

Going into its first preseason dual, Walnut’s lineup consisted of seven seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and one freshman. Out of 13 wrestlers, five were returning varsity starters. Senior Joshua Abeyta, who has never lost in a league dual, did not wrestle due to an ACL injury.

“It was hard because I have been out for so long and I’m eager to get back on the mat and I know I could’ve done something if I wrestled,” Abeyta said. “I could’ve racked up more points.”

After its first home dual loss in over a year, the team will face Diamond Bar, which it defeated last year, in the gym Wednesday, Dec. 9.

By Bryan Wong, Editor-in-Chief

Photo by Sajid Iqbal