CHS wrestling falls short after frantic finish
Even after long standoffs like junior Vicente Lopez, 122, endured to pin down Charter Oak’s Josh Garcia, 122, the Claremont High School wrestling team fell short Tuesday night 30-41, ending their season with an overall 8-5 record, 0-5 within the Sierra League.
The Wolfpack finished strong during their senior recognition night after suffering from a 26-point deficit but the Chargers, who beat Sierra League top contender Ayala High, prevailed. However, there were a few matches head coach Gerald Escalante noticed that turned the match from a landslide to a nail-biter.
“They brought the spread down and a lot of players felt great,” Escalante said. “They all didn’t give up.”
It was challenging at first when the Chargers gained control of the match. Just as sophomore Joseph Brown, 108, locked CO sophomore Vincent Zavala, 108, by the leg, he lost his grip and was locked by the torso, giving the Chargers a 0-15 lead.
Lopez revived the Wolfpack as he pinned down Garcia by the ribs and earned three points, 3-21.
The Chargers felt comfortable but showed signs of hesitation when senior T.J. Hinkson, 134, approached the wrestling floor. After suffering from a five-week back injury at the South Hills Dual Meet Tournament, he wanted to finish his season strong.
“As a comeback, I really wanted to beat them,” Hinkson said. “Since this is my first match after my injury, this match was really personal to me.”
Right after the referee signaled to begin, Hinkson quickly charged toward CO junior Jeffery Luster, 134, and brought him to the ground. Charter Oak eventually grasped him down but he escaped.
Whenever the audience was certain that Hinkson got a good hold of Luster, the buzzer rang and forced him to start over.
This pivotal moment turned into a grudge match as both competitors dodged and gave everything to strike each other. The audience was exhilarated by Hinkson’s determination and saw an athlete with a mission.
As both competitors were near the edge of the circle, the audience cheered as Hinkson threw Luster down by the hip, allowing him to earn six points, 9-26.
“I didn’t think the hip toss would work but it did,” Hinkson said. “I knew I had to get him tired.”
That victory was what the Wolfpack needed for a potential combat. CHS senior Malik Webster, 145, then managed to lock CO junior Matt Fortugno, 152.
The audience’s roar intensified for the Wolfpack. As they shouted and banged the bleachers in excitement, CHS junior Danny Han, 184, quickly dominated to earn six points after placing head lock within 30 seconds on CO sophomore Daniel Hayes, shrinking the deficit to 24-41. Han gave the audience credit for his quick victory.
“It [the excitement] was exhilarating,” Han said. “This was the closest we’ve gotten to beating Charter Oak.”
Despite the loss, the Wolfpack held their heads high and once again congratulated some of the victories the seniors earned. Escalante said he could not be more proud of his athletes as they now prepare to host the Sierra League Finals, February 15, at Claremont High.
“This season, we worked really hard compared to what we did last year,” Escalante said. “They were all excellent.”
Defensive takes over in girls soccer win
The Wolfpack claimed victory against South Hills, 2-1, Tuesday at Covina District Field. Head coach Tim Tracey said their defense played well and players like sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Forteson and senior mid-fielder Hannah Chua stepped up.
“Defensively, they played well and everyone stepped up saving goals,” Coach Tracey said.
With the success they achieved, the Lady Wolfpack is now focused to face the Spartans Friday, 5:30 p.m., at Damien High. Tracey admits the Spartans are a solid team, but if the Wolfpack manages to split them in the second half, they may claim another with for Claremont.