SANTA ANA, Calif. – In its last home match of the 2017 season, the Santa Ana College Wrestling team took on Rio Hondo College in a Southwest Conference matchup on Wednesday night.
Both teams were coming off good performances in the South State Duals where Santa Ana took 5th place and Rio Hondo placed third, making it a highly anticipated match. The Dons went into the match ranked ninth in the state while the Road Runners represented the 12th ranked team.
The women took the mat first in an expedition match to get the night going. Polette Montano dominated in all three periods against Alejandra Maldonado, winning the bout 12-2. She returned to the mat for another expedition at the end of the night, this time against Melissa Estrada. It took Montano just a minute and five seconds to earn a fall and improve to 2-0 against the Rio Hondo women.
The official match started with the Don's Samuel Galdamez-Valle wrestling against Adrian Guevarra in the 125-pound weight class. Guevarra took the lead with an escape early in the third period until Valle scored a takedown to go up by one. With just seconds left, Guevarra stood up to tie the bout and eventually went on to win because of his advantage in riding time.
After going down 3-0 to start, the Dons responded by winning the rest of the bouts they competed in. Santa Ana's Edgar Gonzalez started the run by earning a fall in the first period of the 133-pound bout, putting the Dons up 6-3. He was followed by Joshua Fuentes - Norikiyo who took out his opponent 7-2 in the 141-pound weight class. Jeremy Huang gave the Dons their third win, taking his bout by a score of 9-0.
Wolfgang Bernal was next up for the Dons, wrestling at 157 against James Schmidt. This was the match to watch, with Schmidt being ranked third individually in the state, while Bernal sits at fifth. Bernal was aggressive early on and took a 5-0 lead going into the third. The tide quickly turned, as Schmidt scored a takedown and four points on a near fall to take a 6-5 lead. With time running out, Bernal made his move with an escape to tie and then ran out the clock to win 7-6 because of his advantage in riding time.
Santa Ana took a 16-9 lead after the Bernal win and extended it when Brandon Tierney earned a fall in the 174-pound bout, putting the Dons up 22-9.
The last bout would be the decisive one, as the Dons knew they would forfeit two more bouts and give Rio Hondo an automatic 12 points to bump their score to 21. Leonel Perez took the mat for the Dons, wrestling at 184 against Leo Barrera. With the match on the line, Perez came up clutch with a fall in the second period.
With that, the Dons earned the 28-21 win against the Road Runners in a big conference matchup. Next, the Dons will travel to Cuesta College for the Meathead Movers Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 21st.