Story by John Salzer
For the team, it was about believing in themselves more than trying to win the dual. The Santa Ana College wrestling team went into #2 ranked Cerritos undermanned due to injuries sustained during the season. The Dons would be giving up five weight classes and would have to win all five of their matches by fall to tie and have a chance of winning by criteria. "We had our bumps, but that's all in the past," said head coach Vince Silva as he was encouraging the wrestlers in his pre-dual speech. "Basically, it's shake hands and let's wrestle, you've got to have fun out there."
The Dons started off the night down 0-6 after forfeiting 125 lbs. Edgar Gonzalez stepped in for the next match at 133 lbs. against Messiah Owens of Cerritos. Owens scored a takedown on Gonzalez halfway through the first period, followed by an escape from the Santa Ana wrestler. Neither was able to score for the rest of the period. The second period saw things to be more eventful, as Owens started off the period with an escape and a takedown, before Gonzalez responded with his own escape and takedown to close out the second period 5-4 in favor of Owens. It would then be Gonzalez's match the rest of the way, as he escaped after choosing bottom in the third period, followed by a penalty point against Owens after he would be called twice for stalling. Gonzalez then sealed the match by scoring a takedown followed by a two point near fall to win the match 10-5, getting Santa Ana 3 team points on the board.
At the 141 lb weight class Josh Fuentes-Norikiyo faced off against Nick Camacho, ranked #2 in the state. Camacho would jump out ahead in the first period, scoring a pair of takedowns while Fuentes-Norikiyo answered with a pair of escapes to go into the period down 4-2. Camacho would extend his lead by getting an escape out from bottom and then scoring his third takedown of the match, being up 7-2. Fuentes-Norikiyo was able to get a reversal from bottom, and rode Camacho out the remainder of the period to take away Camacho's accumulated riding time. Fuentes-Norikyo would get an escape from bottom in the third period, but neither wrestler would score for the remainder of the match, giving Camacho and Cerritos the win, putting them up 9-3 over Santa Ana.
149 lbs. saw a #4 vs. #6 ranked in state match, with Jeremy Huang (#4) representing the Dons while Devin Daugherty (#6) represented the Falcons. Neither wrestler could get the edge on their opponent in the first period, and the match went into the second period 0-0. Huang scored the first points of the match by getting a reversal against Daugherty and riding him out for the remainder of the period to lead 2-0 going into the last period. Daugherty chose bottom hoping to score an escape or reversal, but Huang proved to be a tough rider and was even awarded a penalty point after Daugherty was called twice for stalling on bottom. Huang would get the second win for the Dons 4-0 having also accumulated riding time, making the score of the dual 9-6 for Cerritos.
Wolfgang Bernal would represent Santa Ana at 157 lbs. against Nick Dozier. After coming close on a few scoreless scrambles, Bernal was able to capitalize towards the end of the period by scoring on Dozier to take the lead 2-0 going into the second period. Choosing bottom to start the second period, Bernal continued to dominate the match by scoring a two point reversal and riding Dozier out for the rest of the period. In the third period Dozier opted to take the neutral position in the hopes of trying to score takedown points. Bernal kept the offense going and scored a third takedown to take the lead 6-0. Bernal would let Dozier up for an escape in an attempt to get enough points for a majority decision, but Dozier played defensive and Bernal would win 7-1 with riding time added. This win tied the dual at 9-9 after a forfeit and four official matches.
With forfeits at the 165 and 174 weight classes, Leonel Perez wrestled in what was the final match of the dual at 184 lbs. against Blake Moser. There would be no advantage for either wrestler in the first period, with Perez being called for stalling after backing up. Moser would score first through an escape to begin the second period, but Perez would score a takedown and a 2 point near fall to put him up 4-1 in control of the match. A second stall call against Perez while attempting to stop Moser from escaping on the bottom would give Moser a penalty point and close the gap 4-2. Perez chose bottom to start the third period and ended up being caught in a cradle move that would give Moser a four point near fall and a 6-4 lead. Perez would escape from bottom but could not score a takedown, giving Moser a 6-5 win to close out the night. After two more forfeits at 197 and 285, Cerritos would win the dual by a total of 36-9.
The Dons will be on the road against when they face off against Palomar College on Wednesday, Nov. 8th at 7:00 p.m.