SAC Wrestling Takes 12th at State Championships, Perez and Patel Earn Podium Finishes

SAC Wrestling Takes 12th at State Championships, Perez and Patel Earn Podium Finishes
Written by John Salzer
NORWALK, Calif. - The Santa Ana College wrestling team sent four wrestlers to state, competing against the 20 other programs in the nation, seeing how they would do after a tough season with injuries, holes in the lineup and continued challenges as the state continues to battle Covid-19. All wrestlers were able to get through to the state without any issues and completed the weigh-ins to start their final battles for the state championships. Representing the Dons were Hector Camarena at 133 pounds, Zayn Patel at 141 pounds, Nicholas Poma at 157 pounds, and Saeed Perez at 165 pounds.
Day 1
133 pounds - Hector Camarena
Camarena's first match would be in the round of 16 against the 4 seed of the north, Preston Bagan of Shasta. Bagan would be the more aggressive wrestler, getting an early takedown, and also scoring near fall points in the first period. He would ride Camarena out which would leave him with a hard hill to climb to start the second period. The Dons wrestler would be able to get an escape point at the start of the second period after Bagen opted to try and go for a technical fall, choosing the top position. Camarena would also score a takedown against Bagen, but the Shasta wrestler would get an escape at the end of the period, leading Camarena by a score of 15-3. Camarena would once again score an escape, but Bagen would score a takedown to seal the deal and win the match by 18-5 with riding time, sending Camarena to the consolation bracket.
Camarena would be matched against Dylan Duncan of Sacramento City in the consolation round. Camarena would start strong with a takedown, but Duncan would turn the tables with an escape, and a quick takedown to pinning Camarena and ending the 133 pound wrestler's season. Camarena finishes his sophomore year at Santa Ana College with an 8-12 record, having placed 4th at the 2021 Meathead Movers Tournament, 6th place at the CCCAA Southern Regionals, and having qualified for the 2021 CCCAA State Wrestling Championships.
141 pounds - Zayn Patel
Zayn Patel would enter the tournament as the 3 seed from the southern region, facing off against Will Torres of West Hills, who entered the tournament as the alternate 6 seed from the north. Zayn would make quick work of his opponent by a takedown, then consecutive near fall scores to end the match with a technical fall score of 16-0 before the end of the first period. He would then wrestle against Frank Kendal of Sacramento City, who was the number 1 seed from the north. Kendal would score a takedown in the first period, and his riding skills would prove too much for Patel to work an escape. The score would be 2-0 in Kendal's favor going into the second period. Patel would choose the bottom position in the second period, in the hopes that he could get an escape and work an offensive. However, a missed switch from bottom attempt was countered by Kendal, and continued arm bars would not give Patel an opportunity to get the needed escape point. Kendal would choose the bottom position in the third, and work three takedowns and riding time in to score a majority decision with 10-2.
Patel would wrestle his third match of the day against Daniel Shaharuddin of Skyline College in the consolation bracket. The first period would be a non-scoring rounds, but not without Patel and Shaharuddin trading unsuccessful takedown attempts, with neither wrestler able to gain an advantage against the other. Patel would score the first points of the match after he managed an escape from bottom in the second period. He would then add onto his score with a takedown and riding out his opponent to enter the third period leading 3-0. Shaharuddin would choose neutral in the hopes of catching up, but Patel would manage another takedown that took his opponent straight to his back, securing the fall at 6 minutes and 18 seconds. This would be Patel's first career fall, and also earn Santa Ana the first placing of the state tournament.
157 pounds - Nicholas Poma
Poma would wrestler against the 3rd seed from the north, Temistocle Politi of Shasta College. Poma would try to go for his trademark throwing game, but would be countered by Politi and be scored when making his first dedicated attempt. Poma would be behind 2-1 to start the second period, and would tie the score 2-2 after earning an escape point. However, two pairs of takedowns by Politi would seal the match, and Poma would not be able to capitalize on any further offensive takedown attempts, losing the round of 16 match 6-3. In his consolation match, Poma would wrestle Sami Barakat of Cuesta College. Poma would start strong with a takedown and near fall points, leading 8-2. After a restart going out of bounds, Barakat would score a reversal and cradle to score a comeback fall and eliminate Poma from placing in the tournament. Nicholas Poma finishes his freshman year at Santa Ana with an 8-10 record, having placed 7th at the CCCAA southern regional tournament, and qualifying for the 2021 CCCAA State Wrestling Championships.
165 pounds - Saeed Perez
Like teammate Zayn Patel, Saeed Perez would enter the state tournament as the 3 seed from the southern region. His first match would be against the 6 seed from the north in Aaron Lucatero of Modesto College. Perez would have no problem with dispatching his opponent, scoring takedowns and near fall points, using his leg riding technique to secure said near fall points. He would be able to expand on that further with using the leg ride to pin his opponent at 6 minutes and 25 seconds of the match. 
Saeed's quarter final match have him face the number 2 seed of the north, Willy LaMacchia of Skyline College. LaMacchia would score two consecutive takedowns in the first period, while allowing Perez to score two escapes as well. The first period would end 4-2 with LaMacchia leading, and Perez would elect to take the bottom position to start the second period. Perez would be successful in his escape attempt to close the gap to 4-3, but neither wrestler could capitalize on any offenses or mistakes in their opponents, and that score would remain the same going into the last period. LaMacchia would choose the bottom position, and during his escape attempt, Perez would be in a standing crab ride, unable to bring LaMacchia down in a timely manner. Because of his lack of offense for trying to return LaMacchia to the mat, Perez would be warned twice for stalling, being penalized for one penalty point and being behind 5-3 after a restart. Perez would also be called for an illegal maneuver, ultimately losing his quarter finals match by a score of 6-3.
Having to rebound, Perez would be matched against Marcos Gomez of Fresno City College in the consolation match and final match for the day. Perez would fall behind after being scored on by takedown but would make a quick recover after a reversal and four point near fall. Gomez would also score a reversal, and the match would be 6-4 in Saeed's favor at the end of the first period. It would be Perez's match after that, as he would not give up anymore points in the second and third periods. A dominant second period would see him scoring a reversal and 10 near fall points to expand his lead to 18-4, before scoring a takedown and near fall in the last period to win the match by technical fall 22-4. This would give the Santa Ana team their second state placer for the tournament.
Day 2
141 pounds - Zayn Patel
Patel would open his second day wrestling against Stephen Lundquist-Brewe of Sierra College. This would prove to be an exciting match both wrestlers would give all they had to trade scoring opportunities throughout the match. Patel would lead the match at the end of the first period, having scored a takedown, then receiving a penalty point after Lundquist-Brewe was called twice for stalling on bottom. The Sierra wrestler would however score a reversal on Patel to close the gap to 3-2, but Patel would successfully get an escape to make his lead 4-2. Patel would then get an escape in the second period after choosing the bottom position to make his lead 5-2. A takedown would extend his lead to 7-2, but Lundquist-Brewe would mount a comeback after a reversal, then a takedown after Patel got an escape. The score going into the third period would be 8-6 in Patel's favor. Lundquist-Brewe would choose the bottom position and would earn a penalty point after Patel was called twice for stalling. He would also earn an escape point, but Patel would be able to get a takedown to close out the match in his favor, advancing to the consolation semi-finals with a decision score of 11-9.
Patel's consolation semi-finals match opponent would be Thomas Chapman of Mount San Antonio College, whom he had lost to at the southern regional tournament. Chapman would up his performance at the previous tournament, defeating Patel by fall at 1 minute and 58 seconds of the first period. Patel would then wrestle Wyatt Carter of Modesto College for 5th place. Carter would dictate the pace of the first period, scoring a takedown and then riding out Patel to gain an advantage of riding time. Patel would get an early escape point in the second period but would fall behind again after giving up another takedown to Carter. He would even up the score with another escape and then a takedown to close out the second period, the score now 4-4 going into the last period. Carter would choose the bottom position in the third period, and take the lead after the escape to make the score 5-4. Patel would close the gap with a takedown, leading 6-5 before allowing Carter to escape again. Patel would get one last takedown to make the score 8-6, but Carter would ultimately come out on top with an escape, takedown and riding time points to win the match 10-8. Zayn Patel finishes his freshman year at Santa with a record of 11-12 record, a 2nd place finish at the ELAC Brawl, a 3rd place finish at the CCCAA Southern Regional Tournament, and 6th place finish at the CCCAA State Championship Tournament. 
165 pounds - Saeed Perez
Perez's first match of the second day would see him wrestle Gabe Carrillo of Cuesta College. Carrillo would score the first points of the match, although Perez would get an escape point in the first period to trail Carrillo by a score of 2-1. Perez would once again utilize his leg riding skills once he reversed Carrillo in the second period, opening up his lead with a four point near fall and be ahead at the end of the second period by a score of 7-2. Carrillo would take the neutral position in the hopes of trying to score a takedown on Perez, but this would work in the opposite direction as Perez was able to score a takedown and the win, winning by majority decision 10-2 after the riding team point was added to his score tally.
Perez's biggest challenge of the tournament would be the consolation semi-finals match, with the winner earning CCCAA All-American honors. Standing before him was Gracen Hayes of Bakersfield, whom he had also defeated in the consolation semi-finals at the regional tournament. Perez would take charge of the match by scoring a takedown in the first period, but would need to take recovery time after Hayes committed an illegal toehold. Perez would decide to take the top position after leading 3-0 to start the second period, and would be successful in extending his lead after Hayes would be called for stalling twice in the period, earning a penalty point as well as a four point near fall. Hayes would respond in kind to try and earn near fall points, choosing the top position in the third period in an attempt to cut into Perez's 8-0 lead. Hayes was able to score four near fall points, but would also give Perez two penalty points as Hayes was called for unnecessary roughness twice. Perez would ultimately win the match by a score of 10-4.
Perez would be facing Armando Murrillo of Cerritos in the 3rd place match, but the knee injury sustained in the consolation semi-finals would force him to default and settle for a 4th place finish. Saeed Perez finishes his freshman year at Santa Ana with a 16-4 record, a 3rd place finish at the Meathead Movers, 3rd place at the southern regional tournament, 4th place at the CCCAA State Championship tournament, and earning CCCAA All-American status.
The Santa Ana College 2021 season concludes with the following statistics:
1-6 dual record
14th place team finish at the Santa Ana College Tournament
10th place team finish at the Cuesta Meathead Movers Tournament
6th place team finish at the ELAC Brawl Tournament
8th place team finish at the CCCAA Southern Regional Tournament
12th place team finish at the CCCAA State Championship Tournament
4 state championship qualifiers
2 state championship placers
1 CCCAA All-American