Calvary Chapel freshman Arroyo stuns top-ranked Cronin


HUNTINGTON BEACH – Calvary Chapel freshman Luciano Arroyo faced off against Servite’s Liam Cronin, the top-ranked wrestler in the state, on Monday night for the third time this season.

Arroyo, who lost their first two meetings, recorded the biggest upset of the OCWCA All-Star Classic, knocking off Cronin, 7-3, in the 113-pound match at Marina High.

“I’m just a freshman, and being a freshman against the No. 1 guy in the state, I really didn’t have that much confidence,” Arroyo said, “but my coaches told me that I was going to beat him today, and I really for the first time believe in it.”

In their first meeting, at the Mann Classic in December, Cronin, defeated Arroyo, 10-1. They met again Saturday in the final of Five Counties, and Cronin picked up a 9-3 victory.

Arroyo said he used a new plan against Cronin on Monday.

“In my mind, I visualized myself beating him,” Arroyo said. “That’s how I get that confidence and that calmness to go out there and beat him.”

They were tied, 3-3, entering the third period. Arroyo took a 4-3 lead on a penalty point from Cronin. He added another on an escape and clinched the victory, 7-3, with a takedown.

"It is an amazing testimony of that kid and his family," coach Jacob Harman said. "His family totally supports our coaching staff, our vision, our philosphy and they've entrusted him to us 100 percent.

"I'm happy for him. As a coach, you get kids to follow you and trust you. It is beautiful when the trust is cashed in and yields this (victory). He knows that whatever happens out here, it is not a fail (if he loses). It is just learning. He trusts the Lord's process. That kid right there is what it looks like when you trust your coaches, your family buys in and you trust the Lord."

Cronin and Arroyo could meet again in a couple of weeks at the CIF-SS Individual championships and the CIF-SS Masters Meet.

“I have to stay humble and not get cocky,” Arroyo said. “It is not over. I still have to go back in the room and work on some stuff.”

The night pretty much belonged to Calvary Chapel.

Elijah Palacio (106) won by fall over Ocean View's Noah Edsell. Justin Thomas (160) won by fall in the first period over Edwin Flores of Buena Park and Jeremy Thomas followed at 170 with his first-period fall over Brandon Tierney (Irvine).

Gabriel Collins (152) edged Servite's Michael Jurado, 3-2. The only defeat came at 182, but it was close at Mater Dei's Jed Smith edged Calvary Chapel's Morris Wilner, 4-3. Smith scored a late takedown to preserve the victory.

Arroyo’s wasn’t the only upset of the evening.

At heavyweight, Fountain Valley’s Cole Brisbine, ranked second in the county, pulled off a 5-2 victory over top-ranked Daniel Stringfellow of Beckman.

Stringfelllow defeated Brisbine by fall at the Asics SoCal Challenge on Jan. 9.

Calvary Chapel’s Johnny Knowles picked up a victory over Ethyn Ewing at 138 pounds. With Knowles leading, 7-3, Ewing injured his ankle and couldn’t continue.


OCWCA All-Star Classic

195 – Saltzman (Servite) dec. Daniel (Santa Ana), 3-2

220 – Donnelly (El Modena) dec. Murguia (Servite), 8-5

Hwt – Brisbine (Fountain Valley) dec. Stringfellow (Beckman), 5-2

106 – Palacio (Calvary Chapel) pin Edsell (Ocean View)

113 – Arroyo (Calvary Chapel) dec. Cronin (Servite), 7-3

120 – Okada (Servite) dec. Danh (Westminster), 6-4

126 – Navarette (Santa Ana) maj. dec. Stankzai (Sonora), 15-4

132 – Ramos (Santa Ana) pin Morales (Canyon)

138 – Knowles (Calvary Chapel) inj. def. over Ewing (Canyon)

145 – Madrigal(Servite) maj. dec. Dehakiz (El Dorado), 19-5

152 – Collins (Calvary Chapel) dec. Jurado (Servite), 3-2

160 – Ju. Thomas (Calvary Chapel) pin Flores (Buena Park)

170 – Je.Thomas (Calvary Chapel) pin Tierney (Irvine)

182 – Smith (Mater Dei) dec. Wilner (Calvary Chapel), 4-3

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