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Cronin, Servite win at Mann Classic tourney

STAFF WRITER

ORANGE – Liam Cronin is a returning state finalist and is ranked second this year in the state at 113 pounds.

That alone puts a big target on his back every time he steps on the mat.

He proved again this weekend that he’s comfortable at the top.

Servite’s Cronin won two matches by fall and two by major decision en route to the 113-pound title at the Mann Classic that concluded Saturday at Santiago Canyon College.

“It is a lot different wrestling at a higher weight class,” Cronin, who was at 106 last year, said. “The speed is different, so I have to adjust. I have to be faster than a lot of the bigger guys.

“Right now, I’m not at my best, but when it gets to February and March, I’ll be where I need to be.”

Cronin defeated Luciano Arroyo of Calvary Chapel in the finals, 10-1.

The biggest difference is, of course, the weight. Cronin said he walks around at 123, giving him at least a seven-eight pound cut for competition.

“I feel better, and I don’t feel dried up,” he said. “It is a lot better.”

Cronin has opened the season with titles at Servite’s first three tournaments, with the Cossarek Classic and Clovis West Shootout being the other two.

“The biggest thing is for him to keep the blinders on and stay focused,” Servite coach Alan Clinton said of Cronin.

And just like the previous two tournaments, Cronin again helped lead the Friars to the top of the team standings. Servite finished with 12 medalists and scored 265 points to win the tournament.

Angel Cordova (160), Riley Paterson (170) and Parker Saltzman (195) won individual titles. Marcos Polanco (106) was a finalist.

“We opened the season well, had a great week last week against some unbelievable competition in Clovis,” Clinton said. “I don’t think we’re near our peak, which is a nice thing. (Angel) Cordova had a great day, he was solid and I think Riley (Paterson) had one of the best tournaments I’ve seen. He was very consistent the whole tournament and (Parker) Saltzman, we’ve been waiting for this. He finally performed the way we felt he could perform. It was a great performance by those kids and by the entire team.”

Santa Ana (170.5) and Laguna Hills (165.5) finished second and third, respectively. Both teams had eight medalists and one individual champion, Ricardo Navarette at 126 for Santa Ana and Phillip Zamora at 145 for Laguna Hills.

Elijah Palacio (Calvary Chapel, 106), Ethyn Ewing (Canyon, 138) and Conor Donnelly (El Modena, 220) were the other county individual champions.

Zamora, Navarette and Ewing were seeded third at their weights.

Calvary Chapel finished seventh in the final standings.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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