Injuries don't stop Laguna Hills from dominating quad meet


Injuries have taken some key starters out of the lineup for the Laguna Hills wrestling team, but the Hawks have been able to pick up the pieces.

Fourth-ranked Laguna Hills hosted 10th-ranked Villa Park, eighth-ranked Canyon and West Torrance in a quad meet Thursday night, and the Hawks went undefeated.

All four teams won their leagues last season.

The Hawks defeated Villa Park, 55-12, in their first match, Canyon in the second, 66-12, and ended the night with a 50-18 victory over West Torrance.

“We still have four starters out of the lineup, but we’re getting some good experience for our young guys,” Laguna Hills assistant coach John Hayes said. “Having the young guys get some experience is helping us turn a negative into a positive.”

The final match of the evening started at 122 pounds, and the Hawks won the first three matches by fall for an 18-0 lead. Eddie Rayo (122), Anthony Le (128) and Joshua Fuentes (134) recorded the victories.

Titus Azad (140) won by decision at 140 pounds and Phillip Zamora (147) and Matt De La Riva (154) picked up victories by technical fall and fall to give the Hawks a 29-3 victory.

Ramsey Cole (172) had a bye and Jackson Cook picked up a victory by fall at 184 pounds for Laguna Hills.

Aiden LaGrasta trailed in his match, 12-8, at 106 pounds, but he scored the final 10 points to pull out the victory. Freshman Steven Kroesen ended the match with a fall at 113.

“He’s had a lot of experience coming into his freshman year,” Hayes said of Kroesen. “He’s been wrestling very high-level kids tournaments, and he’s really stepping up for us as a freshman.”

Villa Park went 1-2, defeating Canyon, 50-21 in the final match of the meet for both teams.

“We’re trying to wrestle tough opponents so we can be ready at the end,” Villa Park coach Aaron Cross said. “We’re kind of a top-heavy team and we can’t get the kind of competition (in practice) that we can get doing something like this.

“In the Canyon match, we wrestled some of those guys at El Dorado (Invitational) and we did better this time around. We made some adjustments and improvements and that’s what you kind of do early in the season.”

Villa Park is in the Crestview League for duals and Canyon is in the North Hills. They will not meet again in the regular season, but it is likely several of the teams’ wrestlers will meet in the Century Conference Finals later this year.

Canyon was the only team that failed to pick up a victory Thursday.

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