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Servite turns in strong performance at Trinity League finals
BELLFLOWER The first step toward winning a third consecutive CIF title was a successful one for the Servite wrestling team and coach Alan Clinton.
The Friars qualified all 14 wrestlers for next week’s CIF-SS Individual Championships, with seven winning league titles at the Trinity League finals, Friday at St. John Bosco HS.
Marcos Polanco (106), Liam Cronin (113), Wolfgang Bernal (138), Troy Madrigal (145), Angel Cordova (160), Bradley Warren (182) and Levi Ball-Bryant (220) finishing first at their weights.
Teddy Okada (120), Mario Cazarin (132), Michael Jurado (152), Riley Paterson (170) and Parker Saltzman (195) finished second.
Brent Reed (126) and Will Matuzak (heavyweight) were third.
“It was a great day,” Clinton said.
Servite qualified all 14 last year and then had 13 qualify for the CIF-SS Masters Meet. That performance helped the program capture a second consecutive CIF title.
“We going to see if we can keep that tradition going,” Clinton said.
This year’s run for a third consecutive title will likely be the toughest, with challengers like Vista Murrieta, Temecula Valley, Calvary Chapel, Hillcrest and St. John Bosco all trying to knock the Friars off their perch.
Polanco (106) and Cordova (160) were able get a bit of revenge against their opponents. Last week, in the finals of the CIF-SS Coastal Division Dual Meet Championships, Polanco suffered a 2-0 overtime defeat to St. John Bosco’s Christian Nunez and Cordova lost by fall to St. John Bosco’s Jacob Bueno.
Friday, Polanco defeated Nunez, 2-1 and Cordova edged Bueno, 7-5.
“I’m still waiting for that day when all 14 guys are firing on the same cylinder,” Clinton said. “That’s what you train for. I’m very proud. The boys did what they were supposed to do …(qualifying) 14 was the goal, we had 12 in the finals.”
As the Friars turn their attention to next week, the key to a possible third consecutive title when eventually come down to how well the wrestlers in the consolation bracket fight their way toward the medal rounds.
“They probably have the most important role,” Clinton said. “If they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, then we’re not going to be CIF champions.
“The guys up here (in championship bracket), their roles are set already. In wrestling, the guys down below, that aren’t supposed to do things, they’re the ones that win championships because you have to get their points. You have to be honest and tell them you have to get into that fifth-place match somehow and get it done for us.”
The top five at each weight at next week’s CIF Individual Championships, will then advance to the CIF-SS Masters Meet.
“This is a great division,” Clinton said. “It is a tough division. Seems like we’re always in a tough division, but that’s the least of our worries. We want to make sure the kids perform the way they’re supposed to perform and good things will happen.”
St. John Bosco qualified 10, with Benji Angel (120), Ray Cordova (126), Josh Solomon (132), Danny Salas (195) and David Aranda (heavyweight) winning titles.
Santa Margarita’s Sean Carroll defeated Jurado, 8-1 in the finals at 152 pounds
JED SMITH DROPS DOWN
Mater Dei’s Jed Smith finished seventh at 170 pounds at last year’s state tournament. He began this season ranked in the top five in the state at 182 pounds, he’s currently seventh and has won four titles at 182.
Friday, Smith made the drop back down to the 170-pound division, where he would eventually finish first.
“I think he’ll be alright,” Mater Dei coach Luis Renteria said. “We still have some work to do.”
Smith defeated Servite’s Paterson, 10-2 in the finals.
“At the end of the day, it isn’t how big guys are, it about technique,” Renteria said. “Him going forward, taking shots and committing to taking shots is his key. That’s what got him on the podium last time.”