Bienvenue's hard work pays dividends for Los Alamitos


FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Julian Bienvenue finally made the cut for the Los Alamitos wrestling team, and it paid off.

Bienvenue, a senior, appeared in his first varsity match of the season as the Griffins faced eighth-ranked Fountain Valley on Wednesday night in a key Sunset League dual.

He trailed in his 170-pound match against Quentin Gomez, 5-3 in the third period, before winning by pin, helping the Griffins rally back for a 40-28 victory to move into a second-place tie with the Barons.

"That was huge," Los Alamitos coach Kenny Torres said of Bienvenue's victory. "He's been on JV the entire year, he's worked his way down in weight, finally got the challenge at 170s ... I put him in the lineup, and he pulled through."

The season hasn't gone the way Bienvenue had expected it to, but that hasn't stopped him.

"I cut down from 195," he said. "It is a lot of work, but it is worth it, helping my team, boosting them up, and trying to be the best that I can at my weight.

"This is my last year and I'm trying to go out strong. This feels good. I came out with injuries and I wasn't able to recuperate. But I put my mind to it, and I wanted it."

Bienvenue's victory gave the Griffins six points, cutting Fountain Valley's lead to 28-24. Max Kumashiro followed at 182 with a pin to give the Griffins a 30-28 lead. Duncan Carlton (195) won by decision as did Mason Kumashiro at 220, clinching the match.

Alex Redmond (285) ended the night with his victory by fall.

"I knew that the end of our lineup is pretty darn strong," Torres said. "I knew if we could be close at that point, we had a really good shot ... that (Bienvenue) was a big match.

"(Max) Bernbeck beating Stone (Escobedo at 160) that was big ... to get the pin was big."

The victory by Los Alamitos sets up what is going to be a difficult final couple of weeks in the league. Marina is 3-0, with both the Griffins and Barons at 2-1.

Los Alamitos has matches against Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor, while the Barons still have Edison and Marina. Last year, Edison, Los Alamitos and Fountain Valley finished in a three-way tie for first.

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