El Modena's Andre Dahl wrestles against South Torrance's Kim Yoon in a 152-pound match during the Five Counties Invitational at Fountain Valley High on Friday.
See more photos from this game in the OCVarsity Hot Shots slideshow.

El Modena learns tough lessons at Five Counties


FOUNTAIN VALLEY – Every year the Five Counties Invitational proves to be a good measuring stick for the wrestlers and teams participating.

Just ask El Modena.

The Vanguards started the tournament with 13 wrestlers.

By the end of the first day Friday at Fountain Valley High, there were only three.

The survivors: Marcos Calderon (113), James Richardson (170) and heavyweight Fernando Aguilar all in the consolation bracket.

Wrestling resumes today at 9 a.m. with the championship quarterfinals. The finals are scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

SLIDESHOW: OCVarsity Hot Shots: Friday's wrestling, water polo, soccer

"We knew that it would be very, very difficult," El Modena coach Corey Schuld said. "This is a good gauge for our kids about how difficult (Century) league finals, CIF and Masters are going to be. It gives them a good gauge as to how hard they're going to have to work to finish these last couple of weeks off.

"We've done pretty good at some of the other tournaments, but this a good little reality check ... good yardstick to let them know where they're at and that's why we come here."

Like many teams, El Modena has been building toward Five Counties. League finals for most leagues are quickly approaching Feb. 1, starting the journey toward the state tournament in March.

"It could have been easy to try and avoid it (Five Counties), but we definitely wanted to challenge our kids," Schuld said. "Let them realize what's out there and hopefully inspire them to work hard the last couple of weeks.

"The coaching staff talked to the kids before and let them know that this was going to be a challenging event, we just asked them to come out and wrestle their best, not let the level of competition intimidate them and get in their heads. It can be kind of daunting, coming here, seeing all these different schools, so we tried to calm our kids down and let them know and prepare them for what it was going to be like."

Richardson won by fall in his final match to stay alive. Aguilar pinned his opponent to move on.

"I thought they wrestled tough," Schuld said.

In contrast, Laguna Hills, didn't have to deal too much with consolation bracket madness. The Hawks have six wrestlers in the championship quarterfinals: Martin Garcia (106), Wyond Mills (145), Andre Cabrera (152), Joe Applegate (160), Peter Eggert (220) and Jose Ballesteros (heavyweight).

The Hawks finished the first day with 100 points. Northview of Covina leads the tournaments wtih 109.5 points.

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