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ANA P. GUTIERREZ, FOR THE REGISTER
Yorba Linda's Angel Ochoa wrestles against Valencia's Juston Berks in the 145-pound match at Valencia High on Thursday.

Yorba Linda stands tall against Valencia

OCVARSITY.COM
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High school wrestling.

PLACENTIA – The Yorba Linda wrestling team took a big step Thursday night toward a possible Empire League dual meet title.

The Mustangs, in just their third year with a varsity team and fourth as a program, scored a 31-24 upset victory against No.7 Valencia to reach 3-0 in the league.

The Tigers have won the previous four league titles.

"We've come a long way as a program," Yorba Linda coach Brian Fortenbaugh said. "We had eight kids in the program day one when I started. We've built ourselves into a competitive team and I hope it continues. We have a good, young, class of sophomores, a tough class."

One of those sophomores is Nathan Emry (170), who found himself in the final match with a chance to clinch.

By the time Emry hit the mat against Adam Blackwell, Yorba Linda led, 28-24.

The dual started at 182 pounds.

After a scoreless first period, Emry opened the scoring with a three-point near-fall in the second.

In the third, Emry added a two-point near fall to finish 5-0.

"Coach told me to wrestle tough, like I normally do," Emry said. "I saw him (Blackwell) kick his leg out ... I just power cradled that down and got the near fall."

Yorba Linda led from the second match of the night all the way to 138 pounds when Valencia, thanks to a pin from Robert Garcia, tied the match, 21-21.

Yorba Linda won the next two matches (Angel Ochoa by decision at 145 and Landon Myers by major decision at 152) to take a 28-21 lead.

"They outwrestled us," Valencia coach Gerardo Rodriguez said. "They showed up and beat us."

Valencia is 3-1 in league duals. The Tigers have matches remaining against Pacifica and Cypress. Yorba Linda has Pacifica, Cypress and Kennedy left to duel.

"Coming into this match, our guys really believed that we could beat them," Fortenbaugh said. "That was the key. The last years (against Valencia), our guys didn't even want to be on the same mat with them, and this year we really believed we could beat them."

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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