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Taking control of the mat: Freshmen secure win for Lowell in dual meet

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Freshman Caden Chan wins against a Lincoln Mustang by major decision on Jan. 31. Photo by Christina Johnson

The Lowell wrestling team had a dual meet against the Lincoln Mustangs and the Balboa Buccaneers on Jan. 31. Lowell emerged victorious 43–34 against Lincoln, by winning six of the eight matches wrestled: four by pin, one by major decision, and one by decision. Due to Balboa only having wrestlers for five weight classes instead of all 14, Lowell easily won. With the girls’ state qualifiers on Feb. 1, the female players did not participate in this dual meet.

“We knew it would come down to some important duals of freshmen.”

Coming into the dual meet against Lincoln, Lowell knew that it would be a tough game since they were already down by 12 points. Lowell had to forfeit four weight classes while Lincoln, who filled 12 of 14 weight classes, only forfeited two weight classes. This meant that Lowell had to win their duals, and preferably by pin, while not getting pinned by their opponents. “It was kind of the case where the team captains needed to all get pins,” senior team captain Sanchez O’Leary. “We knew it would come down to some important duals of freshmen.”

Junior team captain Giovani Thai prepares to pin. Photo by Christina Johnson

Even before the first dual, Lowell scored points after freshman Adam Lee (106) automatically won due to forfeit since Lincoln did not have a 106-pound weight class entry. This forfeit gave Lowell six points.

With the team’s 126- and 132-pound weight class out of the dual meet, the team had to shift some weight classes. For example, freshman Finley Logan (113) is not a 113 pounder, according to head coach Wise. (He is closer to 106.) “I sort of threw him to the wolves,” Wise said. Despite Logan’s efforts, he fell short and was unable to win.

Freshman Alegria Jeremias-Lin (116) won due to forfeit.

Junior team captain Giovani Thai (120) was able to pin, adding six points to Lowell’s score.

With senior Italo Lujan Pedreschi (132) out of the dual met, Lowell had to forfeit, giving Lincoln six points.

Junior Slavik Gevorkyan (145) was able to pin.

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Junior team captain Jonah Nascimento (138) was able to win with a decision 8–2, giving the team three points. Nascimento’s opponent was tougher than the team expected. Because of the automatic points given for forfeits, it was crucial for the more experienced members of the team to get pins. Nascimento won, but because he did not pin, he only scored three points, not the needed six. The outcome of the dual meet grew more uncertain. It now depended on the performance of the freshmen.

“Chan beat their captain which is a huge deal because that was an uncertain weight class.”

Freshman Caden Chan (152) won by major decision, 13–3, giving the team four points. The team knew that Chan’s dual would be a close one. In the previous tournament, Chan had lost to his opponent, who is Lincoln’s team captain, by a small amount, according to senior team captain Sanchez O’Leary. “[Chan] beat their captain which is a huge deal because that was an uncertain weight class,” O’Leary said.

Senior team captain Sanchez O’Leary takes hold of his opponent. Photo by Christina Johnson

In O’Leary’s dual, his opponent’s strategy threw him off. His opponent often moved out of bounds which he was not used to. When O’Leary was expecting his opponent to keep backing out, he suddenly went forward and got a shot at O’Leary who was not expecting it. Luckily, his opponent’s reaction off the shot was not quick enough and O’Lear was able to stop it, get around it and pin his opponent. “I just think about keeping my feet active, staying moving, and looking for opportunities to score,” O’Leary said.

“If Jack had not won that match, we would’ve lost the dual.”

For the highlight of this dual meet, freshman Jack Cost (170) was able to pin his opponent. Although Cost’s opponent was better technically throughout the dual, the opponent was getting exhausted while Cost was not. “Jack is a freshman, he’s in practice 95 percent of the time, he works hard, he’s lost like 13 pounds,” head coach Wise said. “His hard work is paying off.” According to Wise, Cost was his MVP for the night. “If Jack had not won that match, we would’ve lost the dual,” Wise said.

During Cost’s dual, he was not expecting a pin but hoped for it. “We trained so hard, I believed that I could have pinned anybody,” Cost said. “We work so hard in that room everyday for six days a week. You feel like when you win it that it’s actually worth it for something.”

Junior team captain Jonah Nascimento tries to pin. Photo by Christina Johnson

For the 182-pound weight class, Lowell forfeited.

Freshman Antonio Vasquez lost by major decision 14–4.

For both 220- and 285-pound weight class, Lincoln won due to forfeit.

With the All-City Tournament coming up in 2 weeks, the team is confident that they will be able to remain undefeated. However, the team wishes that they had more wrestlers, especially more of them in the higher weight classes. This would prevent them from having to forfeit matches. “If any team has 14 people, even if they are all mediocre or not good, they have a good chance of winning city,” Wise said. “In the last three years, we are undefeated…we only lost to Galileo because of forfeits. We did our job on the mat. We kicked their butts.”

“We are never going to give up on you.”

As far as attracting more wrestlers, the team believes that even if someone is inexperienced, with dedication and hard work, they will be able to become successful. “If you’re committed, and you’re here everyday, and you’re working, we are going to be committed to you,” Wise said. “We are never going to give up on you.”

The Lowell’s wrestling team will face off against the Galileo Lions at 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 at home.

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Taking control of the mat: Freshmen secure win for Lowell in dual meet