WRS: Dos Pueblos KO’d by Pacifica in CIF quarterfinals

Dos Pueblos wrestling coach Anthony Califano had seen a team do this before in Sovine Gym: catch fire early, win the close bouts and pull out the victory. It was his squad beating Ventura in a Channel League dual meet.

On Saturday at the 16-team CIF Duals Northern Division championship at DP, Pacifica did it to the top-seeded Chargers. The Tritons won a 10-9 decision in the second bout of the match, sparking them to five straight victories en route to 30-29 win in the quarterfinals.

Pacifica clinched the match when Victor Sanchez defeated Josh Murphy, 9-5, at 126 pounds, giving it an insurmountable 30-8 lead with four matches remaining. Blair Middleton earned DP three more points with a 9-6 decision over Mark Banuelos at 132 pounds before the Pacific View League champions elected to forfeit the final three bouts (18 points) to win by one. DP’s Cameron Cox, Jeffy Uyesaka and Jason Hu never got on the mat.

“They wrestled like we wrestled against Ventura in the dual meet,” Califano said of Pacifica’s performance. “They did have guys down in weight, but it really didn’t change anything in terms of the matchups we wanted. The matches we got were matches we won the last time and lost this time. Head-to-head, we lost 3 or 4 matches we won against them earlier in the year.”

The Chargers beat Pacifica 59-15 back in December.

“They beat us by 40-something points,” Pacifica coach Willie Dillon recalled. “Part of it was we didn’t have all our horses then. But the big difference is these guys dropped down to their CIF weights and the last few weeks we’ve been doing a lot of road work.”

That work paid off for Aaron Buckley at 195 pounds. He scored a go-ahead takedown in the third period and held off DP’s Patrick Konkol for a 5-3 win.

Dillon said Buckley dropped from 250 pounds to make the lineup.

“He was weighing 250 and I couldn’t get him in the lineup at heavyweight and 220. He dropped to 195 and won. So guys were making sacrifices for the team,“ Dillon said. “We had 7 to 8 guys drop to a lower weight class just so we’d be that much tougher.”

The Tritons expanded their lead to 21-4 on pins by Cristian Ayala over Damien Pennington at 220 and Anthony Flores against Will Fader at heavyweight.

Sophomore Ryan Fidel stopped the bleeding for DP at 106 with a major decision over Carlos Espinosa, 14-4. Fidel broke open the bout five points in the second period to take an 8-2 lead.

Pacifica won the next three bouts, with two of them decided by two points.

“They showed up ready to go and we were flat,” Califano said. “They felt like they had nothing to lose and they came after us. Coach Dillon, I thought, had his guys very well prepared and they outmaneuvered us.”

Jonathan Coronado got the Channel League champions off to a great start, dominating Edgar Garcia for a 17-3 major decision and four team points. Pacifica’s Jesus Sanchez won the next match at 170 pounds, edging DP’s Diego Lopez 10-9. Christian Petralba followed with a 7-0 win at 182 for a 6-4 lead and a major momentum shift.

“There was a whole momentum shift and they got it,” Califano said. “It’s very disappointing. This is a great group of kids that’s very deserving of a CIF plaque, and we didn’t have it.”

Dos Pueblos opened the 16-team tournament with 50-18 win over Royal.

Dillon said all he asks of his wrestlers is to their best

“Before the match we have a silent prayer,” he said. “When I pray, I don’t ask to win. My silent prayer is we do our best, that’s all I ever ask for. DP is tough; I take my hat off to those guys. It’s just one of those days when everything goes just right.”

Everything went right for Camarillo as it won the division title, beating second-seeded Bishop Amat in the final, 31-30.

In the semifinals, Camarillo defeated Pacifica, 42-33 and Bishop Amat topped Righetti,33-30.

Quarterfinal results: Bishop Amat 52, Ventura 24; Righetti 55, Santa Maria 7; Camarillo 39, Pioneer Valley 24.