HomeBlocksFront-GridLa Cañada Wrestling Ties Program Record of CIF Masters Qualifiers

La Cañada Wrestling Ties Program Record of CIF Masters Qualifiers

La Cañada junior Michael Manzano center placed third in the 120 pound division of the boys CIF Southern Section Individual Wrestling Championships at Westminster High School

The road to the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield has begun.
For La Cañada High wrestlers, the journey started at Westminster High School in the Coastal Division of the CIF Southern Section Individual Wrestling Championships.
Among the group of Spartans grapplers in the weekend’s event, five booked a trip to the CIF Southern Section Wrestling Masters Meet.
The La Cañada girls’ wrestling team earned qualifying spots from sophomore Vera Grivennikova, senior Allison Ingrassia, and juniors Angel Lee and Iris Rivas, while junior Michael Manzano will represent the Spartans boys’ team at the Masters Meet, which will be held at Palm Springs High beginning Friday, Feb. 16.
The five Spartans ties last year’s number of Masters qualifiers — a program best.
Grivennikova placed fifth in the 190-pound bracket of the girls’ Coastal Division, while Lee (120), Ingrassia (125), and Rivas (170) finished seventh for the Spartan girls. All four suffered early defeats in their respective brackets, but rebounded in the consolation rounds with a string of wins to earn a spot on the podium. Both the boys’ and girls’ competitions were double-elimination contests.
“All four of them — I’m really proud of how they bounced back after losses, because I really think that’s what defines a competitor,” said La Cañada wrestling coach Justin Luthey of the girls’ team. “We always tell them to go out and get the next thing, so in a top-eight scenario, sometimes you can lose three times and still qualify, so you really have to manage your mental focus after you lose, and that happened. The people that lost, they refocused, and they pushed through.”
Manzano finished third in the boys’ 120-pound division, and senior Max Rosen (175) and junior Dylan Baetsle (190) reached the podium.
Manzano was the No. 3 seed in the 120-pound competition and started his run with a victory over Andrew Umanzor of Godinez. The Spartans junior defeated Westlake sophomore Rocco Shams in the following round and Ventura senior Jayden Tate in the quarterfinal matchup. Manzano met his match against No. 2 seed Jonthan Madera of Chino in the semifinal, sending the junior into the consolation bracket. Manzano faced Northview junior and No. 4 seed Noah Butler for a spot in the third-place match, a bout Luthey called Manzano’s “defining match.” The Spartan won by a 14-8 decision, setting up a third-place showdown against Calabasas freshman Micah Wegman, the No. 5 seed. Manzano defeated Wegman in the second period to secure third place.
“He’s growing and he’s improving from where he was earlier in the season,” said Luthey of Manzano’s match against Butler. “It’s a promising sign moving into Masters and, hopefully, state.”
Grivennikova experienced a first-round bye in the 190-pound girls’ bracket, and fell to Elsinore junior Alexis Llamas, the No. 8 seed, in the sophomore’s tournament opener. Grivennikova went on to win three straight matches in the consolation bracket, starting with a second-period victory over Buena junior Amilia Slocum, a first-period win over Erin Sarkisian of Burbank, and a first-round triumph over Cesia Torres of Garden Grove Santiago. The sophomore fell to Newbury Park Sophomore Maya Garza, setting up a showdown for fifth place against Redlands East Valley senior and bracket No. 3 seed Kate Sorensen, which Grivennikova won in the first period of battle.
Lee, the No. 4 seed in the 120-pound bracket, advanced to the quarterfinal following wins over Jordan sophomore Jaeden Acevedo and Bishop Amat senior Xochilt Cena. Fifth-seed Megan Merrifield of Temescal Canyon High defeated Lee to send the Spartans junior into the consolation bracket, where Lee fell to Sultana junior Dayanara Ramirez, the No. 3 seed, to set up a seventh-place matchup against Riverside Poly sophomore Lola Figueroa. Lee came out triumphant in the second round to finish seventh.
In the 125-pound bracket, Ingrassia was the No. 4 seed. The senior defeated Hoover senior Angela Bogharyan in the first round of action, but fell to Rosemary Dodd of Temescal Canyon in the following round to enter the consolation bracket. The senior won three matches in a row, starting with a victory over Lakewood sophomore Jaslynn Dado, followed by wins against Adelanto senior and No. 5-seed Arianna Windust and Victor Valley senior Vianney Chavez, the No. 7 seed. Ingrassia fell to Lawndale junior Lena Trunong to enter the seventh-place match where the senior defeated No. 3 seed Bryleigh Delis in the third period.
Rivas finished seventh in the 170-pound bracket. Coming in as the No. 3 seed, the Spartans junior started the competition with consecutive wins, first against Oxnard junior Lillian Hernandez, and Beaumont junior Malaya Magpali after. Rivas fell to Jordan sophomore Lilliana Sermiento, the No. 6 seed, in the quarterfinal, but rebounded with a win over No. 9 seed Isabelle Ruiz of Burbank High in the consolation bracket. The junior fell to No. 7 seed Estrella Linares Botello, a junior from Hertiage High School, to enter the seventh-place matchup against Victor Valley junior Natalie Gonzales, the No. 4 seed. Rivas won the battle in the second period.
For the boys’ team, Baetsle competed as the No. 8 seed in the 190-pound competition. The junior started the run with a first-round bye and matched up against No. 9 Mauro Castellanos of Pete Knight High where the Spartan won in a 6-4 decision. Baetsle fell to Northview senior Sonny Acuna, the top seed and eventual champion, in the quarterfinal, but came back and defeated Mater Dei junior Duphree Tallez in his first consolation bracket match. The junior entered the seventh-place bout following a loss to Newbury Park senior and No. 4 seed Tasman Cassell, and was defeated by San Dimas freshman Mike Baeza, the No. 7 seed, in a 10-8 decision to finish eighth in the 190-pound bracket.
Rosen fell to Covina senior Nathan Jimenez in the opener of the 175-bracket, but bounced back with three straight victories against Thousand Oaks junior Atom Wroblewski, Wayne Jarvis of Pete Knight High and Buena senior Keenan Gibson in the consolation rounds. Rosen fell to St. John Bosco freshman and No. 5 seed Brayden Carson, and defeated Hoover senior and No. 7 seed Grickore Danelyan in the seventh-place matchup.
The top five finishers from the Masters Meet will represent the CIF Southern Section at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield beginning Feb. 22.

First published in the February 15 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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