HomeBlocksFront-GridWrestling: La Cañada Caps Season at CIF Masters Meet

Wrestling: La Cañada Caps Season at CIF Masters Meet

Rivas was one of four Spartans wrestlers who participated in the CIF Southern Section Wrestling Masters Meet at Palm Springs High School on Feb 16

Five wrestlers represented La Cañada High at the CIF Southern Section Wrestling Masters Meet at Palm Springs High School on Feb. 16, all hoping to book a spot at the CIF State Wrestling Championships.
At the Masters, Spartans junior Michael Manzano was the lone participant for the La Cañada boys’ wrestling team, while sophomore Vera Grivennikova, juniors Iris Rivas and Angel Lee and senior Allison Ingrassia represented the Spartans girls’ team.
Despite quality performances, La Cañada wrestling team’s season came to a close Feb. 16, but for some, the upcoming season has already started, Spartans coach Justin Luthey said.
“We’re focused,” Luthey said. “If you are left with a bit of a bad taste in your mouth, it’s OK, and we’re going to use that to fuel us next season.”
The Spartans turn the page on a season where the boys’ and girls’ teams secured a Rio Hondo League title. In the individual competition, nine Spartans girls won league crowns, while four boys were named league champions. The Spartans boys’ and girls’ teams each qualified 13 grapplers to the CIF Southern Section Individual Wrestling Championships this season as well.
“We had a great senior class,” Luthey added. “They were dedicated. They worked hard. They were great students. They were great in the classroom. You can’t end the season without talking about them.”
At the Masters Meet, Rivas faced Redondo Union senior Kinsey Konrad, the top seed in the 170-pound Blue Division of the competition. Rivas was relegated to the consolation bracket after falling to in the first period of their matchup.
There, the Spartans junior turned it around, winning consecutive matches against Ava Stray of Warren and Oak Hills junior Karyna Rios to set up a rematch against Konrad.
“You kind of knew she was going to have a good tournament just watching her demeanor,” said Luthey of Rivas. “Very loose. Light, not super stressed. Just going out there to win and that’s when the good things happen — when you just go out there and wrestle your best, and that’s what she did. She wrestled hard. She wasn’t afraid. She took shots.
“That’s what I wish other wrestlers would take away. When the stakes get high and when the competition gets solid, you just keep wrestling aggressively and that’s when good things happen to you.”
The Spartans junior again ran into Konrad, this time battling to earn a spot in the third-place match, and a qualifying berth to CIF State. However, the Sea Hawk senior again thwarted Rivas, who fell just short of a trip to Bakersfield.
“She was one match away from state,” Luthey said. “She lost in the ‘blood rounds’ to go to state, so she’s a top 12 girl in her weight class in California. That’s amazing for her.”
Ingrassia fell in the opening round of the 125-pound Gold Division to Trabuco Hills junior Isabella Dipippo. Though the Spartans senior rebounded against Hillcrest junior Ava Sosa in the third period of a consolation bracket matchup, Ingrassia fell to Sultana junior Isabella Belanger in the following round by a 6-4 decision.
Lee took part in the 120-pound Blue Division of the girls’ competition, and lost to Tustin junior Carmen Rosales in the opening round. The Spartans junior was knocked out in the following round with a loss to Rancho Mirage senior Brianna Solis.
Grivennikova started her run in the 190-pound Blue Division with a match against Nordhoff senior Emily Rimkus, who defeated the Spartans sophomore in the second round. Relegated to the consolation bracket, Grivennikova fell to Hillcrest junior Estephania Gomez in the second period in the opening round.
For the boys’ bracket, Manzano competed in the 120-pound Gold Division and opened his run with a loss to Montebello senior Edmon Altunyan.
The junior bounced back in the consolation bracket against Downey senior Noah Duarte with a 5-4 decision victory, but Corona Centennial senior Rocco Madrid knocked Manzano out in the following round by a 6-3 decision.
Although some of the Spartans fell short of securing a spot at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield, Luthey said the future looks bright for the team, considering many of them experienced postseason competition.
“Not everyone had the season that they were hoping for, but they had their eyes open a little bit,” Luthey said. “I think what’s certain is that we have this formula on how to be good in wrestling at La Cañada, and it’s pretty standard. All the people that do it, are going to Masters or they’re right there.
“… All in all, we feel like the program is working, but we’re still trying to do better. We’re really going to have to work hard to win league next year.”

First published in the February 22 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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