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La Cañada grapples into quarters

Wrestling: Spartans advance to quarterfinals again and San Marino yields in first round of wrestling championships.

February 11, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

DOWNEY — Both the La Cañada and San Marino high wrestling teams came into the CIF Southern Section Division VI Dual Meet Wrestling Championships looking for wins, but both teams’ coaches knew there was value in just being there.

The Spartans advanced to the quarterfinal round of the tournament for the second year in a row, while the Titans, who fell in the first round, were happy to be there for the first time in roughly a decade.

“When you wrestle teams like this you never know where their strengths are and where your strengths are,” La Cañada Coach Gavin Williams said. “It just comes down to your guys going out there and battling.

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“This is a learning experience we can use to get better and better. If we win we win, if we lose we lose, but we're going to go out there battling.”

La Cañada started strong with a 52-21 win over Downey Calvary Chapel in the first round, but had all it could handle in Nipomo, the second seed and Los Padres League champion, in the second round.

Nipomo slowed its matches down and waited for any openings that came its way and pulled out the 45-22 win behind five pins.

“A lot of teams stall to stay on top and it also brings the other team down because they feel like they can't do anything,” said Anthony Landero, a 120-pounder who was one of four Spartans to defeat his Nipomo opponent. “In the end, we lost but we had great matches.”

Marty Vardanian (184), Chris Skaggs (106) and Landero each picked up pins for La Cañada with Nick McMenamin (160) providing the Spartans' other win by major decision, 14-4.

La Cañada lost its first five matches to Nipomo, falling into a 21-0 hole, but was close to grabbing two wins via pin in the third and fourth matches.

The Spartans' Brian Streeter (138) seemed to have Nipomo's Dylan Hulsizer pinned late in the third round, but the referee stopped the action after Hulsizer was injured in Streeter's hold. Hulsizer held on the rest of the way with a lead to secure a 7-4 win, giving his team a 12-0 edge.

La Cañada's Kevin Stoner (145) had several near falls in his match, but just fell to Adam Chavarria by decision, 12-10, as Nipomo took a 15-0 lead.

“Maybe it goes the other way [if we get those pins], but they are a legit team, they are solid,” Williams said. “I will give them that.”

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