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La Cañada High wrestling has another good day at Rio Hondo League Finals

Nine Spartans move on to CIF Individuals in a new-look league tournament Saturday.

February 02, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

MONROVIA — In a new-look Rio Hondo League that included a new favorite in San Marino High and two new schools in Hoover and St. Paul, La Cañada managed to show it’s still near the top of the group Saturday at league individual finals.

Nine Spartans advanced out of the one-day tournament at Santa Fe Middle School in Monrovia, as the top-three wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes earned a trip to CIF Individuals. It was second-best to San Marino, which had 12 move on, including six league champions and three second- and third-place finishers each.

La Cañada finished the league dual season at 4-1 after falling to San Marino in its opener, 44-25.

Once again, it was La Cañada's upper weights that shined brightest Saturday, as three of its four league champions – Anthony Landeros (132 pounds) Alex Bache (170), Peter Garfield (195) and Guillermo Padilla (heavyweight) – came at 170 or higher.

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Padilla was the only Spartan to win a league title on a pin Saturday, as he pressed both shoulders of San Marino's Jonathan Yau on the mat for the fall 16 seconds into the final period.

It was the fourth time the two had faced each other, said Padilla, who called Yau a friend.

“I've won every time, but we had some really close ones my first year,” Padilla said. “We're pretty close friends, but it's wrestling, you know, once you step on the mat there's no friends.”

Padilla is looking to advance to CIF Masters with a top-five finish at CIF Individuals. The junior just missed the cut by taking sixth at individuals last season, and this year he won't have the luxury of flying under the radar.

“I am looking for more improvement,” Padilla said. “I have been wrestling with my [assistant] coach Marty [Vardanian] and my brother [Edwin Padilla] – we've been going at it tooth and nail trying to get up to the Masters level.

“It's going to be tough because more people know about me, so they're going to be watching out, studying me.”

Bache and Garfield each won their matches by decision against San Marino's Michael Scott, 6-0, and Monrovia's Angel Gonzalez, 9-4, respectively.

“Personally, I would've preferred our team to win [league] again,” Bache said. “Hopefully, I can lead by example so next year our team can get better.”

When it comes to CIF Individuals, the junior said he hopes to make it to the second day.

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