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La Cañada High wrestling opens league with win versus Hoover

Wrestling: Spartans receive five forfeits, roll to 58-21 win against short-handed Tornadoes.

January 07, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Hoover High's Eric Solemany (right) gets taken down by La Caada High's Elias Figueroa (left) in the 132-pound match at La Caada High on Tuesday. The Spartans won the match, 58-21. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Hoover High's Eric Solemany (right) gets taken…

LA CAÑADA — Win No. 1 in the era of La Cañada High wrestling Coach Justin Luthey came at the expense of loss No. 1 in the tenure of Hoover High’s Dave Beard.

The area’s only two wrestling programs opened Rio Hondo League competition Tuesday afternoon with the knowledge that both would be back in action within 48 hours.

Perhaps then it was the host Spartans who best took advantage of the circumstances, defeating the short-handed Tornadoes, 58-21.

“I’m not really as happy with this win as you’d think by the score. There are some things that we could have done better,” Luthey said. “We have to wrestle a lot better, but the team got its jitters out of the way and reacted positively to the home crowd, so that’s good.”

La Cañada (1-0) has a mammoth home match with CIF Southern Section Division VI fourth-ranked San Marino, the league’s defending champion, at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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The Titans defeated the Spartans, 54-27, in last year’s league opener en route to winning a league championship and snapping La Cañada’s two-year reign.

If the Spartans are to retake the crown, perhaps Luthey is correct in his team’s assessment.

Hoover (3-1) forfeited bouts at 106, 120, 126, 182 and 285 pounds in surrendering 30 points in what might otherwise have been a close match.

Those free points helped the Spartans roll out to a big advantage.

After a pin from Hoover’s David Balakeseryan at 2:33 in the first period of the 113-pound bout knotted the score at 6, the Spartans scored the next 28 points in taking a stranglehold versus the Tornadoes.

The first 12 points of that run came via forfeits at 120 and 126 pounds, which were followed by falls from Spartans sophomore Elias Figueroa (132 pounds) in the second period and from junior Rodrigo Torres (138), also in the second period.

La Cañada’s two pins were followed by the match’s first decision, a 13-5 major win for Spartans sophomore Ryan Breneman over Hoover’s Jessie Martinez at 145 pounds in one of the day’s marquee bouts.

“This was our first dual meet of the season, so you’re never exactly sure what to expect,” Luthey said. “It was nice to get that run.”

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