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La Cañada High wrestling falls behind early in loss to San Marino

Wrestling: Spartans drop seven of first eight bouts in 40-31 defeat in pivotal Rio Hondo League match.

January 09, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High wrestling coaches Justin Luthey (left to right), Armand Aghadjanians and Chris Bache call instructions to Ryan Breneman as he wrestles San Marino's Dominick Magana at La Cañada on Thursday. The Spartans lost, 40-31. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
La Cañada High wrestling coaches Justin Luthey…

LA CAÑADA — All it took was eight rounds.

In that span, the host La Cañada High wrestling team saw its hopes of reclaiming a Rio Hondo League championship rise and suddenly fall versus defending titlist San Marino High on Thursday afternoon in a meeting of the league’s last two champions.

PHOTOS: La Canada vs. San Marino wrestling

The CIF Southern Section Division VI fourth-ranked Titans won seven of the day’s first eight bouts, five via pins, and not only raced to an insurmountable lead, but, in the process, neutralized the Spartans’ advantage in the upper weights in what was a 40-31 victory among the likely top two finishers in league again this season.

“We were ready for that. Everyone knows that’s what [San Marino’s] strength is, the lower weights. I think we did a pretty good job keeping our heads up knowing that we had our heavies to rely on,” Spartans first-year Coach Justin Luthey said. “It really just came to a few swing weights. That’s two matches you know, two or three matches.”

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The defeat leaves La Cañada on the outside of league and team postseason aspirations, as the Titans (2-0) have the inside track to a league championship and the league’s lone guaranteed berth to the Division VI Dual Meet Championships at Redondo Union High on Feb. 8.

What was unknown at the time was that a pin from San Marino’s Dominick Magana at 145 pounds in the seventh bout of the day and final in the lower weights provided all the offense the Titans needed, as the visitors raced to a 33-6 advantage.

Perhaps the most significant bout, however, came next at 152 pounds, as La Cañada junior Christopher Harb engaged San Marino’s Aaron Padilla in a thrilling, back-and-forth battle.

Harb scored the first takedown in a bout that was tied at 2 after one round and then saw Padilla take a 4-3 advantage on his own takedown after two periods.

Harb responded with a near fall in taking a 6-4 advantage early in the third before surrendering a reversal with 38 seconds left that tied the score and then a devastating near fall with five seconds remaining that delivered Padilla a come-from-behind 9-6 victory, which bumped San Marino’s lead to 36-6.

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