La Cañada High wrestling earns at-large berth

Wrestling: Rio Hondo League runner-up Spartans nab bid to CIF Southern Section Division VI Dual Meet Wrestling Championships on Saturday.

February 06, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa,
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

After a one-year hiatus, the La Cañada High wrestling team will return to the CIF Southern Section Division VI Dual Meet Wrestling championship tournament.

The Spartans, who are tied for 10th with Santa Paula in the final regular season poll released this week, earned one of the division's five at-large berths, as was announced by the CIF-SS office Thursday afternoon.

La Cañada (4-1), the Rio Hondo League runner-up, will face third-seeded Bay League champion West Torrance (5-1), last year's divisional runner-up, in Saturday's opening round at Redondo Union High.

First-round action begins at 11 a.m. with half of the 16 teams starting at that session and then the rest beginning approximately at 1 p.m.

The playoff announcement was somewhat expected at La Cañada, although there was still apprehension.

"We want to have a business-like approach and this was one of the goals for the season," Spartans first-year Coach Justin Luthey said. "We didn't win league to clinch the automatic berth, so we're definitely pleased to get an at-large berth."


The league's automatic berth went to sixth-ranked San Marino (5-0), which sits on the opposite end of the divisional bracket and would only meet La Cañada in the tournament championship final.

For La Cañada, this is the program's third trip to the dual meet championships over the last four years, as the Spartans, who finished second in league in 2012-2013, chose not to apply for a postseason bid in the final year under former coach Gavin Williams.

Two years prior, La Cañada made some noise at the dual meet tournament, defeating Downey Calvary Chapel, 52-21, in the first round before falling to second-seeded Nipomo, 45-22.

"I remember going as a freshman and sophomore and it's an honor to go back for my senior year," said La Cañada's Peter Garfield, the Rio Hondo League champion at 195 pounds. "This is a great opportunity to close our team season on a high note and get ready for individuals."

As for this year, the Spartans' only dual-meet experience has come in league, where the team defeated Hoover (58-21), South Pasadena (54-21), Monrovia (51-21) and St. Paul (54-18) and lost to San Marino (40-31).

"It's kind of nice to get some experience outside of league," Luthey said. "When you run into the same people and the same league, sometimes it's harder to focus."

While Luthey admits he doesn't know much about West Torrance, he also doesn't think that's such a bad thing.

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