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La Cañada High wrestling looking forward to Perris and the falls

Wrestling: Spartans prepare for two-day CIF Southern Section Eastern Division Individual Wrestling Championships with Masters Meet berths on the line.

February 19, 2014|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • La Cañada High's Alex Bache, top, is one of nine Spartans heading to this weekend's CIF Southern Section Eastern Division Individual Wrestling Championships at Perris Citrus Hills High. (Raul Roa/File Photo)
La Cañada High's Alex Bache, top, is one…

Championships and Masters Meets berths are up for grabs, as a total of seven qualifiers and two alternates from the La Cañada High wrestling team prepare for the two-day long CIF Southern Section Eastern Division Individual Wrestling Championships at Perris Citrus Hill High, beginning on Friday.

The goal for each participant is to win one of 14 divisional weight championships or finish in one of the top five spots out of the roughly 25 wrestlers per weight class to earn advancement to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet taking place at Citizen Bank Arena in Ontario from Feb. 28 to March 1.

“Three weeks ago all the emphasis was on team-building and wrestling for the team,” Spartans first-year Coach Justin Luthey said. “Now the focus has turned toward the individual aspect and we’ve been focusing on getting better, staying healthy and getting comfortable.”

One such wrestler attempting to recapture his former prowess and return to the Masters Meet is La Cañada’s Guillermo Padilla.

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The Spartans senior heavyweight, who finished fourth at the Eastern Division championships last year, has been limited to two bouts this season due primarily to injuries and byes.

“I would say I’m a little out of condition, but I’m training hard and I’ll be ready,” said Padilla, the Rio Hondo League heavyweight champion. “To me, this is just another wrestling match. I’m going to treat it like all the others because I don’t want to psyche myself out.”

Despite a small sample size this year, Padilla is still the only Spartans wrestler ranked and comes in at No. 20 in the state according to most recent poll from thecaliforniawrestler.com.

“I have high expectations for myself,” Padilla said. “My sophomore year I finished sixth at CIF and then I was fourth my junior year. I’m shooting for a top-three this year and I’d like to try to make it to state.”

Padilla is one of four Rio Hondo League champions that La Cañada boasts, along with 185-pounder Alex Bache, 195-pounder Peter Garfield and 220-pounder Christian Tichon.

As far as tournament victories go this year, maybe nobody on the squad has had a better year than Bache, as the senior boasts a 22-3 record that includes tournament championships at the San Marino Invitational, the South Pasadena Tiger Invite and the John Glenn Tournament.

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