LONG BEACH — It was going to be the biggest dual meet challenge of the year.
That's what La Cañada High Coach Justin Luthey said shortly after the CIF Southern Section Western Division Wrestling brackets were released Thursday afternoon.
Luthey's Spartans were awarded an at-large berth and had hoped to make a dent against third-seeded Suburban League champion Mayfair in Saturday afternoon's first round.
While there were a couple of bright spots, Luthey's words proved prophetic, as La Cañada was handed its worse loss during the Luthey era, 69-9, at Long Beach Millikan High.
With the defeat, the Spartans were knocked out of the first round for a third consecutive year. The dual meet season also ended for La Cañada, which finished with a 12-4 record, a postseason bid and a third-place finish in the Rio Hondo League.
"As I saw it, there were about four good matches today and we won two of them, which gives me at least some good news," Luthey said. "I look at the way we fought against a great team and I'm proud of my guys."
Saturday's match began at 138 pounds and quickly got away from the Spartans, as Mayfair (8-0) picked up pins in the first five bouts to take a 30-0 lead.
La Cañada dropped two more weights to fall behind, 39-0, before Spartans senior 220-pounder David Vardanian broke his team's scoreless streak.
The reigning Rio Hondo League champion led, 6-4, against Mayfair's Victor Ramirez, the California Wrestler's No. 38-ranked 220-pounder, before picking up a fall midway through the second period to give his team six points.
"I was coming off an injury and my coaches told me this was going to be really tough, so I just had to go out and wrestle," Vardanian said. "I wanted to win today, but I also wanted to see how I felt for league finals and the rest of the year."
La Cañada's other victory came in a rematch, as Spartans junior Andrew Aghadjanians squared off against Mayfair's Eusebio Guerrero at 132 pounds.
The pair met at the Arroyo Classic on Jan. 9 and Guerrero picked up a 12-5 victory.
This time around, it was Aghadjanians who came out ahead. Despite his team being down, 69-6, the La Cañada grappler held on for a 3-2 win in the final bout of the day.
"We knew there were going to be a lot of tough matches," Aghadjanians said. "I just focused on my match. I lost to my guy at the Arroyo Tournament, but I was out of it that day. I knew I could do better and was confident coming in."
Revenge also worked against the Spartans at 182 pounds, as Mayfair's Brian Pigao rallied from a 9-8 deficit late in the second round against Shawayne Emadi to notch a 12-9 win. Emadi had pinned Pigao at Arroyo.
Overall, Mayfair finished with pins in 10 of 14 bouts.
Perhaps the best news for La Cañada is that it won't have time to lick its wounds, as the Spartans will now ready for the Rio Hondo League finals on Wednesday at Monrovia High at 1 p.m.