The group of 50-or-so students, friends and family of the El Dorado High School wrestling team likes to call itself the “Damage Brigade.”
After viewing the State Wrestling Championships at Independence High School Saturday, the group may want to pass on that title to the Golden Hawks themselves.
The Golden Hawks--three wrestlers, actually--did great damage to the rest of the tournament field, placing second in team scoring overall of the 178 schools with wrestlers entered.
San Diego Poway won the team title with 105 points; second was El Dorado with 80.5. Not a bad showing, considering that Poway brought 10 wrestlers with it versus the Golden Hawks’ three.
When it was over, Todd Tomaczic and Steve Lawson emerged as state champions, and Kyle Iwanaga took second place.
Tomaczic won his championship at 169 pounds by downing Sean Bentson of West Covina in one of the more exciting matches of the evening.
A state final crowd of 6,500 watched as Bentson took an early 2-0 lead, lost it, tried to come back, but ultimately came up short against the El Dorado junior.
Tomaczic prevailed in the match, 11-7.
“I came here thinking I could place in the top five, but I wrestled my brains out!” an exhausted Tomaczic said following his match.
“That’s the best I ever wrestled,” he added. “I can’t do any better than that.”
That’s OK, Todd. You won’t have to. There isn’t much left after winning a state championship, something over 300 other wrestlers here tried to do over the two-day tournament, but only 13 managed to accomplish.
Asked whether winning a state title was even better than beating somebody from arch-rival Loara back in Orange County, Tomaczic said, “Definitely!”
Teammate Steve Lawson won the 194-pound title in even grander fashion, pinning Harold Jones of Poway in the first period of their match.
Lawson finished his career at 44-0, so the final victory wasn’t a surprise. Coming against a Poway wrestler, however, it brought great personal satisfaction to the Golden Hawk senior.
And then there was Kyle Iwanaga, El Dorado’s 108-pound dynamo. Iwanaga ran out of steam against Erin Millsap of South Hills in the final as Millsap prevailed, 14-4.
In consolation-round action, Ed Regan of Sunny Hills finished third while two other county wrestlers finished in fifth place.
Regan won his two matches Saturday at 116 pounds, beating Mike Lucero of Pittsburg, 7-6, before downing Brad East of Bakersfield, 9-3, in the third place final.
Chris Wright of Loara took fifth place at 179 pounds by winning three of four matches. Wright beat Matt Howlis of Palo Alto, 3-1, to win the fifth-place final match.
Randy Gonzalez of Rancho Alamitos also took a fifth, easily handling Leo Guzman of Watsonville, 13-4, in the fifth-place final at heavyweights. Earlier, Guzman had beaten Chuck Weatherspoon of La Habra, 5-2, to knock the Highlander out of the tournament.