Chatsworth Twins Hope for Two Times the Titles : Championships: Avilas will attempt to end the City Section drought this weekend in Stockton.
Not long ago, Armando and Fernando Avila had never met a bag of potato chips they didn’t devour. And often with a few candy bars to follow, chased by a carton of ice cream.
Anyway you scoop it, the Avilas, identical-twin wrestlers for Chatsworth High, loved junk food--even though too many Pay Days might lead to pay back on the mat.
All of which they had to learn the hard way. But the Battle of the Bulge was finally won. And now, the Avilas, who each count a City Section championship along with their daily calories, hunger for something different.
The twins are among 11 area wrestlers who will compete in the state wrestling championships today and Saturday at University of the Pacific in Stockton. The tournament is scheduled to feature 416 wrestlers, 32 in each of 13 weight classes.
Armando (19-5), City champion at 135 pounds, and Fernando (18-8), champion at 140, will be among the most inexperienced wrestlers in their classes.
Neither had wrestled until last season. And historically, City representatives, whose comparatively shorter schedule doesn’t provide the experience other wrestlers pick up during the season, have not fared well at the state meet.
In the past 20 years, no City wrestler has emerged as state champion. But Armando and Fernando--strikingly similar in appearance, yet opposites in technique--are eager to end the drought.
“I hear there are all these good guys up there, but that’s what I heard about the City (finals),” Fernando said. “Everybody will be watching me. I just want to do pretty good and not make mistakes.”
In the City finals, Armando defeated Eduardo Nochez of El Camino Real, 11-5. Fernando immediately followed by whipping Julio Ramirez of San Fernando, 13-4. Last season, both brothers were eliminated in the first round of the City finals.
By their own estimations, Fernando’s strength is his takedown ability, Armando’s the ability to escape.
“They both made a quantum leap this year,” Chatsworth Coach Bob Hammond said. “They’re both good athletes and they learn fast.”
Except when it comes to training.
After a five-day break in January, the twins weighed in and Hammond nearly flipped out: Armando had gained six pounds, Fernando had gained eight.
“Discipline, they really had not had,” Hammond said. “They have it now, but they used to be so arrogant about their weight. They’d come in five pounds overweight and think it was funny. They’d say, ‘Oh, I can always cut it.’ But they found out they couldn’t cut it without paying the price.”
Payback came later that week at a dual meet at San Fernando. Both successfully shed the extra pounds, but both were soundly defeated. Fernando lost to Ramirez, his opponent in the City final.
“We never knew about making weight,” Armando said. “On weekends, we used to go out and eat at places and really overdo it. Doughnuts and brownies. Now we can’t. Now we eat lots of spaghetti and a lot of vegetables and good stuff.”
The supreme test came Saturday after the City finals, when Hammond offered to pay for a round of hot-fudge sundaes. But neither had the urge to splurge.
“We’ll make weight this weekend,” Armando said. “We learned our lesson.”
Area Entrants in the State Wrestling Meet
Following is a list of area wrestlers competing in the high school state championships today and Saturday at University of the Pacific in Stockton:
James Castenada (Alemany), Southern Section runner-up.
Jerry Escoto (Channel Islands), 5th in Southern Section.
Jose Barahona (Canoga Park), City Section champion.
Cisco Gerardo (Simi Valley), 5th in Southern Section.
David Duran (El Camino Real), City Section champion.
Armando Avila (Chatsworth), City Section champion.
Fernando Avila (Chatsworth), City Section champion.
Rafael Palacios (Canoga Park), City Section champion.
Sean Burns (Agoura), Southern Section champion.
Phil Duffield (Canoga Park), City Section champion.
Keith Jardine (Canoga Park), City Section champion.
First round: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Second round/first-round consolation: 1-5 p.m.
Third round/second-round consolation: 5-8 p.m.
Third-round consolation: 8-9 p.m.
Fourth-round consolation: 9-10 a.m.
Semifinals 10 a.m.-noon
Fifth round (consolation) 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sixth round (consolation) 1-2 p.m.
Third, fifth, seventh places 2-4:30 p.m.
Championships 7 p.m.