It would take no less than a miracle for Calvary Chapel to pull it off.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, San Jose Independence was working on one of its own and ended any dreams they might have had of winning their third consecutive State wrestling championship Saturday in front of 7,000 spectators at the University of the Pacific’s Spanos Center.
Independence finished with 113.5 points to 106.5 for Calvary Chapel. Bakersfield was third with 98.5.
Before the championship round, Calvary Chapel was trailing Independence by six. But both teams had two wrestlers in the finals.
For Independence, Tony Gomez, at 125 pounds, and defending champion Eric Guerrero (135), would wrestle before Calvary Chapel’s Josh Holiday (152) and Ed Mosley (160), both defending champions. For Calvary Chapel to have a chance, one Independence wrestler would have to lose, and both Calvary wrestlers would have to have pins.
Gomez won in overtime, beating Dane Bettencourt of Del Oro, 6-4, and Guerrero--named the meet’s champion of champions--became a three-time State winner by pinning Ivan Ibarra of Watsonville in 1 minute 64 seconds.
There were no pins for Holiday or Mosley, and Calvary Chapel wound up seven points short.
The Eagles’ demise started in an all-important 125-pound semifinal between Eagle sophomore Joe Calavitta and Gomez. After flip-flopping for the lead with Independence through Friday and much of Saturday, it was imperative for Calvary Chapel to advance three to the finals.
Calavitta, fourth in State last year at 103 pounds and now ranked No. 1 at 125, took a 4-1 lead into the second period against Gomez, who was third at State last year. But after Calavitta was penalized a point for stalling, the mood of the match changed in favor of Gomez. The crowd, clearly rooting against Calvary Chapel wrestlers, erupted into screams every time Gomez scored. At one point, Calavitta was injured, and the crowd booed.
Nevertheless, Calavitta came back to tie it, 7-7, in the third period. But Gomez was awarded another penalty point to take an 8-7 lead, and with less than 30 seconds left, he took Calavitta down for two points to seal a 10-7 victory. Calavitta went on to beat Jamill Kelly of Atwater, 5-2, for third.
With Calavitta’s loss, Independence moved closer and eventually took the lead by the end of the semifinals.
Calvary Chapel regained some ground in the consolation final rounds, but there just weren’t enough bodies to score, and thoughts of a third title became more unrealistic. Still, unlike last year, when the Eagles pretty much had won the championship on the meet’s first day, this one went to the wire.
Holiday won his 152-pound final against Mario Castillo of Watsonville, 20-11, and Mosley beat Jason Webster of Corona Centennial, 8-6 in overtime, at 160. Matt Van Hook also placed for the Eagles, taking seventh at 189.
Other finals: Chaffey’s Ruben Deleon defeated Mario Solorio of San Jose Oak Grove, 11-5, at 103 pounds. Stephen Abas of Union City James Logan defeated Paul Gomez of North Monterey City, 14-6, at 112; Rosemead’s Michael Kawamura defeated Luis Blanco of Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, 6-2, at 119; Adam Tirapelle of Sacramento Hiram Johnson beat Andy Bores of Vacaville, 3-0, at 130; Adam Coffing of Elk Grove defeated Joel Valencia of Fremont, 5-0, at 140; Hughson’s Josh Ichord pinned Bill Reisz of Ceres in 4:55 at 145; Eddie Fukuma of Alhambra defeated Larry Silva of Grace Davis, 2-1, at 171; Mark Munoz of Vallejo defeated Paul Kanazeh of James Logan, 9-7 in overtime, at 189, and heavyweight Brian Bushman of Brentwood Liberty defeated Bryan Yeager of Oak Grove by criteria after a scoreless overtime.
Of the 28 county wrestlers who competed, eight placed. The others were Sadie Morales of Santa Ana, sixth at 119; Justin Meier of Irvine, eighth at 125; Jeff Greco of Laguna Hills, eighth at 140, and Richard Meza of Loara, fifth at 145.