Andrew Pena of Irvine wanted to win his championship match Saturday against El Dorado’s Matt Burnham by a fall, at the very least, at the Laguna Hills Invitational. Instead, Pena had to settle for a technical fall to win the 125-pound title.
Pena, who’s ranked first in the county at 119 pounds, seemed content with his performances on the day, which included three pins earlier. Despite the title and being named the tournament’s top wrestler in the lower weights, Pena still appeared unhappy.
“I thought this would be the year that Irvine would win the division title,” said Pena, a senior. “I thought this would be the best team Irvine would ever have, but it didn’t turn out like that.”
Preseason polls had Irvine in the top five among county schools, but injuries and wrestlers quitting the team have put the Vaqueros’ season in jeopardy.
Pena said when the team started to fall apart earlier in the season, he would get depressed and have trouble motivating himself. But during the winter break, former Irvine wrestling standout Loc Pham came to the gym and gave Pena a pep talk.
“He told me I had to focus on what I needed to do and not worry about the team,” Pena said. “So that’s what I’m trying to do. Focus on what I need to do to get to state.”
Irvine is still struggling, but the Vaqueros scored 117.5 points Saturday for a second-place finish to defending champion Laguna Hills, which scored 171.5. Montclair was third with 106 points.
Laguna Hills had two champions: Victor Ha (112 pounds) and Bob Griffin (140). Other county champions included Irvine’s C.H. Rush (135); Dylan Cisneros of Canyon (145), who was named the top wrestler in the upper weights, and Jim Andersen of Orange Lutheran (160).
At the Tustin Invitational:
Foothill wrestlers win--Five Foothill wrestlers won first place in their weight classes at the Tustin Invitational. Scott Tipple (103), Ben Galmages (112), Bobby Williams (119) and Jimmy Gominsky (152) won each of their four matches. Adam Winkler (140) also finished first with a 3-1 record.