An emotionally charged El Camino Real High wrestling team rallied to win a second consecutive City Section title Saturday at San Fernando High, edging rival San Fernando by four points for the second consecutive year.
The Conquistadores, in claiming their fourth City title in seven years, outpointed San Fernando, 244 1/2-240 1/2, despite losing five consecutive head-to-head bouts early against the Tigers. Chatsworth placed third with 90 points.
Senior Alex Perez completed the comeback and clinched the title for El Camino Real by pinning Mark Valdez of Chatsworth in 3:58 in the 215-pound final.
Afterward, Perez emerged from a dogpile of teammates with tears of joy.
"There's just so much at stake here," Perez said. "I can't let my family down. And that's what this team is, a family. I'm just so happy we won."
El Camino Real senior Keith Thomas shed tears of pain after losing to Anthony Mendoza, 11-5, at 152 pounds. Thomas (16-1), who returned in January after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery in October, winced soon after the bout began.
Thomas, however, will be among the 14 champions who will advance to the state finals next weekend at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Mendoza (22-6) will withdraw because of academic ineligibility, San Fernando Coach Mike Castillo said.
"It's killing me right now," said Thomas, his right knee wrapped in ice. "But I'll just have to suck it up. We're all best friends. We just like to be together."
Eugene Korchmarev (160 pounds), Anthony Thomas (171) and Art Lucero (145) also won championships for El Camino Real.
Eleven El Camino Real wrestlers moved into starting positions this season.
"All I can say is, what a relief," El Camino Real Coach Terry Fischer said. "This is the one I really wanted."
San Fernando led the meet with seven champions.
Juniors Andy and Eddie Moro successfully defended their City titles. Andy (27-5) defeated Moshe Levi of El Camino Real, 9-5, at 130 pounds to claim a third consecutive title. Eddie (29-6) followed his twin with a 10-2 victory over Ryan Lewis of El Camino Real.
"I wish it could be three in a row for both of us," Andy said. "Actually, he's better than me right now."
San Fernando's Joe Hernandez (119) and Richard Aguirre (103) repeated as champions. Hernandez (25-7) pinned Edward Lemus of El Camino Real in 5:20.
"It's called a cradle," Hernandez said. "It's a good move. It's hard to get out of."
Aguirre outmaneuvered Tony Lara of El Camino Real, 10-2.
Senior heavyweight Julius Askew of San Fernando brought the meet to a close with a 58-second pin of Edgar Cardona of Canoga Park. Askew improved to 23-7.
Jaime Reyes of San Fernando defeated Noe Duran of El Camino Real, 14-4, at 125.
Tew Boonyawan and Raymon Munoz of Canoga Park won titles at 112 and 140. Boonyawan (22-2) defeated Eric Newman of El Camino Real, 18-5. Munoz (17-3) defeated Jose Ramirez of San Fernando, 10-3.
Chatsworth had one champion, Frankie Valdez at 189. Valdez defeated Jamar Cargo, 11-0.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
These City Section champions and Southern Section placers qualified for the state wrestling tournament:
* 103--Richard Aguirre, San Fernando
* 112--Tew Boonyawan, Canoga Park
* 119--Joe Hernandez, San Fernando
* 125--Jaime Reyes, San Fernando
* 130--Andy Moro, San Fernando
* 135--Eddie Moro, San Fernando
* 140--Raymon Munoz, Canoga Park
* 145--Art Lucero, El Camino Real
* 152--Keith Thomas, El Camino Real
* 160--Eugene Korchmarev, ECR
* 171--Anthony Thomas, ECR
* 189--Frankie Valdez, Chatsworth
* 215--Alex Perez, El Camino Real
* HWT--Julius Askew, San Fernando
Note: Keith Thomas placed second but will advance in place of champion Anthony Mendoza of San Fernando.
* 135--Dustin Clocherty, Ventura, 1st
* 140--John Garfinkel, Highland, 5th
* 140--Craig Baldwin, Camarillo, 8th
* 152--Stuart Young, Highland, 3rd
* 152--Josh Berman, Camarillo, 6th
* 171--Tiloi Tuitama, Hueneme, 6th
* 189--Cristobal Gonzalez, Ventura, 2nd
* 189--Dylan Hull, Agoura, 5th
* 189--Rickie Ford, Palmdale, 8th
* 215--Joe Martinez, Ventura, 3rd
* HWT--Chad Troxler, Simi Valley, 3rd