If the Five Counties Invitational is a measuring stick for how teams will fare in the state championships, then Santa Ana Calvary Chapel is coming up short. Calvary Chapel finished third in the tournament Saturday at Fountain Valley High -- not bad for most teams, but most teams don't have the standards of Calvary Chapel.
The Eagles, who have won seven state titles in the last 10 years, scored 156.5 points and finished 19.5 points behind team champion Poway's 176. Bakersfield was second with 160 points. Joe Williams, Calvary Chapel's 189-pound standout and defending state champion, won his weight class with a 12-3 decision over Mike Williams of Poway, but two other Calvary Chapel wrestlers who made the finals came away with second-place finishes.
"I'm definitely disappointed in how the team finished," said Joe Williams, who won three matches with pins, one by technical fall and another in a major decision and was named outstanding upper weights wrestler. "But it's also good in a way because if we were at the top of those standings, we might not work as hard for the rest of the season."
Calvary Chapel Coach Josh Holiday said his goal wasn't to win Five Counties. "I want to peak the team for the end," Holiday said. "This is right where we assumed we would be at this point. Some of our guys didn't do as well as we expected and we didn't have a good tournament overall and we still finished third."
The victory by Poway wasn't much of a surprise. Pat Payne, named outstanding wrestler for middle weights, won the 140-pound class, and three other Poway wrestlers finished second.
There weren't many surprises in the tournament, ranked the fourth best tournament in the nation by Wrestling USA. Top-seeded wrestlers won nine of the 12 weight classes and the top two seeded wrestlers advanced to the finals in nine weight classes.
Sean Prentice of Rosemead, seeded No. 8 at 112 pounds, defeated top-seeded Micha Ferguson of Del Oro, 8-2, in the quarterfinals, beat fifth-seeded John Rojas of Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, 7-6, in the semifinals, then upset third-seeded Bryan Osuna of Calvary Chapel with a double overtime victory in the final.
Prentice, a senior transfer from Alhambra, lost in the first round of the Masters tournament last year and not many expected him to factor in the mix at Five Counties.
"He's just mentally tougher than he was last year," Rosemead Coach Louie Madrigal said.
Santa Ana, led by 103-pound champion Hugo Guzman, had an impressive showing. The Saints finished sixth with 130.5 points and had a meet-high 10 wrestlers make it to the second day. Guzman defeated Matt Bautista of North Torrance, 6-4, in his final.