The stage appeared to be set for the Fountain Valley High wrestling team to experience disappointment once again in the CIF Southern Section dual meet wrestling championships.
Fountain Valley had changed its stripes in deciding to compete in the CIF Duals the season before after traditionally being an absentee in spite of its qualifications. It ended with a gut-wrenching one-point defeat to Riverside Hillcrest in the semifinals.
Through five weight classes in the final at home on Saturday, the Barons were digging a seemingly insurmountable hole for themselves, spotting Long Beach Millikan a 21-point lead.
Once again, the Barons’ fate in the CIF Duals would come down to a single match.
Thomas Madrid did just enough in surrendering only three points in a loss by decision, and top-seeded Fountain Valley rallied to beat No. 2-seeded Millikan 31-30 for the Division 3 crown on Saturday night.
“Everybody has to do their part,” said Dennis Piramo, who is a co-head coach of the Barons along with Brad Woodbury. “That’s what is so special about dual meets. It truly is an individual, selfish sport, but everyone has to do their part in order to win dual meet titles, so I’m very proud of the guys.”
Piramo also joked that home-field advantage was worth “one point,” the margin of victory for his team.
Fountain Valley had stormed back to take a 31-27 lead heading into the 170-pound match, the final bout of the evening. Madrid refused to be turned to his back by Millikan’s Dawson Hill in protecting the four-point lead.
Teammates cheered Madrid’s name in unison with the championship hanging in the balance. It helped him fight through a mid-match injury.
“It was amazing,” Madrid said of the support. “It just gave me a giant [shot] of energy. I dislocated my shoulder, and I didn’t really feel it. I was just so amped up when everyone [cheered].”
Max Wilner, who had a first-period pin in the 160-pound match to give his team a 31-27 advantage, became an additional coach for the Barons during their comeback, shouting out instructions to his competing teammates from the edge of the mat.
“I’ve never probably pep talked people more than I did tonight,” Wilner said. “I know that we’ve worked so hard, we work in the room. [I know] how bad Piramo and Woodbury want it, and how bad we want it. We’re only getting better and better from here on out.
“Having this is a great thing for the program, the wrestlers, and as a team together, our chemistry is way higher.”
A major decision earned by Sean Solis at 113 pounds ended the run by the Rams to open the match. It began a streak of six consecutive matches won by the Barons, who led 25-21 at the conclusion of the swing in momentum.
Kade Ayres (120) and TJ McDonnell (138) recorded pins. Zach Parker (126), Mikey Folch (132) and Luis Ramirez (145) each won by decision.
“The support of my teammates just made me feel great about everything going on,” said McDonnell, who gave Fountain Valley its first lead at 22-21. “It just gave me that extra strength to get that match over with.”
Fountain Valley earned wins over Chino Hills (81-0), Oxnard Rio Mesa (56-15), and Ventura (55-12) to reach the final.
Marina also competed at the meet, dropping its first-round match to Riverside Hillcrest 64-18. Mike McCoy (126), Jared Causse (170) and Andy Tran (220) had pins for the Vikings.
CIF Southern Section Division 3 dual meet wrestling championships
At Fountain Valley High
Fountain Valley 31, Long Beach Millikan 30
106 – Gavin Laverde (M) pins Daryl Dao (FV), 3:50.
113 – Sean Solis (FV) maj. Diego Laverde (M), 12-3.
120 – Kade Ayres (FV) pins Samuel Winters (M), 1:23.
126 – Zach Parker (FV) dec. Trevor Thompson (M), 9-4.
132 – Mikey Folch (FV) dec. Caleb Turner (M), 5-3.
138 – TJ McDonnell (FV) pins Kydyn Lima (M), 3:11.
145 – Luis Ramirez (FV) dec. Alan Patino (M), 15-9.
152 – Robert Pallares (M) pins Taylor Williams (FV), 1:00.
160 – Max Wilner (FV) pins Jacob Zavala (M), 1:54.
170 – Dawson Hill (M) dec. Thomas Madrid (FV), 8-5.
182 – Andrew Guerra (M) dec. Kyle Conde (FV), 2-0.
195 – Michael Salas (M) dec. Jason Harviston (FV), 6-3.
220 – Edwin Samayoa (M) dec. Matthew Fee (FV), 4-3.
285 – Santos Salas (M) pins Maximillian Tommey (FV), 3:00.
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