Wrestling is more of an individual sport, but Newport Harbor High saw the team aspect come alive against rival Corona del Mar Thursday night at Newport Harbor.
Sailors Coach Dominic Bulone said the credit went to senior Alex Maher, who set the tone. His huge win at 138 pounds was one of five straight victories that Newport Harbor rode to a 45-21 triumph over CdM.
The Sailors won the Golden Singlet, the framed prize for the winner of the Battle of the Bay rivalry. The Sea Kings had possession of it for the past two years.
The mat in the Sailors' gym had plenty of action, as Estancia also competed in the tri-meet. Newport Harbor and CdM beat the Eagles in respective dual-team matches.
Maher and the Sailors were determined to take the Golden Singlet away from CdM.
Bulone said he had read somewhere that CdM's 138-pounder Paul Nguyen was undefeated at 14-0. Bulone wanted Maher to deal the junior his first loss.
"I told Maher, 'You draw one of their best kids,'" Bulone said in a phone interview. "I thought the win really set the tone. [Maher] rose to the occasion."
Maher improved to 8-2 after his 11-6 victory. The Sailors followed with four straight wins.
Sophomore Ryan Taormina scored a 7-2 win at 145 pounds. Sophomore 152-pounder James Pilz won, 9-2.
Senior Ben Nordstrom dominated at 160 pounds with a technical fall (17-2). Senior Brandon Hayden won by pin in 1:26 at 170 pounds.
CdM team captain Colin Krum ended the Sailors' streak with his pin in 2:05 at 182 pounds.
Long after the Sailors had clinched the team win against CdM, Newport Harbor senior Jesus Diaz stepped up with an impressive performance at 132 pounds in the last match of the night.
Diaz was taken down in the first period, but he responded with an 18-4 victory.
At 195 pounds, Sailors junior R.J. Roberts won, 9-5. Newport Harbor junior Conner Moore, a 220-pounder, won by pin in 28 seconds.
Sailors junior David Wadleigh III also scored a pin, in 1:57 at 126 pounds.
Newport Harbor senior Jason Aviles, in the heavyweight division, received a win by forfeit.
"Going into the match I told [CdM Coach Gary] Almquist, that it could go either way," Bulone said of the match against the Sea Kings. "I really did not make any predictions. I really didn't have a sense how it would go. I didn't know how they were. But I knew my kids were capable."
— Steve Virgen