It had been six years since the last time the La Cañada Spartans beat the Monrovia Wildcats in wrestling. This past Thursday, the Spartans won convincingly against their biggest league rivals 45-24. A near capacity crowd at the Monrovia gym saw the San Gabriel Valley’s 5th ranked team get pounded by a young La Cañada team that refused to quit. Although the first three matches for La Canada ended up in losses, freshman Patrick Han (103 lbs) and sophomores Rasheed Akbarut (112 lbs) and David Wyatt (119 lbs) all fought close matches, which gave Monrovia a narrower lead than they had expected.
In the next match, La Cañada’s senior Michael Peterson (125 lbs) improved his individual win/ loss record to 28-7 with a first period pin over Monrovia’s Angel Olivas. That set the tone for the Spartan senior co-captain Mark Ajalat (130 lbs) who was ahead by a slim 4-2 margin in the third period and with 30 seconds left in the match, overpowered Marcos Sena and pinned him with just a few seconds remaining. La Cañada’s 135 lb senior Dustin Kelly followed up with another third period pin of his own over Carlos Cimmacusti. With Monrovia winning the 140 lb and 150 lb matches, La Cañada’s 145 lb senior David Bentz scored an upset decision (6-2) over Jacob Johnston.
The Spartans’ upper weights were unstoppable. Senior co-captain Fletcher Przybyla (160 lbs) scored a major decision 9-0 over Adrian Macias. Junior Sean Denney (171 lbs) pinned Jesus Soldana in the first period followed by 189 lb junior James Christianson’s first period pin over Uriel Artenga. At 215 lbs, sophomore David Miller’s match was stopped due to Miller’s rib injury suffered by an illegal throw by Monrovia’s Travis Horn.
That violation cost Horn the match, and Miller was declared the winner. The final match was a hard fought heavyweight match up between La Canada’s junior Joe Hughes and Monrovia’s Johnny Bacerra. Hughes won in overtime, capping off the final victory for the Spartans. La Cañada, which is now 3-0 in league, will try to keep the momentum going against Salesian High today (Thursday) at LCHS.