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La Cañada wrestling falls to Millikan in CIF Division III dual-meet championships

Some lower-seeded teams were able to pull off upsets at the CIF Southern Section Division III dual-meet wrestling championships Saturday at Lakewood High.

For Rio Hondo League at-large entry La Cañada, the Spartans faced a strong Long Beach Millikan team that captured a Moore League title.

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La Cañada was in contention for much of its matches, but late pins in the third period of four bouts put the Spartans in a hole they couldn’t dig out of, as the team was not able to pull off the upset, 56-18.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” La Cañada coach Justin Luthey said. “On paper, we found a few ways we could’ve won. The matches were all close in the second and the third period, but they had some explosive moves that got our guys on their backs and then we got pinned.

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“Some of our guys had them on their back, but just got turned, so it was a lot of disappointing matches from that standpoint. Then we kind of dug ourselves in a hole and it was too far.”

La Cañada (17-4) wrestlers were also pinned twice in the second round of matches and won only three bouts against the Rams (22-5).

“They deserve all the credit and it was not a good day for us,” Luthey said.

Spartans senior Johnny Vasily earned La Cañada’s lone pin of the day in the 170-pound bout as he tapped out his opponent at the 3:53 mark in the second period.

La Cañada notched victories by decision from 126-pound freshman Alex Mykalo and heavyweight junior David Martoff.

In the heavyweight contention, Martoff tallied a takedown and a near-fall in the second period and then a reversal, a takedown and another near-fall in the third for a narrow 13-12 result.

Mykalo registered a takedown in overtime to win, 4-2, in the 126-pound match.

La Cañada now looks to focus on its upcoming Rio Hondo League Finals on Wednesday.

“It’s a reminder that we need to regroup, for certain,” Luthey said. “We weren’t focused. We weren’t focused in practice, we weren’t focused in pre-match and not in-match and I think the results show that.

“It was a good experience going to duals, though, so we can see what kind of team we can be or looking up to the teams we want to be like.”

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