La Cañada High's wrestling team is setting its sights on the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs after dominating Rio Hondo League this season.
La Cañada went undefeated (3-0) in Rio Hondo League play, capturing the league championship for the first time in two years. Winning the title allowed the team to advance to the CIF Southern Section Division VI team playoffs.
Ten Spartan wrestlers also qualified for the postseason as individuals after winning their individual weight classes at the Rio Hondo League Individual Finals on Saturday at Monrovia High.
It has been a bit of a turnaround year for the Spartans, said Connor Ulf, the team's assistant coach.
"We haven't been to duals in years," Ulf said. "A lot of teams don't know about us, so we're hoping we might be able to fly under the radar a bit and sneak up on some people because we have a strong team."
Five Spartan wrestlers emerged as champions of their weight classes at the individual tournament, tying the program South Pasadena for the most titles. La Cañada sent a league-high 10 athletes to CIF Individuals though, as the Tigers had nine.
Daniel Wyatt (114 pounds), Kevin Stoner (147 pounds), Chris Bache (154 pounds), Luke Sanborn (191 pounds) and Austin Devine (heavyweight) each came out on top of their respective divisions on Saturday.
Bache was the only La Cañada wrestler to advance on a pin, defeating South Pasadena's Zach Gershman in the 154-pound championship match. The victory earned him the league's upper-weight most valuable player award. Everyone else won close matches by points, except for Wyatt, who dominated South Pasadena's Anthony Landeros, 13-0, in the 114-pound title match.
Josh Dong (121 pounds), Adam Skaggs (127 pounds), Brian Streeter (137 pounds), Chris Soo Hoo (162 pounds) and Patrick Kim (173 pounds) all placed second in their divisions, which also advances them to the CIF Southern Division VI Individuals.
Marty Vardanian, who finished third in the 217-pound division for La Cañada, sees his team going far in the dual and individual playoffs.
"I thought we were going to be really good last year, but this year I'd say we're 100 times better," Vardanian said.
Monrovia High is hosting the CIF Southern Section Division VI Dual Finals at 11 a.m. Saturday. The CIF Southern Division Individual preliminaries take place at 11 a.m. on Feb. 18 at Brea-Olinda High. The finals are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Feb. 19, also at Brea-Olinda.