La Cañada High knew the road was going to be long and hard in the CIF Southern Section Division VI Dual Meet Wresting Championships. The Spartans were seeded eighth for Saturday's event, hosted at Monrovia High.
La Cañada sped through the first round, defeating Santa Paula, 54-23.
However, the Spartans hit a roadblock in the form of Downey in the second round. The match went back and forth, but Downey — the top seed in the bracket — came out on top, 39-30. The Vikings then went on to claim the Division VI championship.
Three Spartans, Chris Bache, Chris Soo Hoo and Daniel Wyatt, had big days on Saturday, each of them winning both of their matches to keep hope alive against Downey. It wasn't enough to defeat the Vikings, though, who won six of their matches on pins.
The loss doesn't take away from the amazing run La Cañada had this year, though. The Spartans won the Rio Hondo League championship for the first time in two years. Bache, the Spartans' captain, credits the success to improved team chemistry.
"I feel like all of the guys have been a lot closer this year. That helped our work ethic. We all understood where everyone was coming from and we pushed each other harder. It was a good year this year," Bache said.
The year is far from over for 10 La Cañada wrestlers, who now shift their focus to the CIF-Southern Section Individual Wrestling Divisional Championships on Friday.
Wyatt (114 pounds), Josh Dong (121 pounds), Adam Skaggs (127 pounds), Brian Streeter (137 pounds), Kevin Stoner (147 pounds), Bache (154 pounds), Soo Hoo (162 pounds), Patrick Kim (173 pounds), Luke Sanborn (191 pounds) Austin Devine (heavyweight) will all wrestle in the CIF Southern Section Individuals.
"A lot of it involves luck and the day," Bache said. "So many people can peak on any given day and win a match that would go either way, depending on what day it is. I'm hoping CIF is our day."
Bache knows he can't hold anything back at Individuals.
"It could be my last tournament, so I have to fight as hard as I can in every single match," he said.