MONROVIA — The city of Monrovia celebrated the second straight CIF Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship won by the Monrovia High football team with a parade Thursday night.
Before all the pomp took place, the La Cañada High wrestling team showed it still holds the bragging rights over the Wildcats on the mat as it picked up a 59-19 Rio Hondo League win at Monrovia Thursday. It's the second year in a row the Spartans defeated Monrovia — albeit much differently — as La Cañada pulled out a dramatic 34-33 home victory in last year's dual.
"It was a little bit easier than last year but there's no team I am going to take for granted," La Cañada Coach Gavin Williams said. "We have to expect it's going to be close and if it's not and we're on the winning end that's a good thing."
The win also gives the Spartans a stranglehold in league after defeating South Pasadena, 49-29, on Jan. 5. If La Cañada (2-0 in league) defeats San Marino on Jan. 31 at 3:30 p.m. it will capture its second straight and fourth league championship overall.
"I have always wanted to win league," said La Cañada senior 113-pound wrestler Daniel Wyatt. "Last year was the first time I did it in this sport and winning it back-to-back would be amazing."
The Spartans jumped out to a big lead against Monrovia (0-1 in league) by winning their first four matches for a 23-0 lead. Chris Skaggs started the dual off by pinning the Wildcats' Nate Delgado in 54 seconds. Wyatt followed that up with a technical 17-2 win over Christian Valenzuela in the 113-pound class.
"Monrovia has been our rival for the last couple of years," Wyatt said. "We've always had a tough time going at them. This year we worked hard and got ready for this."
Jonathan Skaggs gave La Cañada a 23-0 lead after pinning Andrew Simpson a minute into the second period and the Spartans picked up a win via forfeit in the 120-pound class.
Quick starts will be key for the Spartans this year, Williams said.
"It was important to build that big lead early," he said. "Last year our strength was our heavyweights, this year it's important to build it up because our lightweights set the tone."
The Wildcats won four individual matches in the 132, 171, 195 and 215 weight classes with two coming via pins. Monrovia sacrificed 12 points by forfeiting the 120- and 182-pound matches.
"Monrovia was ready to catch us, if we let up one moment they were ready to put us on our back," Williams said. "You have to wrestle the full six minutes and can't let up."
The Spartans were victorious in 10 of the 14 bouts and seven different La Cañada wrestlers — Brian Streeter, Gabe Villalobos, Kevin Stoner, Nick McMinamen, Guillermo Padilla, Chris Skaggs and Jonathan Skaggs — pinned their opponents.
"I was really happy with how a lot of my teammates did," said Streeter, who wrestlers at 138. "I like seeing this [type of win], it's not exactly as exciting for the crowd, but I am happy with how we did."