By Steve Breazeale
DANA POINT— San Clemente wrestling head coach Mark Calentino admitted he was a bit uneasy about the Tritons chances before his undefeated team took to the mats against South Coast League rival Dana Hills on January 22. The veteran coach thought it might be a tossup as to who would walk away the victor.
But with a flurry of successive match wins, the Tritons prevailed, defeating the Dolphins 39-20 to claim San Clemente’s first dual meet title since 2009.
Calentino and his coaches had the match scenarios drawn up as an even split before the night’s action, with San Clemente taking seven matches and the Dolphins taking seven. It would have to be an above average night for either team if they wanted the victory, according to Calentino.
Dana Hills jumped out to an early 9-0 lead after heavyweight Brandon Ramirez defeated San Clemente’s Tyler Maxwell by way of pin fall and 106-pounder Clayton Brock won his match against the Tritons’ junior varsity fill-in Victor Flener.
With momentum, and the home crowd, against them, the Tritons made their run.
Consecutive match wins by Danny Garcia and Mark Munoz put the Tritons on top 12-9.
After bumping their lead up to 27-16 mid-way through the match, San Clemente’s Tony Flores wrestled with Dana Hills’ Trevor Tribolet in the 170 pound class. The match went back and forth, with Tribolet taking an early lead until a late surge by Flores in the second and third periods ensured a 7-4 win, which gave the Tritons some much needed breathing room.
“We really had to wrestle well to make something happen and they stepped up. I think Tony (Flores) winning was a gigantic match,” Calentino said. “That was a match on paper we had (Dana Hills) winning…Flores just out-wrestled him. He just out-toughed (his opponent).”
The Tritons’ Ash Ryan continued his solid year by earning a 7-3 victory over Ryan Minoofar in the 195 pound class.
Austin Aceves (220 pound) provided the quickest win of the night by pinning the Dolphins’ Christian Clemente in 57 seconds, putting an exclamation point on the night for the Tritons.
Both teams now look forward to the South Coast League finals tournament on February 2.
Other match highlights:
126 pound- Grant Huntington (DH) def. Justin Kleinman (SC), 6-0
132 pound- Tim Parten (SC) def. Arryan Kianipey (DH), 7-2
145 pound- Brian Degenarro (SC) def. Hunter Dillon (DH), 8-4
152 pound- Austin Grimsley (DH) def. Rick Simpson 13-4
160 pound- Mike Marshall (SC) def. Nick Swanson (DH) 7-2
182 pound- Blaine Wagstaff (DH) def. Zack Adcock (SC) 16-2