By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
WEST COVINA – South Hills High School was hoping to use rival Charter Oak Thursday as a stepping stone toward the Sierra League wrestling crown.
The visiting Chargers had other ideas.
Jack Castorena scored an 11-7 decision and Daniel Garcia won by fall as Charter Oak won seven of the final nine bouts to rally for a 39-33 victory over the host Huskies in a league dual match.
Charter Oak, which won eight of the 14 matches, including five by fall, improved to 2-1 in league play. South Hills, which won four of the first five, all by fall, slipped to 2-1.
The key bouts came back-to-back at 120 and 126. Castorena, after South Hills took a 27-24 lead on an 8-5 victory by Christian Flores (113) over Luke Knight, fought back from an early deficit against Jacob Andrade to go up 8-5 with a near-fall at 1:12 in the third period before getting a takedown with 30 seconds left for the 11-7 win.
Garcia then overcame an early deficit to score a win by fall over Ivan Martinez in 2:23. Joe Alexander clinched it, giving Charter Oak a 39-27 lead with a win by fall in 3:36.
Charter Oak coach Tom Cote: “I told our guys down 24-6 that we had to make our comeback and that’s what we did. They are a really strong team, with some really good wrestlers. We didn’t get a possible matchup at 132 (between Charter Oak’s Joe Alexander and South Hills’ Kevin Kelly) and that worked out in our favor.”
South Hills coach Robb Froh: “We knew we had to get out to a big lead. We knew their upper weights were pretty tough, so we knew we would need that lead to build some momentum. We just didn’t come through in some of the lighter weights like we thought we would. There were a lot of matches that were pivotal. We just didn’t come out and perform like we needed to.”
Charter Oak’s Daniel Garcia: “We just have a lot of heart. When you see that score, it just time to turn it up and bring (our) score higher.”
By Stephen Ramirez