By Red Williams
LA MIRADA – The pin is the name of the game in high school wrestling.
And Norwalk put six of them on the board to defeat La Mirada 38-35 on Thursday.
With the victory, Norwalk improved to 5-0 in the Suburban League while La Mirada fell to 4-1.
Norwalk took a 6-0 lead when its first two wrestlers, Gonzalo Vargas and Jethro Llamido, scored pins over Alex Powers and Alfonso Aguilar at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively.
“Pins certainly did us in,” Matadores coach Robert Lipeles said. “We put five sophomores and two freshmen on the mat, and it showed.”
The third pin for the Lancers may have been the most important, according to Norwalk coach Francisco Soto.
Jesus Jurado was battling Carlos Gonzalez and took a commanding 7-4 lead early in the third period. But Gonzalez scored a takedown to narrow it to 7-6 with 50 seconds left before Jurado nailed him with the pin at 35.3 seconds. That increased the lead to 21-9.
“He pulled out a great victory in a tough match,” Soto said.
Other pins for Norwalk were by Ivan Santana at 160 pounds over Joey Santana with 48.4 seconds left in the second period; Victor Castillo over Ramon Ayala at 182 pounds with just 46 seconds left in the match; and Jovanni Virgen over Devin Hedges at 195 pounds in the first period.
“That pin by Virgen was a big one. He sealed the victory,” Soto said.
It allowed Norwalk to forfeit the next match (at 220 pounds) without using a lighter wrestler, because Soto’s No. 1 wrestler was suffering from a sore ankle.
The Matadores had pins from Mauricio Perla at heavyweight over Josh Ramos with 2.6 seconds left in the first period, Steven Hart over James Flores at 145 with 1:18 showing on the third-period clock, and Matt Ortiz over Ruben Audetat in the 126-pound class. That fall came with 1:15 left in the second period.
“I thought we fought them well,” Lipeles said. “They worked their butts off and should have no shame. Norwalk has a good squad. They were the toughest dog in the fight. I thought we had a good, positive attitude.”
Lipeles said his squad also was hampered with injuries with his top three at 182 pounds missing.
After the opening pins by Norwalk’s Vargas and Llamido, La Mirada’s Robert Orbison ended the shutout with a 4-0 victory over Alex Perez in the 120-pound class.
And Christian Baeza just missed a pin for the Matadores at 170 when the referee counted his opponent, Charlie LaMantia, out just after the final horn sounded. That would have narrowed Norwalk’s lead to a mere point at 27-26.
But Castillo and Virgen responded with pins for the Lancers to put the match out of reach.
By Red Williams