2011-2012 Season Off To An Impressive Start

As we complete our first month of the wrestling season I thought I would report in to our faithful how the season is progressing. Coverage has been sparse in our local newspapers, and I have had a lot of people asking if our season has started.

It has started.......and with a bang!

At the varsity level the expectations of the season initially were muted as only four individuals of the fourteen starters returned to the lineup. Our first competition was the San Clemente Extravaganza. A four way dual meet tournament that was set up to get our boys some mat time and experience. We opened against Huntington Beach and made quick work of the Oilers 72-6. Next up was the San Clemente B-team. Corona del Mar pulled out of the competition five days earlier and I was unable to fill their spot. Our varsity defeated out JV 59-8, but the coaching staff saw that the program’s future was bright as there were many spirited individual matches in the dual. The championship match was against Aliso Niguel who had for the last six months boasted to be the team to beat in the Sea View league. This match also was won by your Tritons 51-25 with seven locals winning by pin.

Week two took us to the Long Beach MIllikan Duals for Friday and Saturday. Day one was a breeze as your Triton Grapplers defeated La MIrada 46-26, Long Beach Wilson 62-14, and Paramount 64-20. Day two started off quickly with victories over Millikan 70-6 and Ganesha 84-0 which is the highest point total possible in a high school dual. At this point in the tournament pool competition had completed and we were to meet the teams from the other pool who sported 4-1 and 5-0 records. First up in the placement round was Trabuco Hills who looked good in the first five rounds, and hadn’t beaten San Clemente in twenty one seasons, and truly believed that Saturday December third was the day that their long agony at the hands of the Tritons was to end. Unfortunately for them the Mustangs ended up as more proof of the talent this squad possesses. The Tritons came away with a convincing 54-16 victory. The championship finals dual was a showdown with Los Alamitos who was ranked #6 in Orange County in the pre-season rankings. The match was a seesaw battle that saw each team winning seven matches in the dual. Fortunately our squad was the mentally and physically tougher of the two and gave up just two pins as the Griffins gave up four. The final score of the match up was 38-32.

At this point the coaches started seeing shades of our 1996, and 2005-2008 groups. Some of the most prolific groups of wrestlers to come through the program. For those of you who were around in those days you’ll remember how much fun they were to experience.

Week three was to be our first test on the individual tournament circuit. First up was the Brick Yard Classic at J.W. North in Riverside. The two day tournament was a nice test for the Tritons in more ways than one. Obstacles included having to get down to their fighting weights and a Friday night competition that concluded at 12:45am and got us in our beds after 2:00am, only to get up early the next morning and drive back to Riverside. Rest assured this fiasco will not be repeated next year or any time soon as it was a truly draining experience on everyone including Mr. Waltman who on 10 minutes notice Friday morning showed up to the high school to drive Coach Calentino’s Excursion full of boys as no bus had been dispatched for the trip and the clock was ticking for weigh ins to start. Thank you Mr. Waltman! We made it to weigh ins and almost everyone was on weight. At the conclusion of day one we rested in second place not far behind Beaumont. One of our nemesis from our CIF section. Day two was a bit kinder to the rough and tumble Tritons in the 55 team field. We finished up with 10 medal winners which was good enough for the tournament championship. The top 10 Finishers looked like this; San Clemente 223.5, Beaumont 204.5, Canyon Springs 186.5, Norte Vista 184, Damian 175, La Sierra 162.5, Rosevelt 145.5, Etiwanda 142, Centennial 136, and M.L. King 128. A good field of teams, and a good finish by our up and comers. Individual place winners were Sophomore Daniel Garcia 2nd Place at 108 pounds. At 122 pounds we had two place winners as Senior Jacob Clifton placed fifth, and Junior Jacob Sandoval placed 8th. At 128 pounds Junior Tim Parten placed third. In the134 weight class Junior John Castellini placed 4th, in the 140 pound class Senior Chris Lopez fought back through the consolation brackets to place 3th showing a lot of toughness and leadership. The surprise rising giant on the team this week was tournament finalist Junior Tony Flores who fought four tough matches to make it to the championship finals match. Tony made it a good fight, but that was not to be the day he would raise his arm in victory as the tournament champion. Well Done Mr. Flores! At 160 pounds we sported and upstart Freshman Mike Marshall who is less adept at technique than he is on toughness and drive. Our coaching staff loves a project like Mike. Wrestling in his first big two day varsity tournament Mr. Marshall took home the 8th place medal and a ton of mat experience and a list in each of the coaches minds on what can be done to make this individual one of the best wrestlers this program has ever seen. Wrestling in his first matches of the year Senior Adrian Galvan who earlier in the fall thought he was over wrestling came to his senses after seeing the fun and success that his last years team mates were having. After a talk with the Triton Wrestling Management Board of Directors Adrian was allowed to reassume his position on the team while on restriction. Mr. Galvan took little time showing his team mates that he can be of help in their already successful quest for victories. At 174 pounds Adrian battled through the consolation brackets to place fourth. Our lone champion of the tournament was our senior heavyweight Cody Cornish who waited twelve hours on day 1 to wrestle his first match due to byes in the bracket. Cody made the most of the four matches he was given as he picked up three pins in less total time than three minutes, and a 10-4 decision victory to bring home the lone gold medal for San Clemente. An exhausting yet satisfying weekend for your Tritons.

Week four started off on Tuesday with our South Coast League opener versus Trabuco Hills. The Mustangs surely looking for revenge for the loss just more than a week earlier. The Trabuco Hills Wrestlers took the mat with a stern look on their collective faces. It was obvious that they wanted this victory. A line from an old Monkies song goes “disappointment haunted all my dreams”. This may have been playing in the backs of the minds of the Mustang coaching staff as the dual match started. Freshman Daniel Garcia got it started off with a pin at 108 pound, Junior Jacob Sandoval down to 113 pounds for the first time this year and made the cut worth it as he defeated well respected Adair 7-3. At 122 the other Jacob had his hands full with a well respected individual and ranked wrester Rinella. Unfortunately for Mr. Rinella Jacob was on his game this Tuesday and won the hard faught match 3-2. Junior Tim Parten won another nail biter 8-6 with some quick heroics late in the match. Junior Mike Castellini helped the cause with a second period pin. Senior Chris Lopez wrestling at 140 pounds used all six minutes to show off his technique and came away with a 13-5 major decision victory. Senior Adam Ferrier wrestling at 147 pounds picked up an 8-4 victory scoring five of his eight points in the third and final period. Senior Justin Feldman dropped down for a one match stint at 154 pound and was able to blank his opponent by the score of 4-0. Freshman and Junior respectively Mike Marshall and Tony Flores{wrestling up two weight classes} came out on the sad side of their matches, but showed promise looking forward to league finals. Senior Adrian Galvan dominated his opponent with three acrobatic throws that definitely were crowd pleasers and won by pin in the second period. Undefeated Junior Austin Aceves took the week off resting a sore shoulder. This allowed Sophomore Joseph Newman to walk into the 195 pound spot and have Cameron “Ash” Ryan take over the 222 pound class. Newman had a close match that went to the Mustangs, but Ryan made quick work of his much larger opponent by pinning him in just 43 seconds. The match finished up at heavyweight and not to be outdone by his predecessor Senior Cody Cornish pinned his opponent in just 34 seconds so everyone could get home at a reasonable time.

Week four saw the varsity squad travel a bit further out in Riverside to compete in the two day Colton Christmas Classic. After the fiasco of the previous weekend we felt it was in the best interest of everyone to get hotel rooms close to the school and stay in town, which is exactly what the team and coaches did. Day one ended at a reasonable 6:40pm and saw your Triton Grapplers sitting in second place one half point behind San Jacinto and a few more points ahead of Hemet and Hesperia. We had nine individuals in the semi-finals and three individuals in the consolation brackets. Two individuals didn’t make the trip and stayed at school. One nursing an injury, and the other couldn’t afford to miss the classroom time. Though short handed, expectations were still high for the squad in day two. The tournament saw twelve individuals go home with medals. Daniel Garcia, Jacob Sandoval, and Jacob Clifton each placed third in the first three weight classes. Tim Parten placed second at 126 pounds, John Castellini placed fourth at 134 pounds and Chris Lopez placed fifth at 140 pounds. Tony Flores placed third at 154 pounds which he rather enjoyed competing at after going up to the 184 weight class for the league dual earlier in the week. The 160 weight class was a special one as the Tritons had two place winners in this tough weight class. Justin Feldman fourth and MIke Marshall placed 5th. Cameron Ryan happy to be down to his 195 weight fought off a light bout with the flu to pick up a major decision, a technical fall, and two pins to take home a third place medal. Cody Cornish had another strong tournament placing second. When the smoke cleared your Trtitons finished in second place behind San Jacinto but ahead of 53 other teams including some Southern Section Powers such as Hemet, Hesperia, Ramona, and even Albany from New York.

The boys once again made our town proud. We will next be in action as the varsity will be traveling up to Upland for the Black Watch Invitational on December 29th and 30th. We are also considering sending a team on the 30th up to Quartz Hill for a one day invitational. We feel it may help progress some of our younger wrestlers a bit quicker than a couple of days off.

note: In tomorrow’s newspaper you will note that the Triton Wrestlers are currently ranked #4 in Orange County.

At this time of thanks I want to thank my coaching staff for all the time and effort they put in to make this program such a success. No wrestling program in the Capistrano district can match our success on the mat or our impressive graduation rate. And for that we are thankful as well as proud.

Thank you to:
John Owens
Rich Brown
Marcos Costas
Rich Santana
Joe Mark
David Gayer
Colin Daxon
Mike Marble
Jack Custer
And to all the other alumni who stop by and help out as time permits the program and Coach Brown thanks you too very much!

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy New Year

Mark Calentino