Santa Maria High wrestling faced two hurdles in Lompoc and Nipomo on Wednesday night on its home mat — and swept the competition.
The Saints scored six pin fall victories in their 51-18 victory over the Braves in the early contest, and then held off a late charge from the Titans in the 46-27 decision to close out the Los Padres League meeting.
“I liked how they (the Saints) never gave up. They kept working even when they were down,” Saints head coach Mark Jansen said. “Even my guys who lost never gave up. This team is young and in that room I have 12 juniors and eight sophomores. And they work every day to get better.”
Against Lompoc, Lorenzo Diaz and Luis Santos scored forfeit wins for the Saints in the 106 and 113-pound division, respectively. Lompoc’s Luke Gardner won his match over Emilio Barajas in a thrilling back-and-forth match that saw Barajas execute a reverse takedown, but Gardener took control of his opponent the rest of the way and came away with the 8-7 win.
Santa Maria would take control of the mat from there, as Jorge Arevalo (145), Frank Lopez (152), Gabriel Bravo (170), Christian Andrade (182), Jonathan Garcia (220) and Marcus Peniado (heavyweight) all won their matches by pin. Arevalo and Andrade were the only Saints who completed their pins in the second period of their match, with the rest wrapping their contest up in the first.
Peniado, arguably, faced the most daunting challenge of the night: Grappling with the big 275-pound goliath Jacob Nunez of Lompoc. But the experienced Peniado held off the rising Braves freshman by utilizing his upper body strength to his advantage.
Netting victories for Lompoc were Nathan Barcelona (126), Austin Toal (132), Anthony McKenna (138) and Dechlan Sparrow (195). Barcelona was the lone Brave who won his contest by pin.
Nipomo provided a late scare in the second meeting inside the Braves' Wilson Gym. After losing seven straight matches including a forfeit in the 106-pound class, the Titans’ 120-pound Nick Gonzalez used a reverse pin to win his match over Barajas to ignite a Nipomo rally.
Guillermo Arceo then followed with his pin fall victory over Nathaniel Hernandez in the 126-pound bout. Luis Diego-Riquelme controlled Elijah Arguijo and won his contest by pin for NHS and then lastly, 138-pounder Jayson Davis brilliantly engineered two reverse takedowns to win his match over Ruben Lopez by pin.
Arevalo, though, scored the last victory for the Saints, as the 145-pounder used a lift and slam technique on Klay Funez to help win by decision.
Jansen said he anticipated a challenge from two much younger opponents.
“Everyone is respectable in our league,” Jansen said. “I’m especially proud with how my captains Josiah Calderon and Marcus Penaido took over. I was nervous just like in every league match because you never know what a guy will bring.”