MISSION HILLS – At one point on Tuesday evening, the Valencia wrestling team was cruising. After beating Eagle Rock 53-28, then Bishop Alemany 59-18 at the Alemany Duals, were focused.
The young Vikings roster had one last team to face: Paramount. The Pirates had a long bench filled with strong wrestlers that would overwhelm Valencia 37-34.
“The message was just continue to wrestle your best,” said Valencia coach Brian Peterson. “So just continue to wrestle the same way they were against Alemany. It was like, a shutout. Maybe not on the scoreboard, but it was a shutout on the matches.”
Valencia earned some points off a Pirate forfeit in the 113-pound weight class to start things off, then lost by pin in the 120 class. Valencia then gave up back-to-back forfeits and lost by decision in the 138 match.
Javier Garcia picked up a 9-7 win at 145, but it was Trent Munoz who truly got the momentum going for the Vikings.
He scored just two points on a takedown in the first period then increased his lead to 10-1 by the end of the second. After one final takedown, Munoz was able to pin Javier Elenes with 1:35 to go in the third period.
“Just kept on trying moves,” Munoz, a sophomore, said. “Always moving. Once you stop moving then that’s when they start to work their moves and you don’t want that. So I’m just always moving, waiting for something to work and it did.”
Anthony Galvez won by forfeit in the 160s then Braden Smelser kept the energy going by a major decision win at 170.
Smelser gained a 9-1 lead by the end of the first period and ended the second period with a reversal to end it at 11-3. He opened the third with another reversal and was able to close out the frame with a 16-5 win.
Sophomore Max Begley won by decision on a takedown at 8-6 in the 170 weight class and Ben Gould pinned Paramount’s Bucio with five seconds to go in the opening period.
After Gould’s pin – his second of the evening – the Vikings gave up three matches: one by forfeit, one by decision and one by major decision.
“I knew that we were going to have a little battle with them just because we didn’t have the numbers and all that,” said Galvez, “but we were going to outperform them. Even though we didn’t win the dual, I knew we were going to work them harder.”
Despite not wrestling against Paramount, Galvez still had a successful evening with pins against his Eagle Rock and Alemany opponents – both of which came with 50 seconds or more remaining in the first period.
“He was just pushing on me,” Galvez said of his match against Alemany. “I just used that against him and I threw him to his back and then eventually got the pin. I just look for whatever they give me to catch them on their mistakes.”
Kyle Roth, another sophomore, came from behind in his match against Alemany for a pin. Roth trailed 4-1 by the end of the first with his only point coming off an escape then brought the score closer with two points off a reversal in the second. He locked down on a pin with one minute left in the period.
Valencia starts up a series of tournaments with the Newbury Park Invitational on Saturday, which means nearly a complete flip in mentality as compared to what the team has had with the previous two dual meets.
“You just have to be more ready because it’s more individual and it’s not as a team,” Galvez said. “You can’t rely on your team to win the tournament or the dual meet. You’ve just got to have like, fiercer attitude towards it.
“Just gotta keep a good mindset and keep a positive mindset for the outcome of the tournament. It’s a totally different mindset.”