By GERARDO RECINOS
When you have a returning first team all-league sophomore on your opponents depth chart, you know you’re in for a rough one.
John Welch’s Las Lomas is no joke. They came into Alhambra’s gym on Wednesday night and dominated on their way to a 73-3 win. Alhambra had five forfeits on the night, but only one win left them reeling on their way out.
Fresh off their win at the Mission San Jose title on Saturday, Feb. 6, the Knights opened with returning senior Max Amen at 154 pounds against Jacob Smith.
Smith has been one of Alhambra’s most solid wrestlers in recent Diablo Foothill Athletic League matches, but he was clearly overpowered.
Amen, who was first-team all-league as a junior, proceeded to take down Smith twice in the opening round, before nearly pinning him in the second round. Smith was only able to get on the scoreboard due to three escapes. A late take down by Amen in the third round secure the major decision victory for Amen.
In the next match, things just got tougher. Following four forfeits by Alhambra, senior Joey Miller stepped up to the plate against Connor Aiello in the 220-pound weight class.
Aiello, who was also first team all-league last year, made short work of Miller, clearly not feeling tired at all from his second place individual finish at the weekend.
Aiello took Miller down in the first round and pinned him with only 49 seconds having come off the clock.
Miller is no slouch for Alhambra. He himself was the second team all-league selection last year in the 220-pound weight class. Aiello was the runner up in the weight class for the entire North Coast Section.
Brandon West too found a hard time dealing with his opponent in the heavyweight class. He was taken down and pinned in just under a minute and a half to continue the train of wins by Las Lomas.At 120 pounds Tyler Kingsley ran into yet another first team all-league finisher in Tony Margiotta.
As a freshman Margiotta finished as the best in the DFAL at 106 pounds, but he managed to make quick work of 120-pound Kingsley.
Two take downs in the opening seconds of the match were followed by a near fall that almost saw Margiotta finish off the Alhambra wrestler inside one minute.
Kingsley managed to escape twice, but his high caliber opponent wouldn’t allow much more. In the second round Margiotta pinned Kingsley with only 23 seconds having come off the clock.
The only bright spot on the night for Alhambra was the performance from Nate Winslow in the 134-pound weight class. After a stalemate in the opening round, Winslow scored on a reversal in the second round to take the lead.
In the third round it looked as if Winslow was certain to get the pin, he held his opponent down with his back on the mat for what seemed to be ages. Ultimately the referee never ruled a legitimate pin, but Winslow was awarded points for the near fall. He would end up winning by decision.
Winslow’s win however did not spark anything similar from his teammates however.
Damien Pergakis followed up Winslow with a gritty battle in the 140-pound weight class, but he never looked likely to get the result, only managing to score on a reversal and escape in the first and second rounds.
Fabian Garcia was equally overmatched by his opponent in the 147-pound weight class, however he unlike Pergakis was pinned with 19 seconds left in the second round.