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Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - January 11, 2013

Gunn wrestlers pin down history by winning a title

by Keith Peters

Chris Horpel continues to be amazed by his Gunn High wrestling team. The Titans won the SCVAL De Anza Division meet championship a year ago and haven't lost a step this season.

A second-place finish at the Lynn Dyche Classic in December was followed by by a championship team title at the Bianchini Memorial last weekend.

"As usual, I don't have a good explanation for why we won this thing," said Horpel. "Maybe the other teams that were supposed to be good, just aren't. Maybe we are over-performing! Whatever is is, I want to keep up our momentum and see what we can do in CCS."

The 30-team Bianchini Memorial celebrated its 27th year of existence on Saturday at Cupertino High School and Gunn provided plenty of highlights for the celebration.

The Titans won their first-ever Bianchini title with 189 points, upsetting second-ranked Palma (161) and several other schools outside the Central Coast Section. Mitty was third with 142.50 points.

Gunn produced three champions and nine medalists overall.

"My team keeps surprising me in a good way," said Horpel, now in his 10th season as Gunn's head wrestling coach. "I have another good bunch that is very coachable, and they are making progress quickly. I also have a good group of assistants that make my job a lot easier."

Horpel, however, lost one of those assistants — Jonas Haro — this week. Haro accepted a job offer in New York and will be leaving the area on Friday. The Palo Alto High grad has been a valuable fixture on the football and wrestling staffs for years.

Haro was on hand for the Bianchini, where the highlight for Gunn was a big sweep by Ian Cramer at 138 pounds. He pinned all four opponents in the first or second period on his way to winning the title.

Despite moving up a weight class, Cramer won his division with a pin of Andrew Corral of Summit Tahoma at 1:34, a pin of Jeremiah Bautista of Fremont at 2:23, a pin of Max Dygert of Monta Vista in 2:57 and a pin of Will Amos of Redwood in 1:29.

Cramer's older brother, Eric, captured the 132-pound title with a a major decision and three pins — the last one coming in the finals against Brandon Watson of Monterey in 1:35.

Gunn's third champion was Cadence Lee at 106 pounds. She had three matches, pinning her first opponent in just 44 seconds before winning her next two by decision — including a 5-2 win over Nick Newman of Healdsburg in the finals to become the first girl ever to win her weight class at this tournament.

Gunn's Stephen Martin was second at 170 pounds after winning a pair of matches before dropping a 3-0 decision in the finals.

Teammate Sean Lydster was third at 195 pounds with a 3-1 record, Daniel Papp was fourth at 126 with a 3-2 mark, Blaze Lee (145) and Harsha Mokkarala (220) both were fifth with 3-2 marks, and Eric Calderon was seventh at 285.

Gunn actually won this tournament in 1974, when it was held at Monta Vista High School and it was not yet called the Bianchini Memorial.

Gunn, which wrestled at Los Altos on Thurday night, next will compete at the San Ramon Invitational on Saturday at San Ramon Valley High. The Titans will host rival Palo Alto on January 17.

Paly will compete at the Jim Root Invitational on Saturday at Cupertino High.

At the Apple Cider Classic at Watsonville High on Saturday, Austin Wilson of Menlo-Atherton finished second at 120 pounds after being pinning by Albert Lujan-Arias of St. Francis at 4:00.

Wilson, a junior, wound up earning 26 team points for his effort. He opened with a pair of pins to reach the semifinals, where he decisioned Eric Tolbertson of Newark Memorial, 9-6.

That earned Wilson a berth in the finals, making him the first M-A wrestler this season to advance to a title match. The last M-A wrestler to accomplish that was Andre Delagnes last season.

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