M-A coach hopes wrestling duals
will help ignite interest in the sport
Palo Alto boys play for soccer tournament championship on Saturday
Menlo-Atherton wrestling coach Peter Wright wants to revive the sport at his school and the fifth-year coach hopes the Cross Division Schools Duals on Saturday will help ignite interest.
Wright, who was raised in the wrestling-rich Midwest, thinks the Peninsula Athletic League can become one of the power leagues, so he's invited three Ocean Division teams and three Bay Division teams to compete.
The tournament includes M-A, Half Moon Bay and Sequoia from the Bay Division and Burlingame, Mills and Aragon from the Ocean Division.
The tournament will be held in the main gymnasium at M-A starting at 10 a.m. and will conclude some time near 4 p.m.
"We have kids here who wrestle year round in a club program," Wright said. "They go to tournaments on their own. We're hoping to showcase all that hard work."
The Cross Division tournament may not be the most prestigious tournament in the Central Coast Section but that's not the idea. Wright hopes it attracts support from parents, friends and students of all six schools.
It's a start and he hopes the tournament can become a traditional event.
Most M-A students are aware the school has a wrestling team but they don't necessarily understand wrestling. This is the opportunity to learn about it.
The tournament features two mats, with two dual meets going on simultaneously and continuous action.
The Gunn and Palo Alto wrestling teams, meanwhile, were busy last weekend.
Gunn hosted its annual quadrangular meet and went 2-1, posting victories over Salinas (78-6) and Watsonville (75-6) before losing to Serra in the finals (36-32). The Padres came in ranked No. 3 in the CCS while Gunn was ranked No. 9.
Serra and Gunn each won seven matches, but the Padres had five pins compared to the Titans' two falls and two technical falls.
"I was pleased with our progess and effort this early in the season," said Gunn coach Chris Horpel. "Whenever you start a season with a lot of new faces (Gunn has eight newcomers), you never know what's going to happen. If one close match had gone the other way, and there were several that could have, we would have beaten Serra. And, Serra is considered one of the best in CCS . . . so, I think we have another good bunch to work with this year."
Gunn junior Cadence Lee competed at 113 pounds and won all three of her matches by pin -- including her Serra opponent in just 55 seconds. She was the only Gunn wrestler to pin all three opponents.
At the 3rd annual Webber Lawson tournament at Fremont High, Palo Alto finshed fourth -- trailing Mission Oak (Central Section), Mitty and Fremont — after winning the event last year.
Erik Anderson led Paly by winning the 182-pound division while fellow senior Trenton Marshall was second at 160. Senior Jordan Smith (120 pounds) and junior Andrew Frick (220) both were third in their respective divisions.
Anderson opened with a bye, posted a 20-5 tech fall in the second round, pinned his semifinal opponent and had an 11-0 major decision in the finals over Araad Sarrami of Saratoga.
"The boys wrestled pretty well for the most part," said Paly coach Dave Duran, who only brought six of his possible 14 wrestlers. "All six were expected to place, and they did."
Palo Alto came into the tourney off a 38-25 dual-match loss to San Benito.
Senior Hashima Carothers tossed in 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds to pace Eastside Prep to a big 42-38 nonleague victory over host Sacred Heart Cathedral on Wednesday night.
Junior guard Charmaine Bradford dished out 10 assists and scored four points while 6-foot-3 sophomore Destiny Graham blocked six shots and tallied eight points for the Panthers (5-2), who overcame 22 turnovers by shooting 59 percent from the field (19 of 32).
In Sunnyvale, sophomore Gabi Bade poured in a season-high 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four steals to pace Pinewood to a 48-39 nonleague victory over host Homestead on Wednesday.
The Panthers (4-0) overcame a three-point first-quarter deficit by outscoring the Mustangs, 13-0, in the second quarter. Pinewood sophomore Marissa Hing had six points and five assists.
In San Jose, freshman Riley Hemm scored a career-high 14 points and Melissa Holland added 13 to power Sacred Heart Prep to a 62-55 nonleague win over host Evergreen Valley in San Jose on Wednesday. The Gators (6-1) pulled away with a 20-11 third quarter.
On Tuesday, host Gunn raced to a 22-8 first-quarter lead and cruised to a 51-31 nonleague victory over San Mateo. The Titans (5-2) welcomed back senior point guard Claire Klausner, who missed the Pinewood Classic while on a trip to Princeton (where she later committed to for softball). Klausner had eight points, five steals, two assists and two rebounds. Sophomore Meghan Mahoney led Gunn with 13 points and seven rebounds while shooting 4-of-6 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.
Palo Alto will play for the championship of the Oak Grove Gold Cup on Saturday against Alisal (7 p.m.) at Oak Grove High in San Jose.
The Vikings (4-2) earned the title berth following a 3-2 win over North Monterey County last Saturday behind a pair of goals by senior Chris Meredith, whose second goal proved to be the game-winner. Alisal (5-0) advanced with a 2-1 win over Lincoln (San Jose) in the other semifinal.
Palo Alto enters its final match of 2012 coming off a 3-0 nonleague loss to visiting Mountain View on Tuesday.
In other action this week:
Robert Hellman scored a pair of goals to pace Sacred Heart Prep to a 3-2 nonleague triumph over visiting Riordan on Wednesday. The Gators (2-2) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first half on a penalty kick by Brendan Spillane, which was created by Joe Callinan. Hellman followed with a goal assisted by Spillane before Riordan picked up a penalty kick for a 2-1 halftime.
Hellman finished off the visitors in the second half with his second goal, giving him six in the past two matches. He tallied four times in a 7-0 win over King City in another Gold Cup match last Saturday.
Menlo School, meanwhile, used a solid team effort to defeat host Los Altos, 3-0, in nonleague action on Wednesday. The Knights remained unbeaten in their past four matches while improving to 3-1-1 under first-year coach Marc Kerrest.
The Knights got the winning goal midway through the first half. Menlo senior Andrew Schmitt collected the ball after a long punt from senior goalie Timmy Costa and played fellow senior Ryan Karle in behind the defense. Karle initially looked for a teammate before firing a swerving shot with the outside of his foot past the Los Altos keeper for the opening goal.
Menlo continued to frustrate Los Altos with its staunch defending and scored a second goal 10 minutes later on a great individual effort by senior Max Parker. He received the ball in his own half from senior Beau Baldwin, dribbled down the line and ultimately ran past the Los Altos defense, calmly slotting the ball beyond the Eagles' keeper for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Midway through the second half, Menlo took advantage of a Los Altos turnover and, after Parker's initial shot was saved, Schmitt was there to tap home his third goal in the past three games.
Kelly Branson and Hannah Ditzler each tallied two goals to pace Pinewood to a 9-0 romp over visiting Latino Prep in a West Bay Athletic League (Skyline Division) match on Wednesday. The Panthers improved to 2-0 in league (2-2 overall). Olivia Biggs, Ketki Samel, Nancy Sutter, Victoria Gardiner and Leah Hess all scored single goals for Pinewood.
In nonleague action, Lauren Johnson provided Gunn with its lone goal in a 1-1 nonleague deadlock with visiting San Mateo on Wednesday. The Titans moved to 1-2-1 on the season.
On Tuesday, Sacred Heart Prep remained unbeaten for the third straight match following a 1-0 nonleague victory over visiting Sequoia. Alex Bourdillion scored the game-winner in the 18th minute off an assist from Christine Callinan. The Gators (4-1-1) were coming off a co-championship in the Palo Alto Winter Classic on Saturday.