Gunn's Lee pins down some school history


Gunn High freshman Cadence Lee is a pretty good soccer player, perhaps good enough to start on the Titans' varsity this season. Lee, however, never made it to the field this season and that turned out to be good news for the school's wrestling team.

Not only did the 103-pound Lee earn a starting role for the Titans this season, but she made some history, as well, by winning her weight division at the Central Coast Section Girls' Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Oak Grove High in San Jose.

Lee now will represent Gunn at the inaugural CIF State Championships in Lemoore on Feb. 25-26.

Lee was unseeded in her 16-girl bracket but, after opening with a first-round bye, proceeded to pin her way through the tournament and become the first female wrestling champ in school history. Although Gunn's only entry, Lee's pins and victory added up to enough points to give the Titans a 21st-place finish out of 51 teams that competed.

Lee won her match in the Round of 8 with a pin in just 41 seconds. She then pinned the No. 1 seed from Santa Teresa in 3:55 to advance to the finals, where she pinned the No. 3 seed from Branham in 3:59.

Before the finals, Lee was one of two athletes who were presented with the CCS Sportsmanship Award for "Pursuing Victory With Honor."

This marks both the first time Gunn has had an entry in the girls CCS Championships for wrestling and Gunn's first champion in this event.

Lee is 15-4 overall this season, with eight pins, and 5-0 in duals. She won her match, 8-0, during a 36-33 victory over Fremont last week as Gunn wrapped up the SCVAL El Camino Division dual-meet title.

"She ranks sixth on my team for team points," said Gunn coach Chris Horpel. "She had a strong judo background coming in, so it was no surprise that she was this good right off the bat. Her brother, Blaze Lee, is my starter at 140 pounds."

Horpel has known Cadence since she went out for wrestling as a seventh-grader at Terman Middle School.

"She never lost in middle school," Horpel said, "and lost (only) her first matches this year in tournaments."

The Gunn and Palo Alto wrestling teams will be in action this weekend when the SCVAL Championships are held at Wilcox High, Friday and Saturday. Menlo-Atherton, meanwhile, will compete at the Peninsula Athletic League Championships at Burlingame on Saturday.

-- Keith Peters

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Like this comment
Posted by Emmie
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

Kudos to Coach Chris Horpel for passing on his unsurpassed experience and love of the sport to another generation of champions. Although wrestling does not have as big a fan base as some other sports, those who practice it are among the most dedicated, physically fit, athletes around. It's encouraging to see an increasing number of girls participating as well. You go, girls! (Of course, I'm a tad biased - I'm Blaze & Cadence's mom.)

Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Just cause you're biased doesn't mean you're wrong.
Horpel has strong track record of instilling good values in kids at young ages. Who knows, if he keeps this up he might be re-cruited by Stanford to be their wrestling coach!

Like this comment
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Congratulations Cadence! You are such a great role model for my youngest daughter :)

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Great job by the athlete and the coach (who is also the athletic director at Gunn). It's great to see such outstanding performers in our midst.

Like this comment
Posted by Robin
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Congratulations on such an accomplishment. Your teammates should be pleased with your work ethic and ability. Should you continue wrestling, through high school, I hope that you have continued success and the ability to go to the next level.

Like this comment
Posted by We never learn
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 8, 2011 at 11:22 am

It is about time to stop honoring high achievers even though they make the district look good. It is time to recognize those students who are doing everything they can to stay alive even though they are depressed and stressed at their high schools. By publicizing and honoring high achievers, we are only making the underachievers feel worst.

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

@We Never Learn - why don't you write up a post about such a young person and tell us about him/her? I would be happy to hear about it. I don't agree with your view about not recognizing accomplishments, but I do think everyone has a story worth hearing. Please tell.

Like this comment
Posted by Coach
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

This is great for someone who worked so hard at her sport, don't try to take anything away from what she has done. "She is a fantastic person, bright in the class room and has many supporter's and friends. Let's give this wrestler her do... Way to go Candence!!! We are so very proud of you!!! And thanks to you Peter's for following up....

Like this comment
Posted by Emmie
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 9, 2011 at 10:15 am

@wow - Coach Horpel was actually head wrestling coach at Stanford for many years, and played an integral role in salvaging the program when it was on the chopping block. He has either participated or coached in the sport at all levels - from struggling middle school programs all the way to the Olympics. His passion and dedication know no bounds, and the Gunn team is unbelievably lucky to have him.

Like this comment
Posted by another wrestling parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Coach Horpel is the best. He is a great teacher of wrestling moves and sportsmanship; he is inclusive and caring; he produces champions and winning teams. It has been inspirational for my boys to work with him.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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