Victories for M-A, Palo Alto in league wrestling matches

Josh Meyers en route to a victory at 121 pounds.

Nico Ozden got more of a workout helping to roll up the wrestling mat after Menlo-Atherton's 39-30 victory over visiting Oceana on Thursday night than he did actually wrestling.

Ozden won his match at 195 pounds by forfeit. At least he has the raising of the arm thing down pat, though that's mostly because he wins a lot.

Lauren McDonnell
Josh Meyers, Liam Dunn, RicAnthony Gold, Nicky Wong, and Anthony Waller all won their matches for the Bears. Wong and Waller won by pins.

Heavyweight Misitoni Eke and lightweight Dylan Malley also won by forfeit for M-A, which travels to Half Moon Bay on Tuesday for as 6 p.m. PAL match.

Ozden, currently ranked third in the Central Coast Section at 182 pounds by The California Wrestler, is Menlo-Atherton's best chance at a Central Coast Section individual title. He placed fourth last year.

"I try to go week by week," Ozden said Thursday. "It's pretty daunting if you look at the whole thing at once. I know the drill enough to understand how it goes. I've got to keep my mind clear. be present and go off instinct."

The CCS meet is still more than a month away for the boys. Not so for the girls, who have to be ready to compete in three weeks. M-A is the defending CCS champion and is favored to win it again despite the loss of CCS champion and state medalist Chelsea Wilson to graduation.

"We've been thinking about CCS since the beginning of the season but now there's more talk of it," M-A team captain Lauren McDonnell said. "There's more of a focus."

McDonnell finished third in her weight division last year and the Bears also returned champion Folashade Akinola and medalists Abby Ericson (second), Anna Smith (third), Paola Ramirez (fourth), Livienna Lie (fourth) and Angie Bautista (fifth).

"With so many of us ranked, it becomes more of a collaboration, a real team sport," McDonnell said. "We can say 'this is how many points you can contribute' and how that adds up to, hopefully, defending our CCS championship."

Akinola, Ericson and Bautista are rated No. 1 in their respective CCS weight divisions. Smith, McDonnell are ranked second. Ramirez and Evelyn Calhoon rank fourth and Lie is fifth.

In addition to the dual meets, Ozden looks forward to the Mid-Cals, hosted by Gilroy High on Jan. 26-27. He'll get a look at some of the top wrestlers in his 182-pound weight division.

Ozden began wrestling as a freshman and hasn't looked back. He's the equivalent of a gym rat in basketball. If there were pick-up wrestling matches on the playground, there's a good chance Ozden would be right there.

"I go to clubs, camps, any open practice," he said. "I'll show up anywhere. I just keep doing it. I used to play football but it got in the way of wrestling."

Bears coach Dan Williams thinks Ozden is perfectly suited for wrestling as he seeks to continue his learning curve.

"He's works tremendously hard at it," Williams said. "He goes out on his own and finds practices. He picks apart his matches, he's super dedicated, physically strong and keeps wanting to improve technique and execution."

In the SCVAL, Palo Alto swept both the girls and boys matches at home on Thursday. The Lady Vikings won four of the six bouts, all by pin, to record a 24-9 victory over Milpitas. The boys beat the Trojans, 50-18.

Aishah Maas and Masako Perez barely got loose before recording pins in 36 and 38 seconds, respectively. Marina Buendia recorded her pin in 2:22 and Ashley Wang did so in 2:26.

The boys recorded five pins among their nine victories, one by forfeit. Adar Schwarzbach recorded the quickest pin, needing 48 seconds to gain the six points.

Macguire Ferrell (1:51), Dara Heydarour (1:56), Peter Graham (2:28) and Andrew Wang (3:14) also recorded pins.

Calvin Grewal and Halo Lynch each recorded a technical fall and Cooper Kim had a major decision.


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