By Annalise Petersen and Tadzio Garcia
In what could have been dubbed a tournament of champions, the wrestling team hosted the first ELAC wrestling tournament, Saturday, Nov. 19.
The Huskies, ranked 17th in the state, hosted Cerritos, ranked No. 3, Victor Valley, (No. 14) and Bakersfield (No. 15). The Victor Valley Rams were a no-show because they could not spot a full team.
The tournament was a warm-up for the post-season. The Huskies will travel to Palomar College to compete in the regionals, Friday and Saturday. The state championships will be held at Santa Rosa College, Dec. 8 through Dec. 10th.
Four Huskies are included in the California community college individual wrestling rankings. Statewide individual rankings rank the top-eight wrestlers in each weight class including six honorable mention spots. Leading the Husky pack are Joshua Newman, ranked No. 7 in the 165-weight class, and honorable mention rankings in Rafik Hovhannisyan (141-weight class) and Joseph Martinez and Adrian Virgen (both 149-weight class).
“Wrestling keeps me busy, helps me stay in school and concentrate on what I have to do,” said Virgen, a freshman from Norwalk High School.
Virgen’s family, including his grandmother and brother who both attend every ELAC match, supported Virgen and also cheered for the team.
The Huskies are ready for the post-season. “The whole team is doing great as we took second in conference last week in Bakersfield,” said head coach Ralph Valle.
ELAC, who competes with Bakersfield and Victor Valley in conference play, scored a huge upset to take second place.
“In wrestling, you learn that it’s a demanding physical sport but the physical fitness becomes outstanding,” said freshman Gustavo Hernandez, a fire tech major from Garfield High School. Hernandez plans on taking his wrestling experience to the Marine Corps.