By Tadzio Garcia
The state’s No. 16-ranked East Los Angeles College upset No. 11 Chabot College and No. 13 Lassen Community College taking 15th place at the wrestling state finals last weekend.
Top-ranked Sacramento City College won the CCCAA Wrestling State championship and South Coast Conference rival Mt. San Antonio College placed third. Host San Joaquin Delta College in Stockon did not score any points and placed a 19th.
ELAC’s Hugo Perez won fifth place in the 125-pound weight class.
His teammates Adrian Herrera, Joseph Magdaleno-Hudson and William Einhänder Amelong were eliminated in the early rounds.
Perez scored an 8-4 upset decision over favored Dieuminse Dore, of Lassen College, in the fifth place medal match.
Perez had the difficult task of facing Dore for the second time in two days.
“I caught him with a bear hug, which scored me five points. Once I scored those points, I felt Dore had given up a bit. I think he probably wanted revenge (from the first match), but once I got a good lead it was pretty much done,” Perez said.
Perez also won a 16-5 major decision over Dore in the championship round quarterfinals.
“I think this match was actually tougher because there was more pressure in the championship round with a state championship still on the table,” Perez said.
Dore opened the match with a lead, but Perez caught his favorite move midway through the second period.
“It was a Granby role into a Peterson, which is a two-point reversal plus a three-point near-fall, making the score 8-3, in my favor. After that, I controlled the rest of the match and added several more points to hold on to the (16-5) victory,” Perez said.
Perez also lost a 9-0 major decision to eventual champion Christian Betancourt of Mt. SAC in the championship semifinals. Perez also pinned Joey Vigil of Sierra College 22 seconds into their first-round match with the ELAC fans screaming him on.
“I was there with other ELAC students to support my (wrestling) brothers who qualified for the state finals,” ELAC student and wrestler Frank Aceves said.
“We were all right next to mat when Hugo (Perez) and other (Huskies) wrestled, cheering them on the whole time. We were excited when Hugo won his fifth place medal,” Aceves said.
Herrera and Magdaleno-Hudson both wrestled as underdogs in each match.
Zack Grove of Skyline College eliminated Herrera in the 157-pound weight division with a 9-7 overtime sudden victory decision.
Herrera upset heavily favored Alex Grijalba of Modesto Junior College, 9-7, in an opening-round shocker.
“It doesn’t bother me if they are ranked or not. I have a job to do,” Herrera said.
Herrera lost a 5-0 decision to, eventual champion, Taylor Hodel of Sacramento City College in the second round.
Fifth-seeded Josh Cortez of Cuesta College pinned Magdaleno-Hudson at 3:41 in the 157-pound third round.
Magdaleno Hudson won a 9-7 upset decision over Latrell Benjamin of Modesto in their opening-round match.
Top-seeded Shervin Iraniha of Palomar College bested Magdaleno Hudson with an 18-5 major decision in the second round.
“It was a great learning experience and I’m glad by teammates were there to cheer me on,” Magdaleno-Hudson said.
Amelong was ousted from the tournament after two opening-round falls. He was pinned by Logan Paxton of Sacramento City College with 26 seconds left in his opening-round match and also to Charlie Rassel at 3:30 in the second round.
“Wrestling at state was a great experience for me and gave me the motivation I need for next year,” Amelong said.
The Huskies were plagued by injuries and illnesses during the season.
They wrestled at the Southern California Regionals hosted by ELAC and the state finals without key wrestlers, including the state’s current No. 6-ranked Davit Hovhannisyan at 125 pounds.
Also, Rafik Hovhannisyan who took sixth place at the 2011 state finals, standout Andrew Reel and Omar Ochoa who was ranked all of last season in the 141-pound weight class.
ELAC Wrestling Coach Ralph Valle ended his 19th season strong after only qualifying four wrestlers at state, three of who are freshmen.
The Huskies finished a top-10 team last year and 2009 in the state finals.