By Priscilla Hernandez
The men’s wrestling team hosted “The Brawl” with 14 teams in attendance. It was a mix of junior colleges, universities and a club team that was not affiliated with a school.
The junior colleges in attendance were ELAC, Santa Ana, Victor Valley, Mt. SAC, Palomar, Cerritos, Rio Hondo, Bakersfield, and Moorpark. The universities that made an appearance were Menlo, USC, CSUN and San Jose State.
Multiple Huskies represented ELAC in different weight classes at “The Brawl.”. The following wrestlers were Ernie Sanchez, Raymond Malogonzales, Anthony Diaz, John Islas, Herberth Challapa, Jonathan Vega and Hector Ramirez. All the wrestlers came out aggressive and eager to win.
Head Coach Miguel Soto was pleased with all his wrestlers and how they stepped out on the mat. “The team’s outing was great, all of our wrestlers were fighting for every point, no one gave away easy points or losses. We all came together to set up this event, we’re happy with how everything ran,” coach Soto said.
The Huskies started off strong with back-to-back wins by Hector Ramirez and Herbeth Challapa. As a whole, the team scored 46 points, but it wasn’t enough for them to place as a team.
Sophomores Jonathan Vega and Hector Ramirez were in the spotlight for ELAC since the two advanced to compete in a medaling match.
Jonathan Vega wrestled in the 285-pound weight class, where he fought for a chance to medal as a third place winner. Vega fell short in a three-period medaling round, with a victory by decision to his opponent Dylin Avila, who represented Santa Ana. The outcome of the match was seven points for Avila and one point for Vega. Despite Vega’s loss, he still walked away placing fourth.
All of the spotlight landed on Hector Ramirez after going undefeated in the 149-pound weight class.
It was clear that Ramirez had one goal and a strong mentality going into “The Brawl.” “ Today’s mentality was really just to wrestle hard. Everytime I come into this gym my goal is to not lose,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez started off his day with a major decision win over his opponent Efrain Rodriguez, who represented Mt. San Antonio. The outcome of this match was Ramirez 19 and Rodriguez 6. Ramirez was unstoppable following his first match.
Due to his outstanding performance, Ramirez was put in the position to wrestle for the first place medal. He had to face Brian Dryer, who represented Rio Hondo. This match was a nail-biter during periods one and two because the point differential was not enough to declare an early winner in a spectator view. Ramirez proved he was the better wrestler on the mat by increasing his points drastically in period 3 to secure the win.
Ramirez brought home the gold in a decision win with the final outcome of Ramirez 11 and Dryer 6. He is proud of the outcomes he has had this season, considering the challenges he faced such as competing in a new weight class after taking a year off.
Undoubtedly, his coaches are just as proud. “He stepped out on the mat with great aggression. Every match, right off the whistle, he was attacking and going after things. It was a great performance from start to finish,” coach Soto said.
His outing today was possible due to the support he got from the important people in his life. They all motivate him to be the best wrestler every time he steps out on the mat.
“ I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, coaches, family and my girlfriend. They all play a part in me taking first at the brawl. They’re always pushing me, even when I’m not feeling it,” Ramirez said reflecting on his undefeated outing.
Overall, the Huskies proved they are a threat going into the South Regionals based on the performance each wrestler gave at “The Brawl.”