NORWALK, Calif. — Two Huskies of East Los Angeles College bounced back after one-point opening round losses to each place on the winner’s podium at the 2018 CCCAA State Championships at ‘The Aviary’ at Cerritos College.
Defending champion Fresno City College won the state title. ELAC edged Victor Valley College for 20th place. The Huskies were edged by rival Rio Hondo College by 4.5 points.
Sophomore Gabriel Rodriguez (Warren High School), a two-time state finalist, placed 7th in the 174-pound weight class, sophomore Efren Velez (Schurr HS) placed 8th the 197-pound division and freshman Emmanuel Zepeda (Fremont HS) had a strong showing after two 1-point losses to the No. 4 and No. 7-state ranked wrestlers in the 157-pound weight class.
174 Pounds — Medal Rounds: Rodriguez, ranked 4th in the state, entered this weight division as the South Region’s No. 3-seed. He faced nemesis Juan Rosales of Modesto Junior College the North’s 6th seed who pinned Rodriguez in September. It was a close match today with Rosales winning a 10-9 decision. Rodriguez bounced back with a win by fall (3:37) over Noah Collazo of West Hills College. In the third-place quarterfinals, Rodriguez lost a 9-8 decision to Robert Flores of Moorpark College.
Rodriguez had a challenging task of wrestling Rosales again in the 7th-8th place match. He controlled the match and pinned Rosales at 5:59. Rodriguez got his revenge wrestling for the win at the right time of the season, for the 7th place medal at state. “I wrestled hard,” said Rodriguez. “Seventh place wasn’t the result I wanted, but it’s all good.”
197 Pounds — Medal Rounds: Enroute to the 7th place medal match, Velez wrestled to one of the biggest upsets in the state finals. He had a tough draw at 197 pounds wrestling four state-ranked men. In the opening round, Velez, the South’s 5th seed, lost to Karin Shakur of Santa Rosa Junior College by a fall (4:23).
In one of the biggest upsets of the state tournament, Velez won a dramatic 10-8 decision over Anthony Stenschke of Cuesta College, the South’s No. 1-seed. In the third place quarterfinals, Velez lost a 7-1 decision to Tony Rogers of Lassen College and placed 8th after losing a 4-0 decision to Andy Vuong of Rio Hondo College.
157 Pounds Prelims: In the opening round Zepeda, the South’s No. 4-seed, wrestled against Manny Currey of Sacramento City College with no signs of weakness. Curry had an escape that proved the difference in a 7-6 decision win. Zepeda wrestled Joe Romero of West Hills College in the consolation bracket and lost a tough 6-5 decision. He lost to Romero twice at the Southern Regional and ends his freshman season as the most versatile Husky. Zepeda began the year wrestling in the 184-pound weight class and wrestled a total of four weight divisions.
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story submitted by Tadzio Garcia