The Coast Classic Wrestling Tournament at Aptos High School on Dec. 27 and 28 gave Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley high school wrestlers a benchmark for the season.
While no wrestlers from either school finished in the top three, the two-day tournament let the teams see how they stacked up against stiff competition.
For San Lorenzo Valley, senior Michael Kraft took eighth at 145 pounds after slightly injuring his shoulder. Kraft lost his second and third matches and fell into the consolation bracket, where he reeled off five consecutive wins to reach the seventh-place match.
Senior Karl Johnson went 3-2 at 182 pounds, and freshmen Jason Silva (106 pounds) and Jed Kraft (119 pounds) both lost two matches.
“(Both freshmen) did pretty well,” head coach Ken Pollastrini said. “I was impressed. They lost to good wrestlers.”
According to Pollastrini, the team has 18 members, including 10 freshmen and several seniors who decided to wrestle for the first time this season.
Pollastrini said Michael Kraft and Johnson are both on track to place in the top three in the Central Coast Section and go to the state tournament. Both wrestlers narrowly missed a place in state competition in 2012.
Pollastrini said Curt Lambaren, a freshman wrestling at 195 pounds, could also make some noise at the league meet.
As for expectations, Pollastrini said he expected the team to work hard.
“They’re young,” he said. “They’re giving me 100 percent in the room, and I expect them to get better each day.”
For the Falcons, Kevin Edington went 3-2 at 126 pounds, Grant Margerum went 3-2 at 132 pounds, Balden Dashiev went 3-2 at 182 pounds, Michael Sandaval went 3-2 at 120 pounds, Christian Robotarro went 3-2 at 220 pounds and Nick Reyes went 2-2 at 138 pounds.
“We did really good as a team,” head coach Jared Norman said. “We just kind of petered out (in the later rounds). The level of wrestling was very, very high, and our kids did very, very well.”
Norman has about 30 wrestlers on the team — the largest number he has had in his five-year coaching tenure.
“Our goal is to win league,” Norman said. “We’ve been runner-up the past two years.”
Norman said that Aptos has a large team and is the Falcons’ main obstacle in the league.
“We have some holes, but if all we’re all healthy and eligible, it’s the strongest lineup we’ve ever had,” Norman said.
The team also includes six girls, who may challenge for the female Central Coast Section title. The group is Domino Parrish, Shelby Baker, Abbie Lopez, Alicia Pitts, Katherine Rossiter and Addy Johnson.
Norman’s coaching staff includes Ken Kannegaard, Waseem Lutfi and Fred Cortez.
“This is a really, really hungry team,” Norman said. “They’ve bought into the philosophy and they want to learn and excel.”
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