Wrestling: Three go to CCS, Chen places 12th

March 3, 2019 — by  Isaac Le and Alex Wang

As senior captain Victor Chen stepped onto his match for his first match of the CCS championship at Independence High School, he felt a lot of “nervous energy.” It was his first time competing in CCS, and he was determined to win.

On Feb. 14 and 15, along with Chen, senior Carolyn Ma and sophomore Hunter Hawley competed in CCS, which is a 32-man double elimination bracket for each weight class.

Chen placed 12th in the 126-pound weight class, winning two matches, while Ma won one match and Hawley won none. This year was all three wrestlers’ first time at CCS.

Hawley’s first experience in the 195-pound weight class left more to be desired, as he faced the third-seeded wrestler, Chris Mendoza from Oak Grove, in his first match and was pinned. He then lost to Justin Gracia from Evergreen Valley, who took many shots at him while they were standing up, and was eliminated on the first day of CCS.

On the other hand, according to Chen, Ma’s first match in the 131-pound weight class against Tuva Kagedal from San Mateo was “the best match she had all season.” Ma was beating her opponent by 9 points — finishing takedowns and doing escapes, reversals and turns like how she was taught — but then she went for a throw with two seconds left in the match and landed on her back and got pinned, which lost her the match.

Ma advanced to day two of the tournament after getting a bye and winning another match by forfeit. However, she lost her first match on day two against Jaqueline Negrete-Morales from Soledad and was eliminated.

In the end, Chen had the best showing of the three, with two wins and a twelfth-place finish.

In his first match against Alforde Joaquin from Abraham Lincoln, Chen said that he was initially anxious. As a result, Chen was able to put Joaquin on his back multiple times but was unable to pin him and score points because Chen would overpursue and topple over Joaquin. However, Chen still won that match.

Chen faced a better-prepared opponent, Francis Woods from Sacred Heart Cathedral, in the second match, who went after Chen’s weaker left side.

“My opponent seemed to have studied me beforehand since he anticipated my go-to setups and shots,” Chen said.

Nearing the end of the match when his opponent was tired, Chen was able to lock up a cradle and a front headlock spin that secured him points and the victory.

On the second day of the tournament, Chen faced much tougher competition that led to him losing two games and being eliminated. His first match was against the first-seeded wrestler, Victor Jacinto from Gilroy, whose better movement and technique bested Chen.

During his second match, Chen faced the sixth-seeded wrestler, Ethan Rossi from San Benito, who scored a takedown, and Chen came back with a cradle. However, the referee did not call Chen’s move as a takedown, so he did not get any points and ultimately lost by one point which eliminated him from the tournament.

“I felt like I definitely could have gone further in the tournament, and even place, so it was a little disappointing at the end,” Chen said. “But I felt really glad that I could qualify for CCS since it was a goal for me since last season.”

Overall, Chen said he enjoyed his last season of wrestling, although he does have some regrets.

“I really wish I had another year,” he said, “and I regret not doing offseason earlier because wrestling really is a sport where you get more out of it when you put more work in.”

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