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It was a tale of mixed results and emotions for the Lompoc High wrestling team on Wednesday night at Bryan Ayer Court.

The Braves held off the Santa Maria Saints in the first contest of their three-way meet 42-30. But after Morro Bay got on the mat, the Braves fell 42-27 – leaving Braves head coach Kyle Mayse with conflicting emotions about the performance of his team.

“It’s nice to get the win versus Santa Maria, but I think we could’ve beaten Morro Bay,” Mayse said. “Their heads were in other places (during the Morro Bay match) like what kind of shoes they were wearing and what’s on Instagram.”

Lompoc started out with energy on its home mat, as Erik Aguirre set the tone with his victory in the 106-pound division. The Saints, though, got retaliation through 113-pounder Alexis Garcia – winning his match by pin with 20.9 seconds left in the third period.

Gracen Hayes returned the favor for LHS with his pin in the first half in the 120-pound class. Lompoc’s Luke Gardner would win the next match in the 126-pound class by forfeit. Santa Maria’s Ruben Lopez kept the Saints in the contest with his victory over Curtis Espinoza in the 132-pound division.

Nate Barcelona went on to become one of three Brave wrestlers who won both of their matches against the Saints and Pirates. The 138-pounder – who was one of the seniors honored before the Morro Bay match – defeated Rigoberto Guzman of Santa Maria and Ian Franks of the Pirates by pin.

The other Brave who won both of his contests was heavyweight Jacob Nunez, who brought the most excitement in his contests. Nunez kept his legs moving to stay balanced in both of his contests, then completed the slam and pins to ignite the home fans and get the fans chanting his name.

Mayse himself has been surprised by the development of Nunez, who wrestled for the first time ever last year as a freshman on varsity and is still undergoing a learning curve on the mat.

“I thought that Morro Bay guy would beat Jacob. But he came out and got the job done. He’s surprised (this year),” Mayse said.

Dechlan Sparrow was the final LHS wrestler to win both of his matches on the evening – beating both of his opponents by points in the 182-pound class. 

Angel Nunez (145) and Connor Hayes would win the next two matches for the Braves against the Saints – the latter winning by forfeit.

Santa Maria’s Frank Lopez, fresh off of energizing a CIF Southern Section Division 12 run on the football field, impressed in the 170-pound class by pinning Andrew Garcia in the first period. Lopez gained the upper hand by having his opponent’s arms hooked and planted on the mat.

But despite splitting the difference on the evening, Connor Hayes joined his head coach’s frustration about coming out flat against the now 17-1 Pirates.

“I think the second match against Morro Bay was a very sloppy match,” Hayes said. “I probably got over-confident. After Santa Maria, I think our guys fell off and there was no energy.”

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The senior is hoping he and the rest of the team has a change in attitude moving forward.

“We need to go into the league tournament with a different mindset as far as team camaraderie and working together as one,” Hayes said.

Girls water polo

Cabrillo 10, Morro Bay 2

Playing in Morro Bay’s new pool, the Conquistadores won by eight to stay in the Los Padres League title race.

Mary Rhodes led the scoring charge with five goals. Gretchen Von Protz added three goals. Jillian Larson and Kaiya Ogan both had one goal apiece.