The night started with area first responders being honored for their bravery and service before Lompoc and Cabrillo grappled on the wrestling mat.
The evening ended with the Braves emerging victorious with their 60-18 win on Wednesday night at Bryan Ayer Court inside Paisola Pavilion on the LHS campus.
The beginning of this Los Padres League and city dual started out with an emotional vibe – as the Vandenberg Air Force Base color guard walked toward the mat before the playing of the national anthem. Lompoc head wrestling coach Kyle Mayse admitted that watching that scene unfold gave him a wave of emotions.
“I thought that was really cool when the color guard went out there. That gave me chills,” Mayse said after the contest. “I thought that was a pretty neat thing.”
Two uniformed Air Force servicemen were in attendance, as they were greeted by handshakes from Cabrillo High athletic director Dan Troup. Former military personnel who have sons or nephews wrestling for both teams were also on hand. There were even small American flags that were distributed to the public as a way to honor the area first responders for their sacrifices, especially during the recent Thomas fire and the current Montecito floods.
Once the first match got underway, Lompoc took control from there.
Nate Barcelona battled with Cabrillo’s Cruz Smith in an exhilarating back-and-forth to start the night off. The 145 pounders exchanged reversals before Barcelona gained the upper hand – winning his match by points.
The next contest that had fans screaming loud with glee was the 170-pound battle between Lompoc’s Andrew Garcia and Cabrillo’s Patrick Durham. It was Durham of the Conquistadores who took control of his match – hooking Garcia’s left arm to help keep him under control and then mounting the LHS wrestler for the pin.
Durham would go on to become one of two Conqs’ who won by pinfall against the Braves, with Riley Daltorio being the other CHS wrestler to win. The 113-pounder executed two takedowns before beating Blake Reeder by pin.
The Braves, though, won four of their matches by forfeit including the heavyweight division – as the Braves’ Jacob Nunez had his arm raised.
Declan Sparrow of LHS had the fastest pin on the night. The backup quarterback of the Braves football team scored his pin in just 20 seconds, supplanting his opponent Sam Hough of Cabrillo in the 195-pound class.
Mayse pointed to Curtis Espinoza as his surprise wrestler on the evening. The transfer from Pioneer Valley became eligible on Jan. 1 and won his 126-pound contest against Fabian Reyes by points.
“Last weekend was the first time I’ve seen him compete. After watching him wrestle tonight, I’m looking for big things out of Curtis,” Mayse said.
One of the younger Braves on the night, Gracen Hayes, went on to endure a three round fight with CHS’s Abel Luria. With Hayes’ older brother Connor helping coach his sibling up from the sideline, the younger Hayes managed to win his match by pin in the third and final round. Hayes said that hearing his older brother yell and teach isn’t new to him.
“I’m used to it,” Hayes said. “He’s my brother, he coaches me up. We get through the hard times together.”
Like everyone else inside Bryan Ayer Court, Hayes was thankful for the current and former responders who watched Wednesday’s wrestling contest.
“It was very exciting with letting them know that they can come out and we thanked them for the service they’ve done,” Hayes said.
Righetti 6, Mission Prep 0
Myles Baro scored four times against the Royals to lift Righetti to its second PAC 8 win of the season.
Miguel Pantoja and Anthony Juarez also scored for the Warriors.
Atascadero 1, St. Joseph 0
The Knights kept the Greyhounds in check with defense, but still fell to AHS on Wednesday night.
Analea Pule finished with four first half saves for St. Joseph. Laura Chartier also had a stellar night on defense.