Wrestling Faces Crushing Defeat against Laguna Hills High


Martin Yoon

Senior Joel Ong engages in hand fighting and wrist control to set up a shot after getting one point from escape.

Wrestling (3-3) faced a crushing defeat (6-75) to Laguna Hills High in the gym on Jan. 20 after winning against University High. The next match is against Laguna Hills High on Feb. 5; both teams will compete in the Pacific Coast League Finals.

“We were all just so anxious on where the score would end up being and how many points we would win or lose by,” captain and junior Nicholas Nieto said. “In the end, we took the loss, and it was a big loss. But it wasn’t something we were surprised about. We knew we weren’t in the best condition, but we all know we put our hearts into the game, so we are still proud of that.”

The head coach and four out of the nine wrestling players were not present at the match. Missing four team members was critical to the team’s loss as the Bulldogs had to withdraw from duels of various weight levels. For every forfeit loss, the opposing school is granted six points, and a total of 48 points were lost to Laguna Hills High, according to head coach Jacob Geha.

“If we didn’t have forfeit losses, I think we could have a good chance of winning against Laguna Hills High,” senior Isaiah Limongelli said. “We were just overwhelmed and anxious to come out there because we had a losing mentality, because there were only a couple of wrestlers.”

With its eight consecutive CIF Division Championships, Laguna Hills High is also a traditionally strong wrestling team compared to Portola High, according to Limongeli.

“Coming out like that to Laguna, 13th place in the state, that’s pretty good,” Limongelli said. “Only five of us came, and I am proud of the five people who showed up and wrestled their hearts out.”

After four subsequent takedowns and forfeit losses, senior Ethan Qureshi earned six points by pinning his opponent’s shoulders to the mat for a three count.

“We finished the season with 3-3, so we did pretty well, and I am glad that we could wrestle this year,” Geha said. “This is my first year as head coach. I love seeing younger players evolving to better players and becoming themselves part of the team.