*The Warren High School wrestling team recently competed in two very large tournaments. On Dec. 8 the Bears wrestled at the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbit Invitational and last weekend the Bears competed at the Downey Viking Invitational. Both tournaments featured some of the area's best wrestlers and introduced many in the wrestling community to some local grapplers that coaches need to keep an eye on. Bear senior Andy Garcia (106) won both tournaments, at his respective weight class, and was impressive in doing so. Garcia decisioned Downey Calvary Chapel's Wyatt Gerl 6-4 to earn his second title in as many weekends. Garcia's overall record now stands at 16-2 and is widely considered one of the area's best wrestlers at his respective weight class. For Garcia's two titles in consecutive weekends, he has been selected as the Long Beach Press Telegram's Athlete of the Week. Coach Brogden was very pleased with Garcia's tournament results and L.B.P.T. honor; but maintains it is not a huge surprise because he was an excellent wrestler last year as well. Warren junior standout and team captain Darren Donate (126) finished in third place at the Downey Invitational but was hampered with a shoulder injury he sustained while finishing in second place the previous week at the Long Beach Tournament. Donate will need to rest his shoulder, while at the same time, maintain his conditioning this week if he wants to wrestle in the Mann Classic this weekend at Rancho Santiago Community College. Area teams competing this weekend at the Mann Classic will include, but will not be limited to, Mayfair, Los Alamitos, Long Beach Poly and Warren. In all, 48 teams will be represented and many of the southland's most elite wrestlers will be trying to win their individual weight classes. There will certainly be several wrestlers who will potentially qualify for the state meet who will win their respective weight classes at the Mann Classic this weekend. Wrestling starts Friday and will conclude with the championship matches Saturday evening. *The Downey High School wrestling team is currently ranked eighth by the Long Beach Press-Telegram as of Tuesday. Cross-town rival Warren is ranked fifth and Paramount is ranked ninth. Downey competed in the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbit Invitational Wrestling Tournament on Dec. 8 and finished in tenth place overall. Valencia High School was the tournament champion. Several Viking wrestlers placed and brought home medals for their efforts. Mark Lopez (106) placed seventh, Johnny Robles (113) placed seventh, Daniel Martinez (126) placed third and Juan Soto (160) placed second. Standout Anthony Florido (285) did not participate in this tournament because he had just finished winning a ring as the starting defensive tackle for the C.I.F. Southeast Division champion Viking football team. Downey hosted the Viking Invitational Wrestling Tournament Dec. 14-15 in which 32 schools were represented. The Vikings finished in 13th place overall with 102 points. The tournament champion was Corona Centennial with 234 points. Anthony Florido (285), now back in wrestling, was named the TMI Upper Weight MVP after four decisive wins by pinfall and a bye. Mark Lopez (106) placed 7th, Ronald Casasola (120) placed 8th, Daniel Martinez (126) placed 7th, Juan Soto (160) placed 7th and as previously mentioned, Anthony Florido (285) was the tournament champion. Downey will be busy over Christmas Break conditioning and working to get better. The S.G.V.L. will once again be very competitive as cross-town rival Warren and a resurgent Paramount squad will provide solid competition. I am certain Coach Soto and his wrestlers will be aiming to get back to another C.I.F. title match. The Vikings are four-time C.I.F. Finalists and have won two titles in the past four years. *The Downey High School girls' basketball team currently has an overall record of 6-4 and will begin league play Jan. 9 against cross-town rival Warren at Downey. The Lady Vikings have had a busy preseason schedule in which valuable game time experience has been gained. The Lady Vikings finished 2-2 at the Downey Classic Tournament, 11/24-29, with wins over El Monte and Bellflower and close losses against Santa Fe and North Torrance. The Lady Vikings were also 2-2 at the Glenn/Norwalk Tournament, 12/5-8, with wins over Bishop Conaty-Loretto and Bell Gardens and losses against St. Paul and South Torrance. More recently, the Lady Vikings defeated Cal High 48-26 on 12/11 and Immaculate Heart 67-27 on Dec. 13. Downey continued their preseason schedule with a game against Norwalk at Downey yesterday (score unavailable at press time). The Lady Vikings will travel to San Diego December 26-29th where they will play in the San Diego Southern California Prep Classic. The Lady Vikings will play such teams as San Pasqual, Olympian and San Diego. The Lady Vikings will conclude their preseason schedule with a home game against Bellflower on January 4th before they begin league play at home on January 9th. Coach Harris maintains that some early losses were attributed to the Lady Vikings gaining experience at the varsity level. Harris is very pleased with the continued, consistent play of Tiffany Gilmore, Kristin Johnson, Maribel Coss, Nona Carter and Bukky Adefeso. Coach Harris concluded by saying that Downey's preseason schedule and game experience will serve the Lady Vikings well once S.G.V.L. play begins. Coach Harris and his players are looking forward to the start of the league season.
********** Published: December 20, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 36