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Rasslin' Tigers hope to have full tank for weekend duals

January 7, 2008 |  4:58 pm

Tigers_2 The two-time defending City Section champion San Fernando wrestling team has been unable to nail down the top spot in any of the five tournaments it has taken part in this season. But Coach Fernando Gonzalez thinks that might change at this weekend's 10-team South Hills dual.

"This weekend, hopefully, we'll have all 14 guys," said Gonzalez, whose team has finished second three times -- at the Chaminade Duals, Lancaster's Eagle Invitational and Rosemead's West Coast Classic. "I'm expecting first place if we have our full lineup. "

Gonzalez said he returned most of the wrestlers from the team that dominated last year's City championships, but he hasn't been able to get all of them on the mat at the same time. He said injuries, fevers, extended vacations and family emergencies have all taken their toll on his lineup at various times.

"Things like that just keep happening this season," said Gonzalez, whose team took fourth at last weekend's Super Champs tournament at Nogales. He added that the biggest disappointment was finishing 21st after bringing only seven varsity wrestlers to the 63-team North Torrance Tournament of Champions.

Still, Gonzalez has plenty of talent, including returning City champion George Garcia (18-2 this season), a 125-pound wrestler who finished first at Chaminade and Lancaster, second at Nogales and third at Rosemead.

Other key contributers should be City runner-up Lorenzo Chapman (13-2) at heavyweight, City runner-up Matt Castillo (21-6) at 189, City runner-up Mike Le (12-2) at 119, third-place City finisher Benito Mendez (14-3) at 103 and former junior varsity wrestler David Olvera (19-7) at 112 -- each of whom has taken first place in at least one tournament this season and is in the top two of the City Section rankings.

"I think we have the kids to set our goals high," Gonzalez said. "We just haven't been able to put our full lineup out there."

-- Chuck Schilken, guest blogger