Carlos Gomez of Birmingham competing in Fargo (Photo Chris Mora)
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The 2017-18 season has the potential to be a competitive one, with over 50 percent of all Los Angeles city wrestlers from a season ago returning. Here’s a look at each region, as well as grapplers to watch.
It will be the usual suspects here. San Pedro returns a very strong core of wrestlers, but Region I champions Polytechnic, Carson, and Bell, will once again feature very talented teams. The Pirates lost their two leading state qualifiers Jesus Mejia (126) and Abraham Rivera (195) to graduation. Nevertheless, they will have back eight region medalists, including Ray Rodriguez (138) who placed at the section tournament.
Polytechnic won’t have the depth they did last year but will count on region champions Johan Serrano (120), Jordan Cabral (132), and Sergio Cabral (182), to lead them to a top five team finish at the region tournament. Carson High will attempt and steal the show from San Pedro as they return five seasoned veterans. Lead by region finalists Matthew Alferos (106), Dylan Mendoza (132), and Eric Ramirez (182); the Colts will take a stab at bringing a region championship back to the Bay Area. Keep an eye on The Eagles of Bell High as they return a handful of area medalists.
Not only is Birmingham a favorite for the Region II team title, but also on a short list of favorites to win the Los Angeles section tournament, with 11 region medalists returning. It is nothing new, as the Patriots have placed either first or second in the section tournament the past three seasons.
They will obviously be the favorite in Region II, with Eagle Rock, El Camino Real, and Granada Hills, the most likely challengers. The Patriots return state qualifiers Roque Roman (106), Carlos Gomez (182), as well as 2017 Fargo All-American Jonovan Smith (160). Damian Machain (126) and Joseph Chacon (285) will bring their expertise back to the wrestling room to help the Patriots challenge Region III favorites, San Fernando, for the section title.
El Camino Real doesn’t have the depth to challenge for a dual-meet championship but will be in the hunt for individual team championship with state qualifier Pablo Alvarez (120), and section medalists Dominic Buenaflor (113), Dylan Haim (132), and Behraz Rajbari (182).
Don’t sleep on Eagle Rock and Granada Hills as they will be in the mix to challenge for a team trophy will all the qualifiers they return for the 2017-18 season.
The Region III tournament will be a two-team race between Los Angeles Section Champions San Fernando, and Region III runner-up team, Palisades. The Tigers, who have been a section power since the 70s, will be led by state qualifiers Jeremiah Mosindi (106), Kobe Lepe (113), Albert Del Toro (120), Eric Rocha (138), Trevor Gill (152) and Jose Reyes at 220. Add section medalists Jae Woo Sarabia (170), Everardo Baro (195), and Ethan Sarabia (285), into the mix, and it will be challenging for all other section teams to defeat the Tigers.
New Head Coach Aldo Juliano, is hoping to have the Dolphins ready for battle once the season begins. The Dolphins return 11 region medalists and will be counting on Aaron Galef (120), Jake Carpenter (138), Chance Chapman (145), Joseph Velado (170), and Hamzah Al-Saudi (195), to win the school’s first-ever section championship. Keep an eye on Sylmar as they return a handful of region medalists.
*The classes for all wrestlers mentioned above are from last season.