Imagine wrestling with one arm tied behind your back. That’s essentially what the Los Altos High wrestling team is doing this season.
The Eagles are able to use both arms, but they could use more of them. Los Altos doesn’t have a varsity wrestler heavier than 170 pounds, meaning it must forfeit four weight classes – 182, 195, 220 and 285 – at each meet.
“We’re going into every dual meet giving up 24 points,” Eagles coach Randy Jimenez said, “but we’re still competing. As small as we are, we go out there and kick butt.”
With Thursday’s 36-30 home win over Santa Clara – another shorthanded squad – Los Altos improved to 2-1 in the SCVAL El Camino Division.
Jimenez is confident the Eagles can win their last three dual meets to finish at or near the top of the division. Los Altos is scheduled to visit Homestead 6:30 p.m. Thursday, travel to Harker Feb. 6 and host Milpitas Feb. 13; all meets begin at 6:30 p.m.
“I think we can win out,” he said. “Our guys go hard. They bought in from the start and train hard.”
Five of the team’s 10 varsity wrestlers set the tempo, according to Jimenez. They are returnees Sean Lanoza (152 pounds), James Sobrino (145), Carter Lee (138), Briham Gonzales (132) and Brian Wang (120).
“These kids work really hard and put the team on their back,” the coach said.
Lanoza, a junior, sports a 9-5 record (including tournaments) and ranks among the top 10 in his weight class in the Central Coast Section. A standout running back on the Los Altos football team, Lanoza “transitioned almost effortlessly” to wrestling,” Jimenez said, and “has strength, skill and knowledge. He’s improved greatly from last year.”
Sobrino, a senior, is “a leg-riding kind of guy,” the coach said. “He’s really physical.”
Lanoza and Sobrino – along with juniors Lee and Gonzales – have the best shot of advancing to next month’s CCS meet, according to the coach, though he didn’t count out Wang, either.
“He works really hard,” Jimenez said of the junior,” and he’s showing a lot of improvement.”
Newcomer Joe Donnelly – a 106-pound freshman who recently transferred to Los Altos from Maryland – “could go to CCS, too,” the coach said. “He has a lot of experience.” Donnelly pinned his opponent in 1 minute, 55 seconds Thursday night.
Wrestlers who place high enough at the league meet – slated Feb. 15 at Monta Vista – advance to CCS, scheduled Feb. 28 and March 1 at Independence High.
The Eagles expect to have three representatives at the CCS girls championships, set for Feb. 7 and 8 at Oak Grove High. Jimenez said senior Zoe Morgan has the best chance of reaching the state tournament, slated Feb. 28 and March 1 in Visalia,
“She’s a beast,” Jimenez said. “She almost made it last year and she’s really hungry this year.”
Lancers top Bells
In a clash of West Catholic Athletic League rivals, host St. Francis beat Bellarmine 34-24 Thursday.
The Lancers won eight weight classes, with Jack Casarez (197 pounds) and Brandon Retuta (220) pinning their opponents from Bellarmine.
2013 wrestling: Los Altos High School - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier