Quartz Hill, Lobos meet in league showdown
Quartz Hill tops Littlerock, still unbeaten in GL
LITTLEROCK — The Quartz Hill wrestling team rose to the challenge of competing for the Golden League title at Littlerock High on Wednesday.
Quartz Hill and Littlerock were both undefeated and tied for first place, but the Rebels dominated the match, winning the first eight weight classes en route to a 55-16 victory over Littlerock.
The Rebels (6-0) clinch at least a share of the Golden League title with one match remaining in the regular season. Quartz Hill, the defending league champion, will host Highland on Wednesday and Littlerock (5-1) hosts Knight.
“We always like to bounce on our lead as soon as we can, especially this one. This was for the league title, so it was very important to us,” said Quartz Hill senior Austin Shafer, a four-year varsity wrestler. “We were very fired up and energized. It’s really just wrestling smart. Not giving up stupid mistakes. Always look for what you know, like certain takedowns. Whatever you know how to do and is almost a guarantee of points, to give you that lead.”
Shafer started the match strong for the Rebels, scoring a first-period pin at 160 pounds.
Quartz Hill won 11 of the 14 weight classes and scored the first takedown in 12 of the matches.
“It’s good to know, because it jumps our lead ahead and almost guarantees us our 28th league title,” Shafer said. “It’s always nice to put another one under the belt. To win the dual, essentially you need seven pins and one win, because there are 14 matches and a pin is the most amount of points you can get. With seven pins that puts you halfway, but they can still bounce back. With that eighth win that just sets you ahead and locks you in.
“It’s keeping your mind on the prize and knowing what your goal is and thinking that you’re wrestling for the team instead of for yourself. Because you just want to get your team as many points as you possible can and not get pinned.”
Quartz Hill’s Jae-Le Johnson followed Shafer with a 17-0 win at 170 pounds, against Littlerock junior Stan Arevalo, who had to wrestle with a face mask because of a broken nose.
“A little credit to him, trying to wrestle with a face mask and a broken nose limits your mobility and your eye sight,” said Littlerock coach Mike DeVestern. “You’re out of your comfort zone. I’ve tried
wrestling with head gear one time with a hurt nose and I couldn’t take shots. I couldn’t do anything. It’s real hard to wrestle. It might have been different.”
Elijah Gutman then had a 6-2 win over Littlerock’s Nick Moya at 182 pounds. Gutman had a 5-0 lead in the second period.
Maximus Maldonado followed with a first-period pin at 192 pounds.
Alex Gil de Lamadrid also had a first-period pin, at 220 pounds for the Rebels.
Luke Lambarth won a 9-1 decision at heavyweight, against Littlerock’s Isaiah Flores.
Quartz Hill junior Zachary Burgdorf scored a second-period pin at 106 pounds.
“I feel like I wrestled strong. I could have done better on my picks, but other than that it was a good match,” said Burgdorf, a third-year varsity wrestler. “It feels really good. I feel like we were a little behind in some places, but together we did great. I think we just want to get here, get a win and get out. It means that we won league. It feels pretty good walking out with such a high score.”
Peyton McCanna had a 13-0 victory at 113 pounds, giving the Rebels their eighth consecutive victory to start the match and a 40-0 lead against Littlerock.
“Our team tends to rise to the occasion really well,” Quartz Hill assistant coach Saad Ul-Hassan said. “They handle adversity well. We knew Littlerock is always a tough team and they were going to come out and wrestle us hard. We just had to match that intensity.
“We started off the dual with one of our captains, so that got us a lot of momentum moving forward. A lot of time in dual matches, you keep that momentum, you keep carrying it. You keep that energy and it makes big victories.”
Littlerock senior Johnathan Bartlett scored the first victory for the Lobos, a first-period pin at 120 pounds.
“They outwrestled us,” DeVestern said. “They were the way better team tonight. We wrestled real flat, really flat. Flat on our backs actually. Three of my guys I thought were going to pull out the wins came up short. Two of them got pinned and one lost.”
But Quartz Hill’s Tristen Mitchell followed with a 7-3 win over Littlerock senior Adrian Castillo at 126 pounds.
Littlerock’s Auther Capistran won a 13-2 decision at 132 pounds, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead and cutting the Rebels’ overall lead to 43-10.
Littlerock senior Dustin Luis Vasquez followed with a second-period pin at 138 pounds, in a match against Quartz Hill’s Jonah Ericson that was tied 5-5.
The Rebels capped the match with two third-period pins.
Itai Hod-Tuszynski had a 12-4 lead in his 145-pound match before scoring a third-period pin.
Mason Fiala had a 7-0 lead at 152 pounds before his pin in the third period.
“It’s a little bittersweet for me actually, because the Littlerock kids, I work with a lot of them over the offseason too, so they’re just as much my kids as the Quartz Hill guys, so it’s like a little family scuffle,” said Ul-Hassan, who was filling in for head coach Ron Coleman.
The Lobos are trying to win their second league title. Littlerock won the Golden League title in 2002.
“It’s up to Highland to knock off Quartz Hill next week, if they can do that it would be a three-way tie,” DeVestern said. “I’m really disappointed. I’d rather get eighth place than get second place. You train so hard. You don’t train to lose, you train to win and that’s disappointing.”
DeVestern said the Lobos have five freshmen in his starting lineup.
“We did really well for 19 kids on the team, really well,” DeVestern said. “We produce a lot of good stuff with the amount of people we have.”
TAKING A RIDE — Quartz Hill’s Maximus Maldonado, kneeling, swings around Littlerock’s Antonio Aguilar during the 192-pound match at Littlerock High on Wednesday. Maldonado was victorious and the Rebels won the overall match.
FLIPPED Littlerock’s Stan Arevalo, back, tries to flip Quartz Hill’s Jae-Le Johnson during Wednesday’s Golden League match at 170 pounds. Johnson won 17-0 and the Rebels won the overall match.