Wrestling: Paly falls to host Gunn 64-18 in dual meet loss

Allison Cowie and Kate Marinkovich

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Gunn’s Harsha Mokkarala (’13) battles Paly’s Andrew Frick (’14) in a dual-meet showdown between the Vikings and Titans. Gunn went on to win, 64-18, helped by 36 free points off of Paly forfeits. Photo by Kate Marinkovich

After a strong start, the visiting Palo Alto High School wrestling team (1-2, 1-1) fell to the Gunn High School Titans, 64-18, in a dual-meet loss that leaves the Vikings 1-1 in SCVAL league standings.

The tone of the evening was set late in the meet in the 113-pound weight class after Gunn junior Cadence Lee pinned Paly sophomore James Giaccia.  Lee, who appeared to have suffered an injury to her right knee earlier in the round, made a quick recovery and came back to pin Giaccia, securing the Titans’ lead at 40-18 over the Vikings.

After forfeiting the first weight class and an early win by Gunn, Paly suffered from a 12-0 deficit. Junior Jordan Gans put Paly on the scoreboard with a well-earned pin over Gunn senior Dino Soto in the third period. With the score then 12-6, senior Gary Hohbach continued the winning streak, pinning his opponent in the second period to tie the two teams up.

However, the Vikings were unable to keep pace with the Titans, a larger team that was able to fill up more weight classes, forcing Paly to give up 36 points over six total forfeits.

Senior Erik Anderson hit the mat next against Gunn junior Sean Lydster. Anderson kept the lead in the first period, but was pinned by Lydster in the second to give Gunn the lead, 18-12. Senior Alex Taussig followed with another loss, bringing the score to 22-12.

With Paly behind by a significant margin, junior Andrew Frick came to the mat and delivered what was the most exciting match of the night against Gunn senior Harsha Mokkarala. Scoring was low on both sides and stayed close throughout the match. Out of bound delays were consistent among all three periods; however, despite the lengthy fight,Frick pulled through, pinning Mokkarala in the third period for the victory and bringing the score to 22-18.

“In the last 30 seconds of my match it was still a close game at that point,” Frick said. “I thought that I had to put up some points for our team and I went out there and went as hard as I could.”

Only a victory away from taking the lead, Paly sophomore Nick Beeson hit the mat only to disappoint as Gunn’s Eric Calderon pinned him early for a Titan victory. Followed by a forfeit from Paly due to an unfilled weight class, the score was now 34-18 with only one match to go. Giaccia took on Lee in the final round, where Lee ended the night with a win and, after a series of Paly forfeits, Gunn won with a final score of 64-18.

Paly head coach David Duran expected the forfeits to hurt the Vikings coming into the match.

“We knew we were going to have some forfeits tonight,” Duran said. “We needed to have some things happen early. We did some good things and we did some things that we need to fix.”

Paly looks to improve as the season goes on, starting with their tournament this Friday and Saturday in Gilroy.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t put it together [today] but we’re going to come back stronger next week,” Frick said.