The two matches that sent Don Lugo to C.I.F.


Eli Fernandez

Coach Malouf talking to one of our wrestlers before a match

David Fender, Editor-in-Chief

Don Lugo has been blessed with a very successful wrestling team the last two years. In an amazing show of grit Don Lugo prevailed against Montclair on the 19th, clinching a CIF berth. An amazing show of resilience considering we havn’t beaten them since 2002.
Thanks to the leadership of Coach Malouf and Poteet, our varsity team shot down a possible comeback from Montclair to secure the win. Losing would have given them the second seed, making this match a must win. Our coaches and wrestlers had confidence coming into the match, they knew they worked for this and they knew they needed to win.
Don Lugo came out with an early lead , but going into our last few matches Montclair rallied to almost match our score. Our hopes for CIF came down to two wrestlers, Eli Fernandez and our heavyweight Conner Carver, who were both wrestling two great opponents. A defeat from both wrestlers would take away our chances and cause Don Lugo to fall out of the CIF race. A win or high point performance from one or both wrestlers would make us keep the lead and secure a win. The pressure was on for Eli and Conner.
Eli Fernandez was first up fighting for as many points as he could, but he found himself in a 5-0 hole. Eli at that moment, with the help of his coaches, kept fighting for his victory. He switched up on his opponent and hit a roll from a bottom position. After great execution he was able to handle business and further distance the point gap. β€œIt was big and If I didn’t win it we wouldn’t have gone to CIF, I felt on top of the world, It was really now or never and if it didn’t happen in that moment that would have been the end of our season,” Eli Fernandez

Accept what you can’t change,
change what you can’t accept

— Eli Fernandez

Now, it was all up to Conner Carver. He is a first year wrestler, a lighter heavyweight, weighing about 205 lbs. Though the odds were against him, he remained confident in himself and his teammates were confident in him. Conner fights early on against his bigger opponent but finds himself in trouble.
While dueling the Montclair heavyweight, he was struck in the face, chipping his tooth and causing a lot of bleeding. With the season on the line, he went back, patched up, and proceeded to seal the victory for Don Lugo. β€œ I didn’t really feel the pain under the lights, I felt like I had that dog in me,” said Conner Carver
The final score read 48-30 Don Lugo, extinguishing the attempted comeback and sealing the victory.
Overwhelming emotion was felt by both the coaches and the players. They overcame the odds and celebrated their astonishing victory. Though they cliched, they still have strides to take as they compete in CIF. For now, they can rest easy knowing that they outworked their opponent, however they are working hard and gunning for future victories.