MONTEREY PARK – Matthew Granillo’s major decision victory in the final match gave East Los Angeles College a hard-earned, 25-19 win against visiting Rio Hondo College in a tightly-contested dual wrestling match.
The Huskies held a narrow 21-19 lead before Granillo, a freshman from Norwalk’s Glenn High School, stepped onto the mat to defeat Rio Hondo’s Marc Contreras in the 197-pound weight class and ensure the victory.
“East L.A. and Rio Hondo are old rivals and it’s always one of the toughest matches of the year,” ELAC Coach Ralph Valle said.
Prior to the final match, the Huskies paid tribute to Jesse Cruz, a Rio Hondo wrestler who died last month at the age of 20. Cruz never regained consciousness after collapsing Sept. 18 on the mat during a tournament at Mt. San Antonio College.
He was remembered with a moment of silence and the Huskies placed decals with the initials “JC” on their headgear. The ELAC wrestling program made a donation to the Jesse Cruz Memorial Fund with money it had raised. Valle presented the check to Cruz’s
father, Jesse Cruz Sr., and Rio Hondo Coach Mike Tellez. An emotional Cruz embraced Valle and later thanked each of the Husky wrestlers individually after the match.
“Jesse was a good wrestler and a great kid who came from a nice family,” Valle said. “His death is just a crying shame.”
The Oct. 6 match between ELAC and Rio Hondo turned inauspiciously for the Huskies after a successful start in the first match. The Huskies’ Juan Lucero (Bell HS) pinned his opponent to start the competition.
But the Huskies lost three of the next four matches, with only Jesse Pacheco (Glenn HS) winning at 133 pounds. ELAC lost the 125, 141 and 149 classes. Ivan Garibay (Downey HS) lost a close match after winning for most of the 125 match.
The Huskies countered with wins by Jose Marroquin (Alhambra HS) by major decision at 157, and Aaron Pasos (Schurr HS) who bested Rio’s Andrew Harlan at 165.
After the Huskies forfeited at 174 for failure to make weight, Adrian Macias (Monrovia HS) recorded ELAC’s second pin of the match at 184 to put the Huskies ahead and set the stage for Granillo’s match clincher.
The Huskies followed the Rio Hondo match with a good showing at the Modesto Tournament Oct. 9. Despite missing four wrestlers, they managed to place eighth out of 18 teams that entered the competition.
Marroquin placed fifth in the 157 class and Rudy Calderon took sixth at 197.
The Huskies will compete at the South Region Duals at 10 a.m. Saturday at Palomar College in San Marcos.