LC Sends 13 Wrestlers to Individual Championships

Alex Mykalo (top) is one of 13 La Cañada wrestlers to qualify for the CIF-SS Individual Championships this weekend.
Alex Mykalo (top) is one of 13 La Cañada wrestlers to qualify for the CIF-SS Individual Championships this weekend.

The La Cañada High School varsity wrestling team will send a record 13 athletes to the CIF Southern Section Individual Championships this weekend following a solid performance in the Rio Hondo League finals at Monrovia last week.
Head coach Justin Luthey topped his own record from last year when he had a dozen Spartans qualify for the postseason.
“We were really aiming for 14,” Luthey said. “We want all of our guys to get first place, but we had a couple of tough matches. The boys are working hard and we’re hoping to send a good squad.”
Senior Johnny Vasily won the 170-pound league championship for a third consecutive season, becoming the second Spartan to achieve such a feat since Luthey, who won individual league crowns at LCHS in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
“I think Johnny is the best he’s been in his career in terms of health and mindset,” Luthey said. “He won two tournaments, suffered an injury earlier in the season and didn’t wrestle another week for us, which means he’s fresh. He’s not burnt out and he’s athletic. He’s going go out there and compete, and I like his chances.”
Teammate David Martoff also took home a title by winning the 220-pound bracket.
“It’s good for him,” Luthey said. “It’s something we’ve been talking about since last summer. The Monrovia wrestler gave him a good match. We got to see another side of David, and we saw him win a close match. That’s going to build his confidence.”
The top three finishers of each weight class automatically qualified for the CIF tournament this weekend, and La Cañada had eight runners-up in the finals. Hayden Henderson (106 pounds), Chris Toomy Severino (120), Alex Mykalo (126), Daniel Park (132), Brandon Abboud (138), Iman Behshid (145), Will Henderson (182) and John Woodhouse (195) each won silver medals in their respective weight class and clinched a CIF berth.
Samir Khanna (113), Michael Lee (160) and Will Smersfelt (285) each punched their postseason tickets by placing third in their divisions.
“It’s tough to put a finger on the mentality of the players going into CIF,” Luthey admitted. “All 13 guys have a different goal. We might have a freshman or young wrestler hoping to win a few matches. Others guys are trying to get to the second day and place. I hope our seniors go and achieve their goal of placing.”
La Cañada will travel to Brea Olinda for the Southern Division Individual Championships this Friday and Saturday. The top five from each weight class move on to compete in the Masters Meet.

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