APTOS—Watsonville High senior Lucky McHenry took second place at 285 pounds at the 53rd Pat Lovell Holiday Wrestling Classic at Aptos High on Dec. 22.
McHenry, who was Santa Cruz County’s lone finalist, finished 3-1 with three pins. He was pinned in one minute by TJ Takafua of Fremont High of Sunnyvale in the championship match.
Fremont won the team title with a score of 185.0 in the 43-school tournament. Gilroy (172.5) took second and Hollister (164.5) was third. Watsonville tied for 21st place with Harbor and Silver Creek high schools with 62.0 points.
“It was really fun,” McHenry said. “I got a lot of new experiences, especially against a guy like TJ [Takafua]. It shows me to be humble about everything, don’t be too cocky and stuff like that.”
Takafua went 4-0 with three of his four pins taking place in the first period, including the championship bout. The heavyweight division featured two other local placers: Akiyama was seventh and Jack Bacon of Santa Cruz took sixth.
McHenry went 2-0 with a pair of pins on Day 1 of the tournament. He pinned the No. 1 seed Hung Vo, a freshman from Silver Creek, in his first match.
McHenry advanced to the semifinals with a 53-second pin of Soquel High’s Luke Akiyama, followed with a pin over Gonzales High’s Andrew Zarate in 5 minutes, 33 seconds.
McHenry said for him it was all about having fun and making new friends along the way.
“And no matter what you do, just always pay attention and listen to your coach, cheer for other teams,” he said.
McHenry mentioned that one thing he made sure to do was give a compliment to his opponent.
“You never know, they could’ve been wrestling for four years or they could’ve been wrestling for one, they could be a beginner,” he said. “So, a little compliment will go a long way. It’ll show them that they’re actually doing really good at what they’re doing.”
In the 132-pound division, Wildcatz senior Vicente Mosqueda earned a 6-5 decision over Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Kai Tengco in the third-place match, finishing 5-1 in the two-day tournament.
He was pinned by Anthony Berg of Whitney in the semifinals, but managed to bounce back by pinning Jake McKee of Whitney in his first consolation match.
“My game plan for these matches was to go in hard, go in strong…. I just wanted to keep fighting and don’t stop, just keep going,” Mosqueda said.
Mosqueda, the fifth-place finisher at the 2020 Central Coast Section championships, went 3-0 with three pins on opening day. He beat Tengco in the quarterfinals and he was well aware that their second match would be another dogfight.
“I knew it was going to be a tight match,” Mosqueda said. “I just thought keep going, he’s a strong kid, he keeps going too and he won’t stop. My plan was to keep going, get the takedown… If I was at the bottom, get a reversal.”
Monte Vista Christian’s Ibrahim Peters (145) took fifth and teammate Rykin Resurreccion (132) placed eighth.