After a one-year absence, the University of La Verne’s wrestling program is back under a new head coach, Tony Donvito.
Donvito led five men who grappled the mat competitively for ULV Saturday at the first SCIAC league match of the year at Claremont McKenna College.
“All that Saturday’s scores reflect is our current positi0n. People say we are fourth in our league. Saturday’s meet was just for experience, not to have to worry about winning or losing,” said Donvito.
CMC, Whittier College and Pomona-Pitzer completely dominated the Leopards with scores of 56-0, 36-18 and 42-18 respectively.
Caltech also belongs to the SCIAC but was forced to forfeit all of its matches due to its inability to field a full five-member squad. It rostered only two men, thus the Leos won by a perfect score of 60-0.
Incidentally, after the Caltech forfeit, Leo wrestlers Larry Redman and Roland Chacon still chose to go against their opponents and successfully pinned their Caltech wrestlers.
“The Caltech win really picked up my spirits. I was feeling pretty disappointed coming into this match, but this win made up for it,” said freshman Chacon.
Chacon had good reasons for feeling disappointed not only in his own performance but in the tournament itself. This tournament is a brand new idea, designed to cut down the number of dual meets. It was a good idea but the timing was all wrong.
“This tournament would have been much better if it were used as a scrimmage. We just were not ready for competition this early in the season,” said veteran ULV wrestler Jerry Redman, brother of Larry, another wrestler on the team. Another factor is the way CMC set up the tournament. La Verne had to wrestle four teams consecutively, the rest received at least one bye.
Most of La Verne’s grapplers on the average practiced only five times before last Saturday’s meet. They were not in any way near their full wrestling potential. They were not in good physical shape and lacked experience.
“The potential of our team rests entirely with the individuals and their goals,” said Donvito. “We really do not have enough members for a good team. You need 15 or 20 guys, so that in case of injuries you have back-ups. Even 10 is a full team. We need more guys who want to wrestle, although we do have a few first place individuals. It all depends on their goals. We are going to come along.”
The inexperience of this new La Verne squad was shown early in the tournament. La Verne’s Redman, a possible league contender, was forced to face last year’s SCIAC and regional champion Alex Cook from Pomona-Pitzer. It was a hard fought three periods of action, but it was Cook who was the most in shape and eventually won the match. Redman dropped one more contest to CMC’s David Orlando and pinned Whittier’s Gregg Neumann.
Larry Redman, a freshman from Bonita High School, showed tremendous potential by pinning three out of his four league opponents in the 161-pound weight division. CMC’s Kevin Reuter was the only one who beat Redman by a decision.
Chacon, a freshman, actively wrestled four years at Colton High and is one of the most experienced on the team. He wrestled in the 147-pound weight division and won one and lost two close matches. Newcomers to the sport of wrestling are senior Alex Salinas and junior Eric Summers. Both have never wrestled competitively before. Salinas is in the heavyweight division but was injured after his second match.
The match of the day belonged to Summers, as he pinned Whittier’s Joe Campitiello in the third period. It was a match full of surprises as the score teetered back and forth several times.