Even with its three best wrestlers suffering from injuries and fatigue, Canyon High School had enough depth to win the Southern Section 4-A team championship Saturday night at West Covina's Edgewood High.
The Comanches set a 4-A record with 176 team points, breaking the mark of 154 set by Loara in 1986. Seven Canyon wrestlers placed (top five) and two, Dan Tisone at 115 pounds and Chris Jepson at 157, won individual championships.
Loara, bolstered by individual champions Raph Rucker (148) and Edy Andros (178), finished second with 131 points; El Dorado, behind Kyle Iwanaga's first-place finish at 109, was third with 108 points, and Fountain Valley, behind Tom Odar's title at 141, was fourth with 86 1/2 points.
Twin brothers Brett and Bryon Schultz and Ken Gominsky, all top seeds in their respective weight classes, were expected to carry the Comanches to the title, but Gominsky, suffering from an injured leg, arm and back, lost his semifinal match at 194 pounds and was forced to forfeit his third-place match.
Bryon Schultz, slowed by torn knee ligaments, lost in the quarterfinals Friday night but came back Saturday to win four matches and claim third place at 129 pounds. He limped off the victory stand after receiving his medal.
Brett Schultz needed to drop two pounds Friday to make the 122-pound division, so he spent much of the morning running 1 1/2 miles and doing about 400 pushups and situps with a full warmup suit on.
A sluggish Schultz lost in Friday night's quarterfinals but won three matches in Saturday's consolation rounds before losing to Cypress' Doug Haring, who pinned Schultz at 4:45.
Schultz, however, came back to defeat Channel Island's Hung Balcot, 19-3, for fifth place and a berth in next weekend's Masters Meet. The top five in each weight class qualify.
Even without individual titles from the top three, Canyon clinched the team title with 168 points before the championship round even started. Loara was a distance second with 131 points entering the final matches.
But Canyon Coach Gary Bowden said it wasn't as easy as it looked.
"Every week has been an incredible challenge," Bowden said. "There's pressure to perform every week, and at every tournament we go to, everyone expects us to win by 100 points. That's a lot of pressure for 17-year-olds. I'm 40 and I can't take it."