With only three wrestling programs in Orange County--Cypress, Golden West and Rancho Santiago--it isn't very often they meet in an important match.
But such is the case this week when Golden West travels to Rancho Santiago for a South Coast Conference showdown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Santa Ana.
Golden West (11-1) is in first place in the conference with a 4-0 record. Rancho Santiago (3-1) is tied for second with Palomar and Cerritos.
The Golden West lineup features Tito Ortiz (190 pounds), who is the defending state champion. Ortiz, from Huntington Beach High, is 14-0 this season after going 30-2 as a freshman.
Ortiz showed his power as well as his technical ability last Wednesday against Mt. San Antonio when Golden West was hurt by illness and injuries.
Coach Dale Deffner was forced to move his final four wrestlers up one weight class. Each responded with a victory.
Going into the final four matches, Golden West was behind, 19-6. But David Afoa started things in the right direction with a 12-11 victory at 167.
Chris Edwards (177) scored a technical fall (18-2) at 177 and Raphael Davis got a 9-4 victory at 190 to cut the Mt. San Antonio lead to 19-17.
Thanks to the work of his teammates, Ortiz only needed a victory and the three points it would bring to secure the match.
Instead, he scored a pin over Ron Williams in 1 minute 5 seconds for six points and a 23-19 victory.
Davis, a sophomore from Torrance High, is 15-2 this season and he and Ortiz will take part in the North/South all-star match at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fresno. Davis was 26-6 and finished third in the state last season.
Rancho Santiago, which also has a talented lineup, will be represented at the all-star match by Alfredo Frausto, who is 17-1 at 150 pounds this season. Frausto won the state title at 142 pounds last season.
Rancho Santiago also features Carlos Miranda (190) who is 13-4, ranked fourth in the state, and draws Ortiz Wednesday. Granden Meier (158) also is ranked fourth in the state.
Rancho Santiago has Ismael Abdullah (167), who also starts at defensive back on the football team.