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Former Irvine Wrestler, 20, Dies After Workout

March 02, 1999|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Irvine High wrestler Alvaro Andres "Andrew" Pena, a San Francisco State sophomore, died Saturday after collapsing following a Friday evening workout. He was 20.

Coach Lars Jensen said Pena, a member of the school's wrestling team, might have suffered a brain aneurysm, but Herb Hawley, administrator for the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office, said Monday the cause of death has not been determined.

Jensen said Pena was lifting weights with some friends at a fitness center in Daly City Friday when he complained of a severe headache.

Pena told his friends he couldn't continue, Jensen said, and wanted to leave. They took Pena to their apartment, where he became sick.

Pena was taken to the Seton Medical Center in Daly City Friday night. Jensen said Pena underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

Medical Center officials Monday said Pena was admitted and then transferred to the UCSF Medical Center. UCSF officials confirmed he died there Saturday morning.

"He was a dynamic wrestler, a quick learner, very aggressive and a hard worker," Irvine Coach John Phillips said. Pena was a three-time Sea View League champion and won the Southern Section Division III title at 119 pounds as a sophomore.

"What he lacked in technique he made up for in heart and intensity," Jensen said. "We're a young team this season and he was one of our team leaders. The guys looked up to him."

San Francisco State President Robert A. Corrigan said in a statement Monday, "The sudden death of a young person, particularly an athlete, comes as a particular shock and grief. Andrew was taken far too soon. My heart goes out to his family, teammates, and other friends at this terribly sad time."

There will be a public viewing today and Wednesday at the Saddleback Chapel, 220 Main St. in Irvine. A rosary is scheduled there at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The funeral is 1 p.m. Thursday at Saddleback Chapel.

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Staff writer Erik Hamilton contributed to this story.

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