Paly wrestling defeats cross-town rival Gunn 36-31

Erik Anderson ('13) pins his opponent in a dual meet last year. Anderson will lead the team as well seasoned captain.

Nora Rosati

Erik Anderson ('13) pins his opponent in a dual meet last year. Anderson will lead the team as well seasoned captain.

Charlotte Biffar, Nora Rosati, and Nina Kelty, Staff Writers

The Palo Alto High School wrestling team triumphed over the Gunn High School team (36-31) this Thursday night at home.

“It always feel good to be beat Gunn because they are our cross-town rivals, co-captain Nick Ortiz (‘12) said, “This is a big year for us because we are highly ranked in CCS [and] we have a lot of returners.  It was nice to get our first ‘W’.”

As a result of a weak start, the Viking’s trailed behind their cross-town rival with a score of 6-17. Co-captain Joey Christopherson (‘12) and Jordan Smith (‘13) each won based on points, contributing a total of six points for Paly.

In the fifth match, the Vikings began closing the gap. Ortiz pinned Titan Miko Mallari (‘13) with 30 seconds left in the third period of the 138 pound weight class.

“I came into the match [knowing] we were down and I was just hyped to get out there,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz was followed by another victory from Trenton Marshall (‘13), who brought the score to 18-17, with a pin.

However, the Titans gained momentum in the eighth and ninth matches, taking back their lead with a score of 18-24.

Following these Viking losses, the Titans forfeited the next match, bringing the dual to a tie at 24-24.

Erik Anderson (‘13) countered the previous losses with a decisive pin in the first period.  Co-captain Kalen Gans (‘12) followed Anderson’s performance with yet another pin at 1:15 in the first period. These consecutive wins brought the Vikings to 36-24.

Alex Taussing (‘13) and Tanner Marshall (‘12) both narrowly lost to the Titans, allowing the Viking’s to win, with a final score of 36-31.

Coach David Duran was pleased with the Vikings performance at the first dual meet.

“We needed pins out of certain guys, and we got them from them,” Duran said.

With several upcoming tournaments, the Vikings hope to make a statement in both their league and tournament play.

“We [are] focusing on winning these duals,” Duran said.

The team is working to a strong finish to the season.

“Our focus is to do well at the end of the season,” Duran said.

The team will be competing in the Apple Cider Classic at Watsonville High School this weekend, Jan. 7. Their next dual meet will be held at home again on Jan. 12 against Saratoga High School.