Burbank Wrestling Makes Progress In Loss To La Canada

Bulldogs earn three victories in Rio Hondo League home meet versus powerhouse Spartans.

(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

About six weeks into the season, the Burbank High wrestling program remains in search of its first victory.

On the flip side, there’s been noted improvement for the first-year program under the guidance of coach Jonathon O’Brien.

Burbank met La Canada in a Rio Hondo League dual meet Wednesday and came away with some impressive individual wins, despite losing, 66-12 and 72-6 in the boys’ and girls’ competition, respectively.

It’s the kind of progress O’Brien wanted to see after falling to powerful La Canada.

“I think overall we are wrestling a lot better,” said O’Brien, who previously coached at Belmont High in Los Angeles. “You see where you need to go when you match up against a really good team like La Canada because you are seeing good competition. You’re striving to show that grit and some consistency so you have a much better idea of where you want to go.

“It’s about learning how to handle defeat and keep moving forward. I think we are getting better overall since we first started.”

The Bulldogs (0-2 in league) received two wins in the boys’ portion of the meet and one on the girls’ side to gain some momentum against the Spartans (2-0 in league).

Luis Mercado and Kai Sebastian picked up victories for the Burbank boys’ squad. Kendall Chapman of Burbank earned the lone win in the girls’ competition.

Competing in the 138-pound weight class, Mercado won by pin with 1:19 remaining in the second period. Mercado’s victory pulled Burbank to within 51-6.

“I went out there knowing we didn’t have any points, so I just wanted to get a win,” said Mercado, a senior. “I wanted to find a way to be able to raise our spirits and I came out locked in to do just that.

“I’m definitely seeing some major improvements with our team. We are learning at practice and our matches. We’re getting good experience and it’s helping us all out.”

In the 152-pound class, Sebastian won by pin with 49.7 seconds left in the second period.

Chapman provided a spark for the girls’ team.

Chapman, a junior, won by pin with 53.8 seconds left in the second period.

“It’s good to win, but I still have a lot to learn,” Chapman said. “I still have things that I need to improve on. I’m focusing on trying to get better each match and try to make the [CIF Southern Section] playoffs.

“It’s all about thinking ahead and being prepared. And you do that by working on different things to help you get better.”

Burbank will compete in another league meet at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 18 versus visiting Hoover and then face Monrovia on Jan. 24. The league tournament will be held Feb. 1 at Monrovia.

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