The Millikan boys wrestling team looked to be on its way to the CIF Southern Section Division 4 Dual Meet Championship Wednesday night as they took a 31-15 lead over South Torrance after Nathan Gomez pinned the Spartans’ Daniel Palomarez.
But with only five matches remaining, the Spartans mounted a furious comeback as they won four straight matches by pin to take a 39-31 lead and clinch their fourth straight title. For Millikan, this is their third straight runner-up finish in the CIF-SS playoffs.
Gavin Laverde finished the meet with a win as he dominated the final match of the night – a bittersweet ending for the Rams.
“We felt like we had the better team tonight,” Millikan coach Marshall Thompson said. “Some kind of freaky things happened. I don’t know how else to say it.”
Thompson was referring to a nine-point swing that happened early in the meet that resulted from a Ram not being able to continue, after having a commanding lead in his match, due to cramps.
The default resulted in Millikan losing out on potentially three points and South picking up six points.
“We lost some matches that I think we could have won, that didn’t happen,” Thompson said. “But the guys that did win, did an awesome job and I think they all wanted it really bad. Sometimes, wanting it too much can work against you. You can tighten up and it can affect your top performance.”
After the conclusion of the match Thompson confirmed that after 31 years as the head coach of the program that he will be stepping back and this was his last season as the head coach of the team.
“I still want to be involved,” Thompson said. “But it’s time to let the young guys run the show.”