The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
When you walked into Wilson’s gym Thursday afternoon, you could feel the energy generated from the highly anticipated dual between the Bruins and Millikan.
With fans from each team filling the gym to cheer on their Moore League undefeated teams, the crowd was treated to a thrilling dual as each weight class had its own story.
Wilson’s Jacob Jenner and Colin Horn both pinned their opponents to give the Bruins an early 12-6 lead heading into the 126-pound match.
With both teams trading blows in the middleweights, Millikan sophomore Aiden Gomez came up with a huge pin that put things out of reach for Wilson as Millikan took the dual victory, 44-33.
“This feels really good,” Gomez said. “You have to work for it and the fact that you have to work for it, makes it feel really good.
Early in the dual Gavin Laverne tied things up and Daniel Kroll gave Millikan the lead as the Rams sent out their middle class gauntlet of wrestlers.
With two undefeated competitors jockeying for the win, emotions were high, and it was evident after Millikan’s Alex Lovato came up with a pin victory in the 152-pound bout. After a fiery verbal exchange between the teams, the ref stepped in and things got back in action.
“We just got to continue to work hard,” Millikan assistant coach Daniel Lopez said. “We work hard and we got to make some adjustments. We’re going to see them again in the league finals, so we had to clear some of the air. We’ll get back on that horse and keep working.”
Following the short delay, Wilson’s Eden Jay Khamnoy and Pierce Velker had one of the most entertaining matches of the evening with Khamnoy coming away with a pin victory.
“When I wrestle I like to set my feelings aside,” Khamnoy said. “So, whatever happened previously I just shut all that out and I make sure I wrestle the way I want to wrestle.”
Millikan bounced right back to clinch the victory after wins by Trey Calwell and Gomez.
Wilson closed the match with three straight victories as Joaquin Estrada, Benny Alberto and Dorian Ortloff picked up wins.
For Wilson, it was the closest loss in recent memory and one that will set up both teams when Moore League play continues after Winter break.
“This is the closest one I’ve been a part of,” Lopez said. “I’ve been an assistant coach here for 15 years, this was one of the closest matches we’ve had here in awhile.”
Before the boys match, the Millikan girls finished with a convincing victory defeating Wilson, 57-18.
Millikan won each of the seven matches that were filled, and seven matches were by pin.