La Jolla grapplers earn league title

Sophomore Matthew Vasquez works on takedowns during practice on Monday at La Jolla High. Photo: Phil Dailey

The Vikings wrestling team captured the Western League title. Photo: Phil Dailey

By Phil Dailey
Staff Writer

It’s been a long time since the La Jolla High School wrestling team captured a championship of any kind. That changed this season as the Vikings won the Western League title and now set their sights on even a bigger prize.
At the start of the season, coaches Ryan Lindenblatt and Ryan Lennard knew this team had a chance to be good given the return of several quality wrestlers.

However, getting the wrestling program back on track has taken a bit of work.

“We’re trying to teach the freshmen, teach the parents and trying to educate the community as well as teaching our wrestlers how to compete in the sport,” said Lindenblatt, now in his fifth year with the team.

It wasn’t that long ago when the Vikings were simply unable to get many wrestlers to come out for the sport and had high turnover with the coaching staff. Now with experienced coaches in place, the wrestling team at La Jolla is starting to get noticed.

“So far we are league champions,” senior Kirk Lee said. “As a team we have been working toward this. Since my freshman year were practicing with eight kids in the room. It’s amazing to see how much the program has grown and how much we have all grown as a team together.”

The attitude change, hard work and good chemistry among the wrestlers has become the recipe for success. Along with the team title this group also boast four individual league champs in Lee (140 pounds), senior Quinn Strauser (152), junior Peter Donchev (135) and Matthew Vasquez (160).

For Vasquez, being around a winning program has not been new.

“It’s different, but I see a lot of potential here,” the sophomore said. “I come from such a big program and I haven’t really seen the La Jolla wrestling name out there. I wasn’t expecting too much but ever since I moved here we have been progressing.”

Vasquez has been wrestling for the past 10 years, the majority of which started when he was living in Brawley.

But along with his experience, and the experience of some of the others who started as freshman a few years ago, the team is headed in the right direction.

“Last year we had a lot of second year wrestler who were just really coming into their prime,” Strauser said. “There’s a lot of talent on this team.” It’s starting to show.

What’s next?

This weekend the Vikings host the City Conference Tournament. After that, the team will head to the CIF Tournament held at Olympian High School on Feb 19. Individuals who place in the top four at CIF advance to Masters. From there, the top three placers go to the state tournament which is March 4-5 in Bakersfield.

Related posts:

  1. Farmer’s Open big opportunity for La Jolla Country Day golfer
  2. La Jolla High mourns loss of coach, moves forward with Friday game
  3. Bishop’s field hockey team tops Mt. Carmel
  4. Young surfers join WindanSea tradition
  5. La Jolla High freshman team wins again

Short URL:

Posted by Phil Dailey on Feb 8, 2011. Filed under Featured Story, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “La Jolla grapplers earn league title”

  1. Everett Roach

    Thank you for the great story. The LJHS Team is strong again this year. They are heading to City Tourney this weekend Feb10th

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Man pleads guilty in fatal Del Mar hit-and-run case April 17, 2014
    A man who drove drunk and struck a marine biologist in a crosswalk in Del Mar, then fled the scene, pleaded guilty April 16 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a hit-and-run allegation. Christopher ``Chip’’ Stockmeyer, 41, faces between nine and 15 years in prison when he is sentenced June 20 for the March 28 death of Rachel Morrison. […]
  • Del Mar Powerhouse 10U Champions April 17, 2014
    The Del Mar Powerhouse 10U team played two pool play games and two elimination games to go undefeated in the Triple Crown Sports San Diego Open and win the Division 1 Championship. The boys showed great determination and fight to come away victorious in elimination play and battle for the win with a one-run margin of victory for both semi-final and champions […]
  • Canyon Crest girls crack top three at Arcadia, set new school record April 17, 2014
    Several young women runners from Carmel Valley high schools raced well in the Arcadia Invitational on April 11-12 in Los Angeles. Arcadia is considered to be one of the most competitive high school track and field meets in the country, drawing both national and international athletes to compete. […]