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Locked / Freshman Eric Roberts grounds an opponent to the mat at the SAC Tournament Oct. 5. / Adrian Gonzalez / el Don

Youth and inexperience doom Dons as Cerritos College takes first place

By Daniel Lim

The Dons finished eighth at the SAC annual tournament Oct. 5 in the Cook Gymnasium. Rivals Cerritos College placed first.

The 12-hour event featured 24 teams from 11 schools.

Freshman Joaquin Collister, a high school state champion, took second, losing a championship match against Cerritos College’s AJ McKee.

Richard Miranda, an All-American sophomore, placed third in the 157-pound class. Freshman Micah Mathis also cracked the top three at 174-pounds.

Head Coach Vince Silva was not disappointed by the results of the tournament and felt reaffirmed by Miranda and Collister’s performances. “They are the real deal and serious players,” Silva said.

The team has three sophomores on the roster of 20 athletes.

“Of the eight wrestlers from last year primed to return for the 2014 season, only two have actually returned,” Silva said.

Freshman Eric Roberts and Ronnie Collister, Joaquin’s twin, impressed with their potential, Silva said.

With six more matches before the Southern California Regional Tournament, Silva and the team look to build confidence and experience.

“It’ll be a rude awakening for [our] freshmen into college sports,” said Silva. “[But] we need to get into the rhythm and gain mat experience needed to get up to speed.”

SAC has produced 28 individual champions over the years but hasn’t since 2012, with Miranda and

Alfredo Nava finishing runners-up in their respective weight classes at the state championships in 2013.

The Dons get a rematch against visiting Cerritos Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.

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