Six area boys wrestling teams got in some early-season action Wednesday night.
Former Los Padres League members Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Cabrillo, Lompoc, Nipomo and Morro Bay competed at the LPL Challenge at Santa Maria's Wilson Gym. There was no official team champion. Each squad wrestled two matches.
The Los Padres League actually is no longer. The league disbanded when most of the area sports programs switched from the CIF Southern Section to the Central Section earlier this year.
Santa Maria, Nipomo and Morro Bay, traditionally three of the stronger wrestling programs in the Los Padres League, moved to the Central Section and are part of the inaugural Ocean League. Santa Ynez, Cabrillo and Lompoc, who have made some strong showings in recent years, stayed in the Southern Section and joined the revamped Channel League.
"I was very pleased with what I saw," Wednesday night, said second-year Nipomo coach Kevin Kreowski. "I was particularly happy with Francisco Alcantar, who won both his matches by pin at 113 pounds, but it was a very solid team effort."
It was strictly a Central Section vs. Southern Section affair Wednesday night and the new Central Section squads, all of whom brought a full complement of wrestlers, went a combined 6-0.
Because of a shortage of wrestlers, Cabrillo and Lompoc had to forfeit several weight classes in eachl of their matches Wednesday night.
Nipomo defeated Santa Ynez 66-18 and Cabrillo 54-28. Santa Maria defeated Cabrillo and Lompoc by the same score, 60-24. Morro Bay won 66-12 over Lompoc and 52-24 over Santa Ynez.
Cabrillo and Lompoc held their own in the matches they were able to compete in. Lompoc heavyweight Jacob Nunez racked up a pin in the Braves' last match of the evening.
Santa Maria sophomore Robert De Jesus made his varsity wrestling debut a success. De Jesus won by pin at 220 pounds in the Saints' first match of the night, against Cabrillo.
"I used the cow catcher move," in which De Jesus quickly got position on his opponent, to get the pin, the Santa Maria wrestler said.
"I've been working on that move in practice a lot."
First-year Santa Maria coach Steve Hart said, "It was hard to tell how we did overall because of all the forfeits (Cabrillo and Lompoc suffered). Early-season meets like this are good to see what we have to work on, and we got that information.
"I thought we did OK, though."
Hart said he last coached "Three or four years ago," at Democracy Prep Academy at Agassi Campus in Las Vegas. "I've been officiating," wrestling meets, said Hart.
Cabrillo brought eight wrestlers Wednesday night.
"I have a young team this year," said Cabrillo coach Mike Wallace.
"We have no seniors. We have sophomores, freshmen, a handful of juniors."
Wallace said, "I was missing some guys tonight. Some of our heavyweights are injured."
Santa Maria and Nipomo are among the teams that will compete at the Pete Duca Invitational at Pioneer Valley Saturday. Wallace said several of his wrestlers will be at a novice tournament at Newbury Park that day.
The Pete Duca Invitational took place at Nipomo for several years before moving to the Santa Maria Valley recently.