High School Sports

Atascadero looks to continue PAC 7 wrestling reign

Atascadero High’s Andrew Bittle pins Paso Robles’ Luke Clifford in the heavyweight match during their PAC 7 dual meet Jan. 24 in Atascadero. Atascadero and Paso Robles enter Saturday’s PAC 7 tournament in contention for the PAC 7 championship.
Atascadero High’s Andrew Bittle pins Paso Robles’ Luke Clifford in the heavyweight match during their PAC 7 dual meet Jan. 24 in Atascadero. Atascadero and Paso Robles enter Saturday’s PAC 7 tournament in contention for the PAC 7 championship. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

For the first time in eight years, there could be a PAC 7 wrestling champion other than Atascadero High.

But that doesn’t mean the Greyhounds are going to submit. They’re determined to continue their league title run in Saturday’s PAC 7 championship at the Atascadero gym, an event that begins at 10 a.m. with the finals slated for 5 p.m.

Also taking place Saturday is the Los Padres League championship at Nipomo, with the host team hoping to land its first league title since 2005. The tournament starts at 10 a.m. with championship matches at about 1:30 p.m.

Righetti enters the PAC 7 tournament as the leader in team points after completing a perfect 6-0 league dual run, which included handing Atascadero its first dual loss in six seasons.

Atascadero (5-1) and Paso Robles (4-2) will try to make one final push toward the league title.

Atascadero needs to outscore Righetti and Paso Robles to win it all, and Paso Robles needs Righetti to drop to second or third place and finish ahead of Atascadero in the team standings for the championship.

Atascadero has momentum after beating Paso Robles in the dual meet’s season finale Jan. 24.

“I feel like we’re in a good place,” Greyhounds coach Chris Ferree said. “We’re healthy. We had a good two weeks of practice after the Paso Robles match. We’re confident. We have to beat kids who beat us early in the year. The kids are battling.”

“We hope to be in full strength, have everyone on the same page and do what we’re supposed to do,” added Paso Robles coach Chris Monteiro, whose Bearcats finished second to Atascadero in last year’s tournament. “You gotta wrestle every time you step on the mat. You can’t wrestle on your reputation.”

Both teams fell to Righetti in the dual meet season, as Atascadero’s loss came after suffering four one-point matches, and Paso Robles’ loss came after injuries caused two forfeits. But both Atascadero and Paso Robles are confident about wrestling in a tournament format, considering most of their wrestlers are healthy after two weeks of rest.

In the LPL tournament, Nipomo needs to finish first or second to capture the school’s first league title in seven years. The Titans finished the dual meet season at 5-0 and are followed by 4-1 Morro Bay, which shared last year’s league title with Santa Ynez.

“We’re optimistic,” Nipomo coach Greg Manosar said. “We hope that we wrestle well so that we can pull this thing through. Anything can happen in the league tournament.”

The top four finishers in the PAC 7 tournament and top three in the LPL tournament will advance to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship at San Luis Obispo High on Feb. 17-18.

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