The North Torrance wrestling team took home the individual honors, but West Torrance had the higher team standing at the 2011 Clench Gear Tournament of Champions Friday at Artesia High.
The two-day, 86-team tournament, considered one of the CIF Southern Section’s elite events, was hosted by North Torrance, and the Saxons played rude hosts, earning two individual championships and placing seventh overall in team points.
Defending state champion Johnson Mai (No. 5 @ 106) had few problems as he tore through the 106-pound weight class. After defeating Sergio Mendez of San Fernando 9-0 in the final, Mai was named lower-weight MVP. He won four matches by fall and one by technical fall.
North teammate Jordan Gurrola used a spectacular move to come back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Taylor Hall of Canyon Springs 9-5 in the 120-pound championship match. Hall is ranked sixth in California.
West Torrance had only one wrestler reach a final, but its 136 points were good enough for a sixth-place finish, ahead of North’s 132.5 points. Lake Stevens of Washington won the team trophy with 236 points.
Three teams from outside California finished in the top five in points.
“There were 86 teams and our first goal was to finish ahead of all the other South Bay teams in the tournament,” West coach Brian Notch said.