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HIGHLAND HIGH WRESTLING HAS LOCK ON RIVALS.

Byline: Danny Schumacher Daily News Staff Writer

Highland High School opened its doors in 1989, and since that time the Bulldogs have established one of the area's premier wrestling programs.

And Highland celebrated a benchmark achievement this past weekend when it picked up the 200th victory in the program's history during the Bobby Loughridge Invitational.

Led by individual titles from John Garfinkel (125 pounds), Roland Aldabert (130), Stuart Young (152), Cory King (189) and Joe Younan (215), the Bulldogs went 10-0 in the tournament to take the team title.

But the big celebrating came the first day. With many alumni looking on, the Bulldogs beat a tough Thousand Oaks squad for the 200th victory.

Highland wrestlers, boosters and alumni celebrated with a party in the school's wrestling room at the end of the evening. Joining were Richie Moakley, the school's first Southern Section medalist (1992), and Kevin Wright, who earned the school's only state medal in 1995.

Moakley also officiated in the tournament.

``It was really nice,'' Highland coach Mike Young said. ``Whenever we win a tournament we have a tradition at Highland that everyone on the team puts their thumbprint on the trophy. We had all the alumni put their thumbprint on a big poster board (Friday night). It was nice to see some of the old guys.''

What Young's team has managed to accomplish since 1991, its first year at the varsity level, has been impressive.

That first year Highland went 8-11 with just 10th-graders. The following year the Bulldogs improved to 24-18.

Then in 1993 the success of the Highland program catapulted to the top as the Bulldogs went 50-7-1 and won the Golden League title while also finishing seventh in the team scoring at the Southern Section Division IV finals.

In 1994 Highland challenged for a Southern Section title, losing in the semifinals of the dual-meet playoffs to eventual champion John Glenn. The Bulldogs finished the year 36-1 and won also what would be the second of four straight Golden League titles.

John Glenn ended the Bulldogs' season again in 1995, this time in the championship match. Last year, the two teams met again in the title match with John Glenn also winning.

Young feels that this year's team is capable of matching the accomplishments of the school's previous squads.

``This team is as good as a lot of the earlier teams,'' Young said. ``Except we upped the dual meet competition this year. This team could go with any of them.''

Highland has several wrestlers enjoying impressive seasons.

Aldabert broke the school record of 141 career victories a week ago and now has 155 wins through this year.

Stuart Young, the coach's son, is developing into one of the area's most powerful wrestlers. He is 31-4 with 23 pins, including nine first-round pins this weekend.

Highland also appears to be getting stronger as the season progresses. The Bulldogs had several wrestlers get off to a slow start because they were competing on the school's football team, which advanced to the semifinals of the Division II playoffs.

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Photo: Roland Aldabert

Holds school record in wins
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 14, 1997
Words:521
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