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CITY SECTION WRESTLING: SAN FERNANDO TRIES TO REFOCUS.

Byline: Kirby Lee Special to the Daily News

If the San Fernando High wrestling team needed any extra incentive for next week's City Section individual wrestling championships, there will be plenty from Thursday night's 41-37 loss to Bell in the City dual meet championships at Los Angeles University High.

A tactical error in the 140-pound match and the lack of a 189-pound wrestler derailed San Fernando's chances of knocking off defending champion Bell.

San Fernando will get a chance at redemption in the City individual finals at Reseda High on Feb. 26, when state meet berths in 14 weight classes will be on the line.

``I'd rather lose now than at City,'' San Fernando senior Rafael Reynolds said. ``It's a stepping stone. If we would have won this, we would have gone in to (City finals) big-headed because we were No. 1 already. Since we lost today, everybody is going to be like `I have to work even harder.' ''

Particularly the undefeated Reynolds (40-0). He never got a chance to wrestle on Thursday night when Bell forfeited the bout rather than face the three-time City champion.

``I wanted to wrestle and was excited to wrestle,'' Reynolds said. ``I was disappointed when they forfeited that match when I wanted to wrestle the most.''

San Fernando could have used Reynolds' services in the lower weight classes. Bell (18-2) raced to a 29-10 lead through the first six weight classes with four pins and a technical fall. One of the most pivotal pins came at 140 pounds, in which Bell's Andy Garcia pinned San Fernando freshman Michael Solis with four seconds left.

Solis had held a 6-4 lead in the final 10 seconds but Garcia evened the score on a take down and registered a pin that gave the Eagles a 29-10 lead.

San Fernando fought back to take its only lead, 31-29, with a win at 145 pounds by Andrew Guerrero, pins by Ricky Aguirre (152) and Saul Martinez (173) and a forfeit win by Rafael Reynolds (160).

The lead was short-lived when San Fernando forfeited the 189-pound bout to give Bell a 35-31 lead. The Eagles clinched the match when Bell's Javier Pompa pinned Erica Matta in the first period for a 41-31 lead to neutralize a pin by San Fernando City champion heavyweight Santos Delgadillo in the final match.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 18, 2005
Words:389
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