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Until the completion of Mira Costa High School’s new athletic facilities, many of its teams are displaced, including boys’ wrestling.
But the grapplers aren’t letting that stop them.
This year Mira Costa has four wrestlers ranked in the state, which has not happened before, according to head coach Jimmy Chaney.
“We broke a new milestone with our program this year,” Chaney said. “The state rankings mention the top 40 wrestlers in each weight class, plus honorable mentions. This is the first time since they started the state rankings that we have four wrestlers named.
Those four wrestlers are Andrew Chaney (152 lbs.), Greg Sevaston (152), Taro Iyadomi (182) and James Hennessey (195). Sevaston and Iyadomi are co-captains of the team and returning wrestlers who competed at CIF-Southern Section Individuals and placed. Iyadomi took fourth and Sevaston was sixth.
Sevaston is currently ranked No. 38 in the state rankings. Iyadomi is ranked in the honorable mention group.
Sevaston is off to a good start with a first place at Orange Lutheran and second place finishes at South Torrance, Mater Dei and Irvine. Iyadomi won at Irvine, but has missed time with an injury. Both are seniors.
“When I was a sophomore, I would check the state rankings religiously to see which of our own Mira Costa wrestlers were state ranked,” Sevaston said. “I would think of the state rankings as something unattainable by someone like me. However, two years later, I’m the one on the state rankings and using it as a tool to figure out who my next opponent is. It gives me great confidence after all I have been through to finally be a state-ranked wrestler.”
Hennessey and Chaney, both juniors, are also mentioned in the state rankings. Hennessey won the Halloween Open and was second at Mater Dei and Irvine and third at Orange Lutheran. Chaney was third at the Halloween Open, but is currently sidelined due to an injury.
“Being on the state listings is a great relief, it is good to know that all of my hard work has paid off, but I am still hungry for more success,” Hennessey said.
Coach Chaney said he thinks all four wrestlers will place at CIF later this year.
And other wrestlers are also looking to make their mark.
They are Carlton St. Bernard III and Reid Inskeep. St. Bernard III finished third at South Torrance, Orange Lutheran, Mater Dei and Irvine. Following recovery from the flu, Inskeep was third at Irvine.
“My goal is to place in CIF, in order to accomplish that goal it takes showing up to every tournament and practice ready to put everything I have on the mat and pushing myself harder to find success,” Inskeep said.
Last weekend Mira Costa wrestled in the 64-team national tournament called Tournament of Champions at Sonora High School with teams from California, Washington, Arizona and Nevada.
“This is a great tournament with really great teams,” Chaney said.
Poway, a school from the San Diego area, won the tournament. They are ranked No. 12 in the country, according to Chaney. Yucaipa was the runner-up. Lake Stevens, Washington was third and Esperanza finished fourth. Boulder Creek, Arizona was fifth, followed by Royal and a team from Sacramento, Bella Vista.
Iyadomi was Mira Costa’s top wrestler. He took fifth at 182.
Finishing seventh were Sevaston (152) and Hennessey (195). Chaney did not wrestle, but was fifth last year.
After much success in recent years, Mira Costa has moved up to a tougher division.
“We have moved up two divisions,” Chaney said. “We are ranked No. 6 (in Division 5). After dominating Division 6 and last year beating South Torrance-the Division 5 champions-we realized that they moved us up to where we belong.”
The coach talked about the how difficult it has been for the team this year.
“We have had a set back with not having a gym. We practice a mile-and-a-half away at Black House MMA. Black House has been wonderful to us.”
“Having our gym taken away from us has definitely been tough,” Iyadomi said. “The challenge has made us more resilient though and I think there have been more positives than negatives.”
The numbers are down for the program.
“Since we don’t have a feeder program we rely on recruiting freshmen, who have never wrestled before,” Chaney said. “Asking new students to join and meet us every day 1.5 miles away has been difficult. We usually have 30 freshmen boys. This year we have 30 boys from 9th-12th grade. But, longterm it will be worth it when we get a new gym.”
Mira Costa’s boys and girls wrestling teams are set to showcase their athletic ability as the postseason is underway.
The Lady Mustangs have enjoyed a successful season and are led by two returning State Qualifiers in Allysa Nocum and Vivian Ramirez.
The team is coming off a first-place finish at the Brea Olinda Girls Varsity tournament where Mira Costa had eight girls finish in the top three.
“That was a phenomenal performance,” coach Jimmy Chaney said. “I am expecting them to finish strong again this year at CIF. Last year, they finished 8th in the entire Southern Section.” Mira Costa was hit by the flu bug last week with five girls out plus Chaney barely making it to the match against Redondo.
“We gave Redondo 30 points by forfeit and still almost beat them with a final score of 36-42,” Chaney said. “Redondo has a solid team that we respect. We feel if we can do that against Redondo with five girls out, we should do really well at CIF.”
The girls will compete in the Western Regional Qualifier tournament at Downey High School on Saturday, Feb. 9 which is a qualifier for the CIF Southern Section Girls Wrestling Championship Tournament, which takes place on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16 at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Eastvale.
The top six wrestlers in each weight class will qualify for CIF-SS Championship with the top eight finishers qualifying for the Girl’s State Invitational Tournament Feb. 21-23 at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Mira Costa’s boys team is led by returning Master’s qualifier Tyler Gordon. He won the Irvine Invitational this year being named the outstanding upper weight wrestler of the tournament while recording the most pins in the shortest time.
“We had a slow start this year, then Beverly Hills beat us,” Chaney said. “We hadn’t lost a league dual meet since 2014 and we take pride in winning duals. This loss woke us up and turned our team around. After that we have wrestled with a vengeance. We defeated Peninsula 60-6, Redondo 51-26 and South Torrance 42-38.
“South Torrance was considered to be the premiere team of the South Bay and they have wrestled great all year to prove that. But, we took offense to that and felt we had to prove a point. I honestly believe there were only 14 people in that whole gym that thought we were going to win, and that was me and the 13 wrestlers we brought.”
South went on to win the Division 5 Dual Meet championship on Saturday.
“We are shocked that the CIF bumped our team up two divisions.” Chaney said. “We take that as a compliment, but realize that we now compete with teams at a different level. We went in (to the Dual Meet championships) unseeded with the cards stacked against us. But, we were excited to be there in the mix with teams that have been powerhouses. We want that kind of competition and need it to help us go to the next level.”
The six Divisional Championships will take place on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9 with the purpose of determining the CIF Southern Section Individual Wrestling Champions, as well as Masters Meet qualifiers.
Mira Costa High School’s team full of young wrestlers last season grappled to the brink of a second consecutive CIF Southern Section championship before falling just short.
This year, the goal is simple: Get back to the finals and win.
Mira Costa fell to Shadow Hills in the 2015 final, but had about eight underclassmen in its lineup throughout the season, winning the Bay League with an undefeated dual-meet record.
Most of those wrestlers are back this season and Mira Costa coach Jimmy Chaney thinks the sky is the limit for his squad.
Six key sophomores from last year are now juniors and two freshman are now sophomores, so while the Mustangs are still young, that young talent is a little more seasoned this year.
“Getting back to the CIF finals and getting a couple of our guys to (CIF) State is definitely the goal and we think that’s within reach this year,” Chaney said. “We’re really excited about the guys we have back and the improvements they have made.”
Senior Jean-Paul LeBosnoyani nearly reached the CIF State playoffs at 170 pounds last year. He appears to be ready to take the next step this season.
LeBosnoyani is ranked 13th in the state at 170 pounds by The California Wrestler.
“He’s been working really hard over the offseason, I think he knows what he needs to do to get a win at state,” Chaney said.
Junior Jared Williams is also poised for a big season and sophomore twins Jacob and Tyler Gordon appear ready to take big steps forward as well.
Mira Costa enters the season ranked No. 4 in the CIF-SS Southern Division behind Irvine, Rim of the World and Schurr.
At this point of the high school wrestling season only the best-of-the-best are still competing across the state of California.
The Southern Section Masters Meet is this weekend at Sonora High School and several Mira Costa and Redondo Union wrestlers are still competing for a spot in the state tournament.
“Our goal was to have five wrestlers wrestle in Masters,” said Mira Costa boys wrestling head coach Jimmy Chaney. “That would be a school record for us. We had four in 2015, four in 2018 and we fell short of our goal with four in 2020. Well, at least we tied our record.”
Those who advanced are Greg Sevaston (152 lbs.), Reid Inskeep (160), Andrew Chaney (138) and Taro Iyadomi (182).
A state berth is on the line for those who do well.
“Greg Sevaston has the best chance to qualify for state,” Chaney said. “He is probably ranked eighth in the section and the top nine go.”
Sevaston won a silver medal and was the only wrestler to compete in the championship match in his weight class at CIF. He lost 15-11 to Isaiah Vasquez of Roosevelt High School.
“My biggest challenge came in the semifinal when I had to beat a wrestler I had lost to last year in the fifth-place match at CIF,” Sevaston said. “The pressure was high and during the match, the score was really close, but I wrestled smart to a 5-4 decision and was able to overcome my demon from the previous year.”
He had to be mentally tough going into CIF this year.
“This CIF I had to overcome a lot to advance to Masters,” Sevaston said. “I not only knew that my bracket was hard, but I had to place in the top-five so I had to outdo my performance from last year in which I placed sixth.”
He added, “I ended up taking second at the tournament which shows just how much I’ve been through to make it this far. As of now, my goal is to make it to state, and to do so I have to overcome even more talented wrestlers and demons, but I’m working every day to be able to do that.”
Mira Costa’s Reid Inskeep had the next best finish at CIF with a fourth place in his first appearance.
“I had been wrestling for three years and had yet to make it to CIF,” Inskeep said. “It was my senior year and it was do or die (at Bay League finals). I really felt like I had to just keep winning. There was a time when I was down by a point in the third period with less than a minute left, I thought to myself that this could be my last-minute wrestling. Instantly I started working towards getting my two points, and I did.”
Chaney took fifth in his weight class.
“I was really ready to prove myself after being one match away from placing last year,” Andrew Chaney said. “I focused heavily for every match and was ready to win, which is why I believe I was able to pin the wrestlers who were seeded higher than myself.”
Mira Costa’s fourth qualifier was Taro Iyadomi at 182 lbs. He finished sixth.
“This year has been by far the toughest for me.,” Iyadomi said. “I came back from an ACL surgery a month after the season began and I had a lot of catching up to do. Throughout the season, I’ve had to use multiple knee braces and I didn’t feel 100 percent until just recently.”
“That feeling was short-lived, however, since at the CIF tournament last Friday and Saturday, exactly a year after I tore my ACL the first time, I sprained my ACL in the semifinals prompting me to forfeit three matches. Although I still placed sixth, which qualified me for Masters, I know I could’ve done better.”
He has a brief period to recover for this weekend.
“Now, I’m taking it easy to recover my knee as much as possible before Masters so that, hopefully, I’ll be able to qualify for state. Injuries have definitely made achieving my goals extremely difficult, but I won’t let them stop me from trying.”
Mira Costa’s James Hennessey was seventh at CIF and just missed making it to the Masters Meet.
“I believe Greg and all our wrestlers will do well,” said a confident Chaney. “Master’s is a grueling tournament. We are hoping to all four go to state, but it will be really hard.”
Girls Mira Costa Wrestling CIF Qualifiers
The girls from Mira Costa and Redondo Union will also be represented at the CIF after competing in the Northern Region at Camarillo High School as part of the Regional Qualifying Tournament last week.
“We also have three girls in CIF that we are hoping to get to state,” said Chaney, who also coaches the girls.
Fiona Thomas, Cali Sheldon and Jessica Patton will represent Mira Costa at Beaumont High School in Corona at the CIF Southern Section Girl’s Individual Wrestling Championships Thursday and Friday.