First, let’s back up one day.
Magana, a senior from Oxnard High, entered the CIF-SS Coastal Division individual wrestling championships at Pacifica High on Friday as the No. 2 seed in the 130-pound weight class.
After an opening-round bye, he won his second-round match by a fall. Then came the potential crusher in the quarterfinals.
His hope for an individual division championship was ended, and his quest for a berth in the CIF-SS Masters’ meet was imperiled by a taut, 3-2 loss to Joe Micou of Temecula Valley.
The challenge ahead was difficult enough by doing the math. Magana needed three more victories on Saturday just to assure a top-five finish and to extend his postseason life for another week. He would need four more wins to take third place.
Only that may have been the easy part.
First he had to shed six pounds to make the weight for Saturday’s round.
“I was really worried about that,” he said. “I was six pounds over by the end of (Friday). I thought about that all night. I went in Saturday and I had to do whatever it took to make the weight.”
For those uninformed as to the ways of wrestling, Magana lost the weight the old-fashioned way. He purged everything he had from his system.
“I had to throw it up,” he said. “I got rid of everything.”
That wasn’t even the hardest part of competing on day two of the tournament.
Magana learned that morning that a beloved former coach, assistant Scott Yvarra of Oxnard High, had lost his battle with lung cancer.
“That made it tough,” said Magana.
What followed was a lesson in perseverance.
Magana easily outpointed three consecutive opponents in the consolations to clinch his spot in the Masters meet, and earn a shot in the third-place match.
The opponent turned out to be Micou, which meant a rematch with the same rival who had eked out the one-point decision the day before.
Their matchup for third place turned out to be one of the most dramatic bouts on day two, right down to the heart-pounding finish,
Micou, a rising 11th grader, held a 1-0 edge through two periods, and into the third. He retained that one-point edge all the way to the closing seconds of the match. Near the finish, Magana summoned up the will to escape a hold and post a takedown just before the final buzzer.
Magana had managed a 2-1 victory.
He raised his arms in celebrations, then exchanged hugs with teammates, coaches and friends.
“It’s very emotional,” he said at match’s end. “I wanted to do it for coach (Yvarra). He (Micou) is the same guy who beat me Friday. I just found a way to get it done.”
Magana will be in action in this week’s Masters at Temecula Valley High.
“I’m really happy to have the chance to keep wrestling,” he said. “I can’t wait for the Masters.”
Inspired to win: All of Oxnard’s wrestlers competing in the Coastal Division championships wore a white singlet on the back of their uniforms bearing the initials SV, to honor Yvarra.
Lawrence Thornton won the 160-pound championship with a 13-6 decision over Mac Langenwalter of Valencia-Placentia, and was driven to tears afterward.
“I just wish he (Yvarra) could have been here to see it,” said Thornton.Hahn injured: Cory Hahn didn’t attend high school in Ventura County. He was a star baseball pitcher/outfielder for Mater Dei High in Orange County. But he left an indelible impression here during last spring’s CIF-SS Division I playoffs as the dominating pitcher in victories over locals schools Newbury Park, Camarillo and Royal en route to the Division 1 title.Hahn’s freshman season at Arizona State came to an unhappy ending during a home game Sunday against New Mexico.
He injured his neck while sliding into second base, and underwent surgery the same night. Arizona State officials say he is recovering slowly and remains hospitalized.