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The Register's boys wrestler of theYear is Luciano Arroyo of Calvary Chapel. (Photo by Matt Masin, Orange County Register, SCNG)

Boys wrestler of the year: Luciano Arroyo, Calvary Chapel

STAFF WRITER

Luciano Arroyo strongly holds onto his dream of becoming a state champion.

He has been to the CIF State Tournament each of his first two years of high school, but he has come up short. Still, it probably wouldn’t be wise to bet against him accomplishing his dream before he graduates from Calvary Chapel.

As a freshman, Arroyo finished seventh at state at 113 pounds.

“Last year, coming in as a freshman, no one expects anything from you,” Arroyo said. “When you upset someone it is like Wow! This year, when you’re up at the top and people have expectations, there’s a lot more pressure.”

He handled things well.

Arroyo split the season between 126 and 120 pounds. He ended it at 120, winning an Orange Coast League and CIF-Southern Section title. He was second at Masters and finished third at the state tournament.

For his performance this season, Arroyo is the Register’s boys wrestler of the year.

“This year, I was dealing with how to be confident and not cocky because I always struggled with that,” Arroyo said. “I know that I could be this kid, but I don’t want to be cocky because I know the Lord would humble me. ... (I wanted to be a) lot more professional this year, with how I weight cut and my diet.

“Obviously, I’m not on top of the podium like I wanted to be, but I learned a lot and I’m happy that I’ve improved a lot from last year.”

Arroyo started the season by winning the Cossarek Classic at 126 pounds. He was also second at the Zinkin Classic, Cerritos Tournament of Champions and first at the SuperChamps Tournament.

The state tournament offered the greatest test of Arroyo, both physically and mentally.

He recorded three consecutive decision victories to advance to the semifinals, where he ran into Cleveland Belton of Temescal Canyon. The previous week at the Masters Meet, Belton defeated him, 5-1.

Belton again triumphed, 11-5, but the tournament wasn’t over for Arroyo.

Arroyo dropped to the consolation bracket and recorded a 3-1 victory.

“It was tough,” he said. “After the semifinals match, I went outside and I was shocked. Obviously, the kid is tough and he beat me, but I knew my dreams of becoming a state champ would have to hold off for another year.

“Coach said let’s worry about it after and let’s come back and take third."

Arroyo was able to edge Ethan Leake of Buchanan to cap the tournament with a 6-4 victory for third place.

Arroyo also developed into an in-the-room leader for Calvary Chapel, which had an all-underclassmen lineup this season.

The future is extremely bright for the Eagles, and they can follow in the freshly marked footsteps of Arroyo as he set his sights on becoming a four-time state medalist and possibly a state champion.

“Our team next year is going to be stacked and the year after that,” Arroyo said. “I think this team this year was the weakest it will be for the next decade. The kids that are coming up in the program are amazing kids and I’m real excited for next year and the future.”

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@scng.com


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