(l-r) Guillermo Ojeda, Nianna Morris and Pat Henthorn are among 11 Cardinal wrestlers going on to the CIF Individual Championships this weekend. Photo by Brian D. Wilson

Cardinal wrestling coach praises three of his best wrestlers for 2007

February 14, 2007
Cardinal wrestling Coach Robert Hastie has picked three of his wrestlers, all seniors, for special recognition. All three are among 11 members of the team going on to the CIF Individual Championships this weekend.Pat Henthorn, wrestling at 215 pounds, was the hero of the team this season. He won the final match against Fillmore, giving Santa Paula the Tri-Valley League title.Henthorn has been wrestling since the eighth grade. He saw a video at school on wrestling and decided it would be fun so he started wrestling at Isbell Middle School.Henthorn was undefeated in League wrestling this year. He’s also participated in track, cross-country, swimming and football, but broke his wrist during football last year.As for wrestling, Henthorn says it’s a really fun sport. “You don’t have to worry about letting everyone down,” he said. “You wrestle for yourself or whoever you want to do it for.” His father passed away last summer so Henthorn says it was very important to him to win league.He says he nearly passed out during the third period of the Fillmore match. His headgear was cutting off the blood supply to his head. “It wasn’t until after the match that I thought about what I had done, how proud my dad would have been if he had still been around,” he added.After he graduates Henthorn is going to become a missionary. He plans on going to Uganda, Africa, where he’ll be teaching young children. He says he may even start a wrestling program there.Nianna Morris, wrestling at 154-pounds, was the surprise of many this year, placing near the top at a number of meets. She took 4th place at the CIF Girls’ Championships, 2nd at the Fillmore Tournament, 2nd at the Santa Paula Tournament at 1st at Pacifica.Nianna has been wrestling since she was a sophomore. “I kind of got into it by mistake,” she said. “I was a softball player and I was looking for things I could do off season to keep in shape. At the time it was pre-season for wrestling, so I decided I could workout and run with them and it grew on me.”She says it a great opportunity, especially for a girl, to get to go to boys’ CIF. “It feels like a big accomplishment,” she added. She says she’s heard comments at times from male competitors, thinking they’d have an easy time because she’s a girl. As she’s proven, none of them had an easy match and many of them have lost to her.
Morris plans on majoring in art at college and might continue wrestling at that level if the opportunity presents itself.Guillermo Ojeda, at 191 pounds, also started wrestling his sophomore year. He was on the football team with Henthorn, who got him interested in wrestling. He also ran with the track team last year.What does he like about wrestling? “I like competing a lot,” he said. “What I like about wrestling is you’re in it for the team and also for yourself. You win things for yourself and you win for your team.”He’s feeling pretty confident about CIF. “I know it’s going to be really tough,” he noted. Last year he suffered an injury and didn’t get to compete after qualifying for CIF. “This year I feel strong and I’m looking to place,” he added.Ojeda is planning to attend Moorpark College after high school and then transfer to a 4-year university. He plans to wrestle while at Moorpark. He plans to major in music and business. He’s been playing the trombone since the 5th grade. He also plays piano, guitar and bass.Coach Hastie has high praise for all three wrestlers. Referring to the pivotal Fillmore match, Hastie said of Henthorn, “He never gave up. It was a close match all the way through, but he never gave up. That was the difference in winning that match. He’s got great fight, he’s got a lot of heart and he’s a nice young man.”Hastie says Morris was a pleasant surprise. He says she doesn’t miss workouts. “When most kids are looking for an excuse not to come, she’s always here,” he said. “She sets a great example for the other girls to follow. I think she’s going to go on and do great things in whatever she takes on.”Hastie said he didn’t think Ojeda was serious about wrestling his first year. “After his sophomore year you could tell he wanted it,” Hastie said. He noted that Ojeda has not missed a practice all season. “He’s got a chance of placing in CIF,” Hastie added. “I believe he can and I believe he’s got an outside chance of placing in masters and going to State if he works hard all the way through doesn’t slack off, which he doesn’t.”

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