After falling one match short in 2012, La Cañada High heavyweight wrestler Guillermo Padilla advanced to the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at the Eastern Division championships Saturday at Oak Hills High.

“It motivated me a lot, my goal was to do better and make it to Masters,” Padilla said of last year. “This one was way harder than last year for me. There were bigger guys, some state placers in this one, so it was a lot different.”

The junior entered the second day of the tournament Saturday with a match against top-seeded Kenneth Clark of Carter in the semifinals. Padilla fell, 13-3, but met his goal of going all three rounds with the senior. 

Padilla responded with a first-period pinfall victory on Serrano’s Angel Robles in his first consolation match to advance to the third-place bout against Oak Hill’s Justin Gillham. With a trip to Masters already secured, Padilla fought valiantly but fell to Gillham in overtime, 4-1.

La Cañada High Coach Gavin Williams said the focus now is practice, practice, practice for Padilla.

“We have a good base with him and now we have to focus on closing some of those holes in his wrestling and getting him more mat time,” Williams said. “When he wants something and is motivated to wrestle, he’s pretty hard to beat.”

The Spartans’ two other wrestlers who advanced to the second day of divisions – Peter Garfield (195 pounds) and Edwin Padilla (220) – both fell in their first matches Saturday.

Garfield got cut from his cheek to his lip in the middle of his match with Montclair’s Andres Gonzalez but wrestled through the match, not wanting it to be called on account of blood, before falling, 10-3. After the match, he went to the hospital and got some plastic surgery and stitches, Williams said.

Edwin, Guillermo’s brother and a senior, was pinned in the first period of his match with Thai Lawrence of Huntington Beach.

“It was a really tough CIF,” Williams said. “Here, I felt some of the weight classes in the top 10 were really tough. I am proud of my wrestlers, they wrestled real tough. I feel bad for my seniors, but they went out putting everything in it.”