Palomar leads all SoCal teams with third place finish

Palomar leads all SoCal teams with third place finish
Palomar leads all SoCal teams with third place finish

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NORWALK - 
For the third season in a row, Northern California power Fresno City College has captured the CCCAA Wrestling State Championship. Competing in the two-day event at Cerritos College, the Rams had seven wrestlers advance to state championship matches (won four of them), and outdistanced the rest of the field with 187 team points. Sacramento City College took second place with 119.5 points, while Palomar College led all Southern California schools with a third place finish with 109 points. The host Falcons collected 103.5 points to come in fourth place. Fresno had entries in the first seven weight classifications.

Southern California teams had seven wrestlers advance to state championship matches and picked up three titles. Josh Brown (Cerritos, 141 pounds), Luis Vargas (Santa Ana, 157 pounds), Cristian Ayala (Mt. San Antonio, 285 pounds) were Southern California state champions, while SoCal had 13 All-Americans.

Sophomore 125-pound Greg Villoria of San Joaquin Delta College was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the championships, while Fresno City's Paul Keysaw was named the Coach of the Year for the third season in a row, as was George Moreno, who was voted the Assistant Coach of the Year.

The team championship by the Rams was their state-leading 16th in their storied program, while they now have had 83 individual state champions. Cerritos, who won one individual state championship, is a distant second with 60 champions.

125 Pounds – Championship Finals
Greg Villoria (San Joaquin Delta) de f. Mario Moreno (Fresno City), 8-2
A rematch of the Northern California championship match, Viloria used the clock judiciously, as he struck in the final seconds of the first two periods to take a lead. With time winding down in the first period, Viloria recorded a takedown and then a two-point nearfall as the clock expired for a 4-0 advantage. Moreno got on the board with a quick escape in the second period, but once again, it was Viloria who attacked in the waning seconds for a takedown with :03 seconds remaining and took a 6-1 lead into the third period. Leaving no doubt, Viloria recorded his third takedown as the period was about to end for his 8-2 victory.

3rd Place - Trevor Bagan (Santa Rosa) def. Isaac Guerrero (Palomar), 14-12
5th Place - Jacob Hiller (Shasta) def. Marcus Hutcherson (Bakersfield), medical forfeit
7th Place - Keithen Estrada (Bakersfield) def. Zachary Cunningham (Mt. San Antonio), 6-5
NOTES: Viloria took third place at 125 pounds in 2017

133 Pounds – Championship Finals
Isaiah Perez (Fresno City) def. Raul Ortiz (Palomar), 9-5
Looking to earn his second straight state championship, Perez was able to get a takedown midway into the stanza and then added a four-point nearfall with 1:03 left on the clock. He went on to lead, 8-1 but saw Ortiz make a second period move with a reversal and two-point nearfall to make the match, 8-5. Perez was able to add to his riding time in the third period and controlled the match for the win and his second title.

3rd Place - Oliver Rivero (Santa Ana) def. Eric Marquez (Palomar), 13-3 (major decision)
5th Place - Murtaza Nabaada (Sierra) pinned Jose Espnoza (Cerritos), 4:49
7th Place - Ivan Gomez (Modesto) def. Kyle Jimenez (Fresno City), medical forfeit
NOTES: Perez won state championship at 133 pounds in 2017

141 Pounds – Championship Finals
Josh Brown (Cerritos) def. Luis Ramos (Fresno City), 10-2
In a rematch of the CCCAA team Dual State Championship match, Brown came out with energy and took a 4-1 first period lead. In the final seconds of the first period, Brown made a slick move to get around Ramos to register a takedown. He received a stalling point in the second period and then increased his lead to 7-1 with a reversal with :35 seconds left in the second period. A quick takedown to start the third period for Brown sent him on his way to the state championship with a dominant performance.

3rd Place - Ezra Clark (Skyline) def. Michael Mello (Sacramento City), 17-8 (major decision)
5th Place - Eric Reyes (Palomar) def. Josh Fuentes-Norikiy (Santa Ana), 8-6
7th Place - Aaron Diaz (Mt. San Antonio) def. Logan Garcia (Lassen), injury default
NOTES: Brown took fourth place at 133 pounds in 2017; Fuentes-Norikiy took fifth place at 133 pounds in 2017


149 Pounds – Championship Finals
Daniel Ruiz (Fresno City) def. Adam Valdez (Mt. San Antonio), 6-5
In one of the more entertaining matches of the night, Ruiz opened a 4-1 lead in the first period with a takedown and two-point nearfall with :23 seconds left. Valdez, trailing 5-1 in the second period, picked up a reversal, which made it 5-3, but Ruiz responded with an escape and takedown with :05 seconds left in the period and held on for the 6-5 win.

3rd Place - Daniel Cota (Modesto) def. Larry Rodriguez (Cerritos), 7-5
5th Place - Josh Aceves (Skyline) def. Dylan Crawford (Sacramento City), 4-3
7th Place - Humphry Quirie (Cuesta) def. Emmett Kuntz (Bakersfield), 10-4
NOTES: Valdez took third place at 133 pounds in 2017; Kuntz took sixth place at 149 pounds in 2017

157 Pounds – Championship Finals
Luis Vargas (Santa Ana) def. Ruben Garcia (Fresno City), 8-2
A matchup of top seeds from each region, Vargas opened up a 4-0 lead in the second period after a pair of takedown, before Garcia made it interesting with a reversal to make it a 4-2 match heading into the third period. But that's where Vargas took over with a takedown :34 seconds into the period and then received a penalty point when Garcia was charged with grabbing the headgear. Riding time by Vargas closed out the scoring in the match.

3rd Place - Miguel Gallardo (Mt. San Antonio) def. Conrad Lopez (Fresno City, 7-1
5th Place - Joe Romero (West Hills-Lemoore) def. Conrad Trevino (Sacramento City), 3-1
7th Place - Manny Curry (Sacramento City) def. Jessy Diaz (Palomar), 6-2
NOTES: Lopez took second place at 157 pounds in 2017

165 Pounds – Championship Finals
Augie Garcia (Fresno City) def. Mace Anderson (Palomar), 12-3
The first minute of this championship match between the two regional champions had the making of a high-scoring affair. Garcia posted a pair of takedowns in the first minute, with Anderson escaping both times. But it wasn't until the final :30 seconds of the second before before anyone scored again, and each time if was Garcia. He put himself in great position with a reversal and four-point nearfall before the end of the second period for a 10-2 lead and then added a late takedown to add to his solid win for the championship.

3rd Place - Kennith Kirk (Cerritos) pinned Abel Garcia (Sacramento City), 5:49
5th Place - Devin Top (Moorpark) def. Kevin Garcia (Chabot), 12-1 (major decision)
7th Place - Jackson Blankenship (Shasta) tech. fall Kevin Mello (Bakersfield), 17-0
NOTES: Kirk took seventh place at 165 pounds in 2016

174 Pounds – Championship Finals
Abner Romero (Fresno City) def. Zack Gonzalez (Cerritos), 8-1
The most controversial first period of the night resulted in a 2-0 Romero lead in a battle of the two #1-seeds from both regions. It appeared that Gonzalez, who came out with a quick-strike offense, scored a takedown and possible nearfall points, but was denied. Not long after, Gonzalez was ruled to not have gotten Romero's shoulders on the mat to score points. The close calls seems to motivate Romero, who took a 5-0 lead, while Gonzalez was forced to battle from behind, but to no avail.

3rd Place - Cameron Cox (Palomar) def. Hunter Gonzalez (Sierra), 7-6
5th Place - Isaac Beralotto (Sacramento City) def. Robert Flores (Moorpark), 9-3
7th Place - Gabriel Rodriguez (East Los Angeles) pinned Juan Rosales (Modesto), 5:59
NOTES: Gonzalez took seventh place at 174 pounds in 2017; Bertalotto took fifth place at 165 pounds in 2017

184 Pounds – Championship Finals
Bronson Harmon (Sacramento City) def. Jhaylyn Hall (Santa Rosa), 3-2
It was a tight defensive battle between the top two finishers at the Northern California Regional Championships. But like in that match, Harmon was able to come away with another win, as his takedown just :41 second into the match turned out to be the difference. An escape point by Hall before the end of the period was countered by Harmon just :07 seconds into the second period, while Hall was only able to muster an early escape point in the third period. Harmon did a fine job fending off Hall for most of the match. It was also the first match of the night that did not have a Fresno City wrestler competing.

3rd Place - Steven Abbott (Sacramento City) pinned Tevin Bailey (Lassen), 2:09
5th Place - Nick Kimball (Palomar) pinned Victor Bryson (Cuesta), 1:13
7th Place - Jerrin Dean (Fresno City) def. Victor Cruz (Modesto), 4-2
NOTES: Bailey took third place at 165 pounds in 2017

197 Pounds – Championship Finals
Anthony Cress (Chabot) def. Brian Horn (Sacramento City), 6-3
The second two-time state champion of the night, Cress defeated his rival and opponent at the Northern California Regional Championships. It was a tight battle for seven minutes, with Cress scoring the only two takedowns of the match. One of the keys to the win, was the ability of Cress to ride out Horn and had over 4:00 minutes of riding time. After Horn escaped in the early part o the third period, it was a 3-2 match. But Cress locked down the title on a takedown with just :20 seconds left on the clock.

3rd Place - Adrian Godinez (Bakersfield) technical fall over Karim Shakur (Santa Rosa), 15-0
5th Place - Tony Rogers (Lassen) def. Matthew Martinez (Fresno City), win by forfeit
7th Place - Andy Voong (Rio Hondo) def. Efren Velez (East Los Angeles), 4-0
NOTES: Cress won the state championship at 174 pounds in 2017; Horn took eighth place at 165 pounds in 2017

285 Pounds – Championship Finals
Cristian Ayala (Mt. San Antonio) def. Cole Mair (Lassen), 3-2 (OT)
The final, and most exciting match of the night came to a conclusion when Ayala was able to record a reversal in the second :30 second overtime period. After the two regional champions were tied at 1-1 after regulation, neither wrestler was able to score in the 1:00 sudden death period. With Mair down to start the first overtime period, He was able to get up and out with :18 seconds left on the clock. When that time expired, Ayala was down to start the overtime period and made a quick move to get around Mair for the championship-winning points.

3rd Place - Ramon Guzman (Skyline) def. Jacob Hall (Bakersfield), 3-1 (OT)
5th Place - Randy Gonzalez (Cerritos) def. Diego Sanchez (Rio Hondo), 2-1
7th Place - Angel Mariscal (Fresno City) def. Christopher Alvizures (Mt. San Antonio), 4-2
NOTES: Mair took third place at 285 pounds in 2017

TEAM SCORES

1. Fresno City 187.0
2. Sacramento City 119.5
3. Palomar 109.0
4. Cerritos 103.5
5. Mt. San Antonio 79.0
6. Bakersfield 53.5
7. Santa Ana 52.5
8. Lassen 52.0
8. Santa Rosa 52.0
10. Skyline 39.5
11. Modesto 32.0
12. Chabot 31.0
13. Sierra 25.0
14. Shasta 22.5
15. Moorpark 21.5
16. San Joaquin Delta 20.5
17. West Hills-Lemoore 18.0
18. Cuesta 17.0
19. Rio Hondo 16.5
20. East Los Angeles 12.0

Photos by Daryl Peterson