SportStars Magazine

CIF Wrestling Preview: A Weight-By-Weight Boys & Girls Breakdown

CIF Wrestling Preview, Michael Torres, Isaiah Medina

SportStars’ Wrestling Guru, Ike Dodson, Runs Down Each Division Listing Favorites As Well As NorCal’s Top Contenders, Dark Horses •

2020 CIF Wrestling Preview

The walls of Mechanics Banks (formerly Rabobank) Arena will soon be singing the sweet melody of state championship wrestling. Thursday’s pigtail rounds open 28 brackets in boys and girls combined action at the 2020 CIF Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.

The action wraps up after three days with Saturday’s finals, when 14 boys and 14 girls will earn coveted gold from one of the toughest state tournaments in the nation, an all-division fight for glory.

Below is a weight-by-weight breakdown of each weight class, including a rundown of top contenders, NorCal’s top boys and girls and some wrestlers to watch for potential upsets.

WEIGHTS 101-120

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (101)

Despite placing third in state last year, four-time SJS Masters champion Hailey Ward (Turlock) is just the No. 7 seed here. She’s destined to meet NorCal’s top seed, Lizette Rodriguez of James Logan-Union City, in the tournament quarterfinals. The NCS runner-up to Rodriguez, Mikayla Guevarra of Amador Valley-Pleasanton, is the No. 3 seed. Also keep an eye on freshman standout and CCS champ Kiely Tabaldo of Menlo-Atherton.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Hailey Ward, Turlock

SJS Girls Wrestling champion, Hailey Ward of Turlock. (Ike Dodson photo)

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106

THE RUNDOWN: Andre Gonzalez of Poway is the heavy favorite after placing third at the same weight last season. Michael Torres (No. 3 seed) is enjoying a breakout sophomore season for Oakdale after wrestling above his weight in the 2019 postseason. His path to the finals includes increasingly difficult challenges, potentially including No. 14 Adrian Ledezma (Roosevelt-Los Angeles), No. 6 Dominic Mendez (Righetti-Santa Maria) or No. 11 Clarence Moore (Gilroy). Three wins will put Torres into the CIF semifinals — likely against No. 2 Raymond Lopez (Buchanan-Clovis) — guaranteeing a top-6 medal. Lopez pinned Torres in the finals of the Doc Buchanan, where Torres was a surprising entry. It was the weekend that vaulted Torres’ prestige this year.

NORCAL’S BEST: Torres. He’s got the highest ranking of any Mustang wrestler and should medal in this field.

DARK HORSE: SJS runner-up Isaiah Medina (PICTURED AT TOP w/ Michael Torres) is a strong No. 5 here, earning that spot with a one-point win over Mendez at The Battle for the Belt, but a top-5 seed isn’t much of a dark horse. Look out for Moore, who rolled through the CCS tournament with five consecutive pins. 

FINAL 106 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Michael Torres, So., Oakdale (SJS)

2 (2) Isaiah Medina, So., Vacaville (SJS)

3 (3) Clarence Moore, Fr., Gilroy (CCS)

4 (4) Bobby Cuevas Sr., So., De La Salle-Concord (NCS)

5 (6) Nick Trave, Jr., Petaluma (NCS)

6 (7) Johnathon Fredrickson, So., Windsor (NCS)

7 (13) Ethan Ward, Fr., Turlock (SJS)

8 (8) Kevin Lopez, So., Elk Grove (SJS)

9 (9) Julio Bautista, Sr., Folsom (SJS)

10 (5) Johnathon Nguyen, Jr., Tokay-Lodi (SJS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (106)

Windsor’s NCS champion, sophomore Carmen Perez, picked up the No. 3 seed despite escaping narrow decisions in all four of her NCS matches last week. Expect a lot from Pitman-Turlock freshman Lily Avalos (No. 7), who upset the top seed at Masters in a 14-3 shellacking. 

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (111)

A returning bronze-medalist at 106, Davis junior Adrienna Turner is one of NorCal’s best at any weight. She is the No. 3 seed here. Artemisia Matera of Head Royce-Oakland won the NCS title to take the No. 4. Watch out for Elk Grove’s Sarah Null, who wrestled Turner tough in the Masters finale and is seeded No. 8.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Adrienna Turner, Davis

SJS Girls Wrestling Champion, Adrienna Turner of Davis. (Ike Dodson photo)

113

THE RUNDOWN: Central section wrestlers lord over this weight, starting with perhaps the biggest favorite of any weight class, undefeated two-time champion Richard Figueroa (Selma). His only real competition is the No. 2 seed, CS runner-up Joey Cruz (Clovis North-Fresno). It’s tough to beat someone that good over and over, and they’ve met three times already (3-2, 3-2, 5-0 decisions).

NORCAL’S BEST: Oakdale’s Brayden Abell and Zachary Thompson of Palma-Salinas snared No. 7 and 8 seeds, respectively, and would need some magic to make and survive quarterfinal matchups with Figueroa and Cruz. The two will likely have to win close matches in consolation just to make the podium.

NorCal Wrestling Rankings, Zack Thompson, Palma

CCS champion, Zach Thompson of Palma-Salinas. (Ike Dodson photo)

DARK HORSE: Vacaville’s Logan Valledor had a strong tournament at Masters, losing only to Abell, and by only two points. He didn’t earn a seed, and is a dangerous matchup for Thompson in the pigtail round Thursday.

FINAL 113 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Brayden Abell, Jr., Oakdale (SJS)

2 (2) Zachary Thompson, Jr., Palma-Salinas (CCS)

3 (4) Zack Fierro, Fr., Gilroy (CCS)

4 (6) Logan Valledor, So., Vacaville (SJS)

5 (3) Salahdin Farukh, Jr., Valley-Sacramento (SJS)

6 (5) Calvin Antonio, Jr., Evergreen Valley-San Jose (CCS)

7 (NR) Alex Rudkin, Fr., Chico (NS)

8 (8) Yousuf Zigan, Sr., Durham (NS)

9 (13) Talon Niimi, Fr., Granite Bay (SJS)

10 (NR) Jose Sanchez, Sr., Maria Carillo-Santa Rosa (NCS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (116)

One member of the sibling champion duo (with brother Evan), freshman Elena Ivaldi of Del Oro is the No. 3 at 116 after winning a tough bracket at Masters. The girl she edged 8-6 in last week’s finale, Folsom’s Desinee Lopez, is a returning state runner-up. Lopez is the No. 4 seed. James Logan freshman Carmella Foley, the NCS, champ eared a tough unseeded draw, but could impress. CCS champ Kaelyn Siason of Alvarez is the No. 8.

120

THE RUNDOWN: The top-two here bring four medals and three finals treks the bracket —Buchanan’s Carlos Negrete and Selma’s Tristan Lujan. Izzy Tubera of Pitman forfeited from the finals of Masters and only nabbed the No. 7 here, despite placing third at 113 last year. Tubera could see Lujan in the semis, who won the Tubera’s state bracket last year, beating Negrete (who lead’s 2020 matchups 2-1).

NORCAL’S BEST: It’s probably Tubera, if he’s healthy, but he hasn’t finished two straight tournaments, and will need to finish a bracket. Carter Bailey has also had a sensational season for Granada-Livermore, and picked up the No. 5 spot after winning the NCS with five straight pins. Bailey should get Richard Sandoval of Santa Ynez in the quarters. Sandoval won the last matchup, 6-0 at the Doc Buchanan.

DARK HORSE: Johnathon Hernandez of Oakdale is an unknown in this bracket. The freshman picked up a forfeit in the Masters finals and is unseeded at state. He can make a big statement by upsetting No. 9 Hayden Zinkin of Clovis North in Thursday’s pigtail.

FINAL 120 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Izzy Tubera, Sr., Pitman-Turlock (SJS)

2 (2) Carter Bailey, Jr., Granada-Livermore (NCS)

3 (3) Ryan Luna, So., St. Francis-Mountain View (CCS)

4 (4) Mike Bigler, Sr., Archbishop Riordan-S.F. (CCS)

5 (7) Jonathon Hernandez, Fr., Oakdale (SJS)

6 (6) Dylan Maples, Jr., Bella Vista-Fair Oaks (SJS)

7 (8) Harrison Nguyen, Sr., Evergreen Valley (CCS)

8 (10) Keola Abreau, Jr. Yuba City (SJS)

9 (NR) Casey Roberts, Fr., Vacaville (SJS)

10 (NR) Russell Nickerson, Jr., Quincy (NS)

WEIGHTS 121-145

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (121)

Returning state champ Jennifer Soto of Orland impressed at Masters and said she is excited for state. She’s the first NorCal girl to earn the top seed, and while it won’t be easy, should defend her crown. She could see NCS champion Mikaela Troche of Newark Memorial in the quarters.

126

THE RUNDOWN: This weight is a near-lock for Buchanan with two-time champion Maximo Renteria looming in the top-half. No. 2 seed Jason Miranda (Poway) fell to him 7-2 earlier this year, and No. 3 Wayne Joint was bested 7-1 last week in the CS finals.

NORCAL’S BEST: Jayden Gomez will return to the state tournament for the first time since he placed fifth as a freshman in 2018. Gomez was a surprising injury default from the CCS finals, but he’s still seeded fifth. Del Oro’s Damion Elliott (No. 6) landed a clutch win over Will Giron of Turlock to win Masters last week and will hope to meet and upset Joint in the quarters. It would be the biggest win of his career.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Damion Elliott, Del Oro

SJS champion, Damion Elliott of Del Oro. (Ike Dodson photo)

DARK HORSE: Giron picked up the No. 10 seed and could excel here. The senior is a four-time state qualifier who already medaled once (eighth in 2018).

FINAL 126 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Jayden Gomez, Jr., Gilroy (CCS)

2 (2) Damion Elliott, So., Del Oro (SJS)

3 (3) William Giron, Sr., Turlock (SJS)

4 (4) Clayton Bashor, Jr., Oakdale (SJS)

5 (5) Erik Almarinez, So., Vacaville (SJS)

6 (9) Connor Edwards, Sr., West Valley-Cottonwood (NS)

7 (6) Billy Thornton, Sr., Sutter (NS)

8 (7) Adam Arenas, Sr., Lincoln-San Jose (CCS)

9 (13) Julian Victoria, Jr., Dublin (NCS)

10 (15) Tyler Maples, Sr., Bella Vista-Fair Oaks (SJS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (126)

Perhaps the best bet for a CCS state champion is Adaugo Nwachukwu of Silver Creek-San Jose, a returning medalist (fourth), who dropped weight to tackle 126. She beat Jocelyn Fierro of Gilroy in last week’s CCS finals. Alisha Narvaez of James Logan, the NCS champion, is the No. 3 seed. Orland’s Madison Fonseca won the SJS and is seeded eighth. 

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH  (131)

Maya Letona (Silver Creek) won two close matches to close out the CCS bracket. Shawntel Copple of Las Plumas won a solid bracket at the SJS Masters and is seeded No. 8 here. The NCS champion, Desirea Tauluuluu-Spadini of Antioch, didn’t get a seed. She could best the No. 6 seed in the second round.

132

THE RUNDOWN: Aaron Nagao of Esperanza figures to lock up his fourth CIF medal and second straight gold by winning this bracket. He’s heavily favored, though Buchanan’s Hunter Leake, the No. 2 seed, would surprise few with an upset in the finals. Two-time runner-up Ryan Franco of Clovis North dropped a one-point match to Leake in the CS finals last week and is a stout No. 3 seed.

NORCAL’S BEST: Turlock’s Adrian Heras has medal intentions, but his path included Franco, who pinned him and beat him in overtime this year. Heras was an excellent SJS champion and should find a way to medal.

Adrian Heras, Turlock Wrestling

SJS champion, Adrian Heras of Turlock. (Ike Dodson photo)

DARK HORSE: Joseph Orlando of Bellarmine-San Jose, nearly unknown a week ago, stunned the CCS field last week by upsetting Gilroy standout Nathan Aguilar in the semifinals before winning the CCS. He can continue the surprising trend by beating big names this weekend.

FINAL 132 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Adrian Heras, Sr., Turlock (SJS)

2 (2) Eli Blackwell, Sr., Tracy (SJS)

3 (NR) Joseph Orlando, Sr., Bellarmine Prep (CCS)

4 (4) Christian Antonio, Jr., Evergreen Valley (CCS)

5 (3) Nathan Aguilar, Jr., Gilroy (CCS)

6 (5) Dallas Stevens, Jr., Gridley (NS)

7 (6) Lucas Olives, Vista del Lago (SJS)

8 (8) Callum Kremer, Sr., Chester (NS)

9 (12) Gavin Fernandez, Fr., De La Salle (NCS)

10 (7) Anthony Urrea, Jr., Lincoln-Stockton (SJS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (137)

Senior transfer Faalia Martinez (Central Catholic-Modesto) has wrestled well without the Oakdale garb. She won the SJS Masters convincingly and will look to improve upon her third-place medal from the No. 1 spot in this weight. Joanna Qiu of Albany was fourth last year (losing to Martinez), and earned the third seed this weekend by winning the NCS. CCS champ Eleni Fakaosi of Lincoln-San Jose is unseeded. She could see Martinez is her second match.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Faalia Martinez, Central Catholic

SJS Girls Wrestling champions, Faalia Martinez of Central Catholic. (Ike Dodson photo)

138

THE RUNDOWN: Former Oakdale star Henry Porter, having already bagged a silver and bronze at state, is looking for gold this year. He is seeded third because of two one-point losses to No. 2 Isaac Salas of St. John Bosco. Since No. 1 Alex Ramirez of Rowland has beaten Salas twice, Porter will likely need to avenge those losses to Salas in order to reach the title match.

NORCAL’S BEST: Porter has been here before. He is the only wrestler in this bracket with a top-6 CIF medal and can win this weight with a good weekend of scrambling.

DARK HORSE: Del Oro’s Evan Ivaldi, the SJS champion, is a dangerous No. 8 here. He landed the only pin in last week’s finals, a feat he managed in under a minute. If he gets Ramirez, he won’t be looking to work from consolation.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Evan Ivaldi, Del Oro

SJS champion, Evan Ivaldi of Del Oro. (Ike Dodson photo)

FINAL 138 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Henry Porter, Jr., Gilroy (CCS)

2 (2) Evan Ivaldi, Jr., Del Oro (SJS)

3 (3) Basil Othman, Sr., Benicia (NCS)

4 (4) Kyle Botelho, Sr., Burlingame (CCS)

5 (7) Bryan Null, Sr., Cosumnes Oaks-Elk Grove (SJS)

6 (8) Ammar Khan, Fr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS)

7 (5) Willie Ward-Williams, Sr., Golden Valley (SJS)

8 (9) Bonner Montgomery, Sr., Chester (NS)

9 (13) Trevor Monroe, Sr., Ponderosa (SJS)

10 (15) Tyler Diaz, Jr., East Union (SJS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (143)

CCS champion Emmily Patneaud picked up the third seed after an overtime finals win over Fremont’s Annie Hua, now seeded No. 6. They could see a third-round rematch. Ripon sophomore Katelynn Cardoza, the No. 8 seed, was an impressive SJS Masters champion.

145

THE RUNDOWN: One of the toughest brackets in the state, this weight contains three-time champion Jesse Vasquez on a quest to make history as only the fourth four-time winner of the event. (Seth Nevills of Clovis did that in 2018, Justin Mejia of Clovis did it in 2017 and Darrell Vasquez of Bakersfield was the first in 2002). Until San Marino’s Luka Wick (injury) was removed from the CIF bracket, this weight also contained a whopping five medalists.

NorCal’s best: Del Oro’s Eli Blake, twice seventh at state, has that same seed, after losing to Oakdale’s Ceasar Garza in the SJS finale. Garza landed an overtime takedown and will compete from the No. 6 seed this weekend. Garza lost just 3-0 to No. 2 seed Aaron Gandara of Poway and should medal here. Blake can do the same, but he probably has Gandara in the quarters.

Oakdale Wrestling, Cesar Garza

SJS champion, Cesar Garza of Oakdale. (Ike Dodson photo)

DARK HORSE: The Northern Section has a star in unseeded Orland sophomore Brayden Schumann, who landed No. 8 seed Oscar Aranda of St. John Bosco in his opening match. He could mix things up early.

FINAL 145 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (2) Ceasar Garza, So., Oakdale (SJS)

2 (1) Eli Blake, Sr., Del Oro-Loomis (SJS)

3 (3) Adar Schwarzbach, Jr., Palo Alto (CCS)

4 (4) Donte Lopez, So., Gilroy (CCS)

5 (5) Timothy Cowan, So., Livermore (NCS)

6 (14) Vincent Olivera, Sr., Bella Vista (SJS)

7 (8) Jackson King, Jr., Lincoln-Stockton (SJS)

8. (NR) Skyler Moore, Sr., Del Norte (NCS)

9. (11) Brayden Schumann, So., Orland (NS)

10. (9) Alex Rudkin, Jr., Chico (NS)

WEIGHTS 150-182

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (150)

The No. 1 girl in California should capture her second state gold in as many attempts. Pitman’s Lily Freitas is helping grow the sport and she will look to gobble up another CIF accolade on her path to national and international acclaim.

152

THE RUNDOWN: Seen on video recently sparring with UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov (not be confused with UFC fighter and Gilroy coach Daniel Cormier), Chase Saldate is the elite of this weight, and is undefeated on the season. He won the CCS finals with a 58-second pin and spent only 3:34 on the mat throughout the tournament. Two-time medalist Sonny Santiago of St. John Bosco is the No. 2 here and returning runner-up Tyler Badgett of Rancho Bernardo is the No. 3.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Chase Saldate, Gilroy

CCS champion, Chase Saldate of Gilroy. (Doug Stringer photo)

NORCAL’S BEST: Saldate is NorCal’s best bet for CIF gold. NCS champ Cole Sanchez (No. 8, Northgate), No. 9 Jed Campos (Del Oro) and Seth Borba (Oakdale) also have medal potential. Campos upset Borba for the SJS title last week. Northern Section winner Rocky Raby is also tough here, and seeded No. 7.

DARK HORSE: Dispatched to the No. 10 seed after a loss to Campos, Borba is a stout matchup for Raby, one of the Northern Section’s best at any weight. The winner of their potential second-round match is a dangerous wrestler for Santiago to manage. Lots of upset potential.

FINAL 152 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Chase Saldate, Sr., Gilroy (CCS)

2 (3) Rocky Raby, Sr., West Valley-Cottonwood (NS)

3 (4) Cole Sanchez, Sr., Northgate-Walnut Creek (NCS)

4 (5) Jed Campos, Jr., Del Oro (SJS)

5 (2) Seth Borba, Jr., Oakdale (SJS)

6 (9) Shane Hoffman, Jr., Del Campo (SJS)

7 (6) Zion Maghoney, Sr., Enochs-Modesto (SJS)

8 (7) Isaiah Ontiveros, Sr., Pitman (SJS)

9 (8) Mario Franco, Jr., De La Salle (NCS)

10 (12) Josh Provins, Jr. Roseville (SJS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (160)

Ariana Pereira of Neward Memorial is expected to bring home a CIF title for the NCS after winning her bracket last week. She was runner-up a year ago at the same weight. Her NCS rival, Francesca LoPresti of Albany, is the No. 2 seed after their 12-4 battle last week. LoPresti was a CIF bronze medalist in 2019. 

160

THE RUNDOWN: This should be the year for two-time qualifier and returning runner-up Cael Valencia of St. John Bosco. The top seed is undefeated on the season and won the Southern Section by beating No. 2 seed Andrew Sparks of Calvary Chapel 5-1. Sparks previously lost just 6-5 in that matchup.

NORCAL’S BEST: After winning the SJS Masters, Kendall LaRosa is in great shape with the No. 5 seed at state. He can guarantee a medal by winning his first three matches, starting with former Oakdale product Micah Porter, a freshman now at Gilroy. Trent Silva of Windsor, the NCS champion, is the No. 6 seed, looking to upset No. 3 Max Wilner of Fountain Valley in the quarterfinals.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Kendall DeLaRosa, Pitman

SJS champion, Kendall LaRosa of Pitman. (Ike Dodson photo)

DARK HORSE: Not exactly snubbed at No. 7, Marcos Jimenez of Evergreen Valley was the CCS champion and he hasn’t lost a single match to a California opponent. He will look to continue that trend this weekend. Porter, unseeded, could also surprise with some wins at this weight.

FINAL 160 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Marcos Jimenez, Sr., Evergreen Valley (CCS)

2 (2) Kendall LaRosa, Sr., Pitman (SJS)

3 (3) Trent Silva, Jr.,. Windsor (NCS)

4 (4) Hassan Khan, Sr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS)

5 (5) Braumon Creighton, So., Palo Alto (CCS)

6 (6) Micah Porter, Fr., Gilroy (CCS)

7 (7) Erik Johnson, Jr., Vista del Lago (SJS)

8 (NR) Mason Wilcox, Sr., Granite Bay (SJS)

9 (NR) Darin Guerrero, So., De La Salle (NCS)

10 (NR) Aaron Hernandez, So., Durham (NS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (170)

Only one NorCal girl managed a top-8 seed, NCS champion Samantha Calkins (Liberty-Brentwood), at No. 6. CCS winner Erika Perez (Salinas) and SJS winner Valarie Osborne (Oakdale) are unseeded. Osborne can essentially steal the No. 7 seed from her first match while Perez should see the No. 3 seed in her second match. Calkins was a three-match winner at state last year.

170

THE RUNDOWN: Three-time medalist Giano Petrucelli (Clovis) is looking to make his fourth his first gold. He has five other medalists in his bracket looking for the same, starting with CS runner-up Joseph Martin of Buchanan, who Petrucelli beat 3-0 last week. JT Stinson of tiny East Nicolaus in the Northern Section is the No. 3 seed here, and hasn’t lost to anyone in this bracket this year. 

JT Stinson, East Nicolaus

Northern Section champion, JT Stinson (center) of East Nicolaus. (Stinson Family photo)

NORCAL’S BEST: Stinson has been sensational is his last several appearances. The former 7th (for Del Oro) and 5th place CIF medalist is gunning for the finals, and he can make it by staying sharp in a stacked bracket. NCS champ Tate Bossert (Las Lomas-Walnut Creek) is also seeded eighth.

DARK HORSE: Oakmont’s Sean Myles, previously No. 9 in CA, lost a decision to Elk Grove’s Ledgar Petracek in the SJS finale, paving way for a 12-seed and potential second-round meeting with No. 5 Alex Hernandez of Poway. It’s a difficult, but winnable match.

FINAL 170 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) JT Stinson, Sr., East Nicolaus (NS)     

2 (2) Tate Bossert, Sr., Las Lomas-Walnut Creek (NCS)

3 (8) Ledgar Petracek, Sr., Elk Grove (SJS)

4 (3) Sean Myles, Jr., Oakmont (SJS)

5 (4) Isaac Morris, Sr., Castro Valley (NCS)

6 (NR) Chad Sakamoto, Sr., Gilroy (CCS)

7 (5) Zane Hake, Sr., Bellarmine Prep (CCS)

8 (11) Jacob Barquet, Sr., Whitney (SJS)

9 (7) Benicio Martinez, Sr., Orland (NS)

10 (6) Coulter Malone, Sr., Vacaville (SJS)

182

THE RUNDOWN: No. 1 Nathan Haas of St. John Bosco returns to rule this weight after winning the title 2019. His top competition are returning medalists Joseph Curtis (No. 2, La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad), No. 3 Javen Jovero (Rancho Bernardo) and No. 5 Jadon Martin (Buchanan). Porterville’s Tyler Avila beat Martin 10-5 last week in the CS finals and is seeded fourth as well.

NORCAL’S BEST: The No. 6 at this weight is Kodiak Stephens of Bret Harte. He has the best name in the bracket and has a sudden-victory defeat to Martin. Stephens cruised through the SJS bracket last week. The CCS also has three tough kids at this weight, No. 9 Thomas Milhot (Los Gatos), No. 10 Thomas Rawls (St. Francis-Mountain View) and No. 12 Dezi Ray Johnson (Santa Clara). They finished in that order last week.

DARK HORSE: Hilmar doesn’t enter in a lot of high-level tournaments. It’s why Efrain Duenas was such a shocking bronze medalist last week at the SJS Masters. He probably won’t win his first match at state (he drew Martin), but he could do some work in consolation. Northern Section champ Jodeah Wilson of Foothill-Palo Cedro could also win a few upsets here.

FINAL 182 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Kodiak Stephens, Jr., Bret Harte-Angels Camp (SJS)

2 (4) Thomas Mailhot, Sr., Los Gatos (CCS)

3 (2) Carlsten Rawls, Jr., St. Francis-Mountain View (CCS)

4 (3) Dezi Johnson, So., Santa Clara (CCS)

5 (6) Jodeah Wilson, Jr., Foothill-Palo Cedro (NS)

6 (5) Cade Lambert, Sr., West Valley (NS)

7 (9) Daniel DeSota, Sr., California (NCS)

8 (10) Ian Richardson, Jr., Granada (NCS)

9 (7) Andrew Hamant, Sr., College Park (NCS)

10 (12) Talwinder Malhi, Jr., Pitman (SJS)

WEIGHTS 189-285

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (189)

Alia Abushi of Arroyo-San Lorenzo, the NCS champion, is expected to win this weight after claiming the 170-pound CIF title last year. She won a stacked NCS bracket that includes No. 5 and 6 seeds, Aracely Rendon-Gomez of Eureka and Hollie Espinoza of Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park. SJS champion Alexa Garcia of Sierra-Manteca has the tools to take herself to the finals in this weight as well.

CIF Wrestling Preview, Alexa Garcia, Sierra

SJS Girls Wrestling champion, Alexa Garcia of Sierra-Manteca. (Ike Dodson photo)

195

THE RUNDOWN: This weight is up for grabs, as each wrestler in the top five carries a loss to at least one of the others. Southern Section champion Guillermo Escobedo of Los Altos picked up the No. 1 after beating No. 3 Tristen Wilson of Servite-Anaheim. No. 2 Tyler Gianakopulos of Clovis beat No. 4 Felipe Rodriguez of Clovis West in the CS finals. 

NORCAL’S BEST: Donovan Giangregorio of Calaveras won SJS Masters and is the No. 6 seed. He can lock a top-6 medal by beating Wilson in his third match. SJS runner-up Kaden West is also the No. 9 seed.

DARK HORSE: Northern Section champ Max Gipson was held from a seed, despite winning three matches at state last year and making his third trek to Bakersfield. It’s a matchup that should concern No. 7 Trevor Tinker of Northview, who could get Gipson in round No. 2.

FINAL 195 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Donovan Giangregorio, Jr., Calaveras (SJS)

2 (2) Max Gipson, Sr., Sutter (NS)

3 (3) Kaden West, Sr., Oak Ridge (SJS)

4 (6) Frankie Pomilia, Sr., Ukiah (NCS)

5 (4) Lance Hackett, Sr., De La Salle (NCS) 

6 (5) Callen Ivy, Sr., San Leandro (NCS)

7 (8) Olandis Mathes, Sr., Carmel (CCS)

8 (10) Joel Lopez, Sr., Orland (NS)

9 (11) Elias Mendoza, Jr., Granite Bay (SJS)

10 (12) Carlos Jimenez, Sr., Evergreen Valley (CCS)

220

THE RUNDOWN: This is the only weight with a projected all-NorCal finale, and it has roots in the first tournament of the year, when Durham’s Jacob Christensen (No. 1) outlasted Elk Grove’s Peter Ming (No. 2) in a 2-1 decision. Neither has lost to a California opponent since. Southern Section champion Brandon Leon of Roosevelt-Eastvale and Central Section champ Justin Darter of Bakersfield are the 3 and 4 seeds here.

Peter Ming, Elk Grove, Wrestling

SJS Masters runner-up, Peter Ming of Elk Grove. (Ike Dodson photo)

NORCAL’S BEST: The SJS is loaded at this weight, and could win several medals if the wresters don’t cancel each other out in consolation. Look out for No. 6 Juan Mora (Pitman), No. 9 Zach Brooks (Davis), No. 10 Matt Kovalskiy (Folsom) and No. 11 Eric Hayward (Vacaville).

DARK HORSE: Brooks is an ox. He’s tough to move and could be troubling for No. 8 Jalen Peralta of Buchanan in the second round. Hughson’s Carson Hatch was the sixth qualifier from the SJS and could be good for an upset here as well. CCS No. 3 Nate Fernandez (Monte Vista Christian-Watsonville) is also a tough unseeded wrestler. He could see Christensen in round No. 2.

FINAL 220 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (1) Jacob Christiansen, Jr., Durham (NS)

2 (2) Peter Ming, Sr., Elk Grove (SJS)

3 (3) Juan Mora, Jr., Pitman (SJS)

4 (4) Zachary Brooks, Jr., Davis (SJS)

5 (5) Matt Kovalskiy, Jr., Folsom (SJS)

6 (6) Eric Hayward, Sr., Vacaville (SJS)

7 (7) Joshua Cortez, Jr., Gilroy (CCS)

8 10 Raymond Russel, Sr., Archbishop Riordan (CCS)

9 (NR) Frankie Pomilla, Sr., Ukiah (NCS)

10 (9) Nate Fernandez, Jr., Monte Vista Christian-Watsonville (CCS)

NORCAL GIRLS TO WATCH (235)

Elk Grove’s Annika Miles could make the finals here after winning the SJS Masters in a 3-0 finale over Cassidy Curtiss of Tokay-Lodi (unseeded). NCS champ Danika Scott of Del Norte-Crescent City is also seeded No. 3 and NCS runner-up Lilly McCoy of Casa Grande-Pealuma is the No. 4 seed.

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THE RUNDOWN: It’s a great year for heavyweights. Bakersfield Josiah Hill is seeded first here, but this is anyone’s weight. Vacaville’s Chris Island could take the bracket after claiming the No. 3 seed with a 5-3 win over No. 5 Lucas Cook (Lincoln) in the SJS finals. Cook, Island and No. 2 Nicholas Villarreal of Gilroy (second last year) should represent NorCal well.

NORCAL’S BEST: NorCal could put three in the semifinals. Villarreal has the most prestige but Island is enjoying the biggest recent win, and like Villarreal, has only been beaten by Hill. Cook said he wants the title and nothing else, so he probably will need to beat No. 4 Malachi Lyles of Mayfair, the Southern Section Champ, and Hill, to reach the finale.

DARK HORSE: NCS champion Jack Faris of Casa Grande (No. 13) has enjoyed a good season and could meet Lyles in the second round. It’s a winnable match after his 10-5 win over De La Salle’s Ben Roe in the finals last week.

FINAL 285 TOP 10 NORCAL RANKS

1 (2) Chris Island, Sr., Vacaville (SJS)

2 (1) Nicholas Vilarreal, Sr., Gilroy (CCS)

3 (3) Lucas Cook, Sr., Lincoln-Lincoln (SJS)

4 (7) TJ Takafua, So., Fremont-Sunnyvale (CCS)

5 (8) Jack Faris, Sr., Casa Grande-Petaluma (NCS)

6 (9) Ben Roe, Sr., De La Salle (NCS)

7 (10) Dillon Bailey, Sr., Corning (NS)

8 (11) Andreas Argumedo, Jr., Monterey Trail-Elk Grove (SJS)

9 (13) Caleb Hunter, Jr., Freedom-Oakley (NCS)

10 (NR) Attila Sides, Sr., Johansen (SJS)

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