Nine local wrestlers won gold medals at their respective league tournaments Saturday and are among 28 athletes from West, Kimball and Tracy high schools who will compete at the division level this weekend.
The top four wrestlers from each weight class in league competition move up to the division level.
Tri-City Athletic League
West High placed second at the Tri-City Athletic League meet Saturday with four gold medals and 164 points, behind league champion Tokay High.
West freshman Greg Viloria pinned Tokay High’s Darrin McCurry in 19 seconds in the championship match of the 106-pound bracket at McNair High in Stockton.
Viloria, who is ranked 15th in the state by The California Wrestler newsletter, said the victory was one step on the road to the California Interscholastic Federation championships March 7 and 8 in Bakersfield.
“Next week is going to be tough … because next week I’ll wrestle state-ranked guys, so we’ll see how that goes,” Viloria said. “I have to pull off a couple upsets if I want to place (at state).”
Also winning gold was West junior Angel Castillo (120), who won his third consecutive TCAL title when he pinned Florencio Bungulon of St. Mary’s High in 1:47 in the championship match.
West senior Carlos Vasquez (132) claimed a gold medal by beating Ernesto Barragan of Edison on a 7-2 decision in the final.
“I came in ready and prepared,” Vasquez said. “(Barragan) is very strong and very athletic, but the kid with the bigger heart wins, and I just wanted it a little more than he did.”
Antonio Orosco (145), also a West High senior, won a 7-4 decision over Mario Mendieta of Tokay in the final and took the gold. Orosco said his determination sprang from an earlier loss in their Jan. 16 dual match competition, which Mendieta won by decision.
“I had a lot of stamina,” Orosco said. “I kept going and going and didn’t stop. I knew I had to have the heart for this match.”
West’s second-place wrestlers were sophomore Isaiah Juan (138) and junior Patrick McDonald (152). Junior George Rivas (115) and sophomore Modesto Silvestre (128) both placed third, and senior Bob Lopez (285) placed fourth.
West is sending all nine of those wrestlers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I-AA tournament today and Saturday at Johansen High in Modesto. The top eight wrestlers there will go to the SJS Masters tournament Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Stockton Arena.
Valley Oak League
Kimball High collected three gold medals at the Valley Oak League tournament Saturday at Sonora High.
Senior Trent Nicholson (152) won all three of his matches with first-period pins to claim his third consecutive VOL individual gold medal.
Nicholson will now go after his third consecutive SJS Division IV title, which would qualify him for SJS Masters competition on Feb. 28 and 29, where he aims to qualify for his third trip to state competition.
"They should be tougher this weekend and after that," he said. "I'm hoping to place at state this year. Last chance, so I'm working hard to get there."
Junior Reese Chew (138) had two first-period pins on his way to gold. Chew placed second at the VOL tournament in his freshman and sophomore years.
Senior Matt Cooper (220) also won gold with a pin, a decision and a pin about a half-minute into his final match.
Second-place wrestlers from Kimball were sophomore Kainoa Caspillo (106) and senior Robbie Delgado (113). Senior Michael Stephens (132) placed third, and sophomore Matthew Jaurique (120), sophomore David Gonzalez (126) and senior Jeremiah Salud (160) all placed fourth.
All nine wrestlers are moving on to the SJS Division IV tournament today and Saturday at Vista Del Lago High in Folsom, where the top four will advance to the SJS Masters tournament Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Stockton Arena.
Coach Tyler Mullen said that both of Kimball’s second-place wrestlers, Caspillo and Delgado, lost to state-ranked wrestlers from Oakdale High and will be among the toughest competitors at the division meet.
Mullen noted that the Valley Oak League did not score the tournament. Oakdale is league champion by virtue of winning all its league dual matches.
San Joaquin Athletic Association
Tracy High finished in third place in the San Joaquin Athletic Association tournament with 185.5 points, behind league champion Lodi High (222) and second-place Lincoln High.
Tracy’s 10 division qualifiers include two league champions. Senior Alexander Warner (285) beat his opponent from Lodi on a 1-0 decision in the championship match.
Junior Zoheb Bafaiz (182) won gold when he pinned his opponent from Lincoln High in 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
Bafaiz said it was his first tournament after being out for most of the season with an ankle injury. He continued to practice with the team until he was ready to get back into competition.
"It was just getting back in the zone, focusing on getting my confidence up, not giving up," Bafaiz said.
Second-place wrestlers were junior Tomaz Landeros (152) and junior Noah Blackwell (160). Sophomore Alex Lopez (145) and junior Bryce Huckaby (170) won their third-place matches, and freshman Christian Rodrigeuz (106) claimed third place by forfeit. Fourth-place wrestlers were senior Robert Gouthro (138), sophomore Kevin Thompson (195) and senior James Faile (220).
They will all move on to the SJS Division I-A tournament today and Saturday at Elk Grove High. The top eight wrestlers at the tournament will qualify for the SJS Masters tournament Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Stockton Arena.
Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.