Wrestling State Championships Preview: Road Through Rabobank

Wrestling State Championships Preview: Road Through Rabobank

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Wrestling State Championships Preview: Road Through Rabobank

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The California state wrestling championships add new meaning to the phrase “March Madness.”

If the draw for each weight class seems random, that’s because it mostly is random.

Each draw uses a different formula to set up its bracket. Measures are taken to ensure the top wrestlers don’t face each other early on, but there is only minimal method to the madness.

With 560 competitors representing more than 250 high schools, conducting a seeding meeting for one of the country’s rare single-division state championships would be a lengthy, political nightmare.

Simply using rankings from The California Wrestler, widely considered the authority on California high school wrestling, would grant too much power to too few people.

So we are stuck with this beautiful mess that puts Porterville’s Mason Pengilly, the state’s top ranked wrestler at 120 pounds, in the first round of pigtails while granting first round byes to wrestlers like Exeter’s Kyle Jones, who was unranked at 145 pounds all season until qualifying for the tournament.

Here is a more detailed look at the state tournament draws facing each of the 16 Tulare County wrestlers this weekend in Bakersfield. Visit my blog at http://blogs.visaliatimesdelta.com/kukla to see the full map of the road through Rabobank Arena with complete brackets and a detailed schedule of events.

I will provide live updates from Rabobank Arena both days via an interactive blog on our main website at www. VisaliaTimesDelta.com. Come join the conversation.

Doors open for general admission at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The action starts at 9 a.m. both days. Quarterfinals start at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s semifinals start at 9:30 a.m. Doors open for general admission to Saturday’s finals at 6 p.m. with the action starting at 7:15 p.m.

Note: Rankings from The California Wrestler.

106: Monache’s Matt Gamble (No. 5) received a first round bye and faces the winner of No. 16 Nico Colunga (Oakdale) and No. 32 Michael Rangel (La Habra). Colunga won the Valley Oak League and Sac Joaquin Section Division 4 before finishing third at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters. Rangel won the Freeway League, took third in the Southern Section Southern Division and placed ninth at the Southern Section Masters.

Gamble would then face the winner of No. 21 Morgan Sauseda (Chico) and No. 33 Jose Espinoza (Paloma Valley) in the Round of 16. Sauseda finished second in the Eastern Athletic League but won the Northern Section Division 1 and Northern Section Masters. Espinoza took second in the Southern Section Inland Division before placing eighth at the Southern Section Masters.

No. 9 Julian Gaytan (Clovis) is the highest ranked wrestler Gamble could meet in the quarterfinals. Gamble beat Gaytan 5-0 in the Central Section Masters consolation semifinals last Saturday at Mt. Whitney and 7-2 at the Yosemite Divisional tournament.

106: Redwood’s Joey Cisneros (No. 8) received a first round bye. He faces No. 38 Michael Briscoe (Plesant Valley) in the second round, but will likely meet No. 1 ranked Gionn Peralta (Vacaville) in the Round of 16. Peralta swept through the post season with first place finishes in the Monticello Empire League, Sac Joaquin Division 1AA and Sac Joaquin Masters. He took third at state in 2012 and eighth in 2011. He did, however, wrestle most of 2013 at 113 pounds. Competing against the state’s elite at a lighter weight could be challenging.

No. 4 Alfredo Espinoza (Otay Ranch) is the highest ranked wrestler Cisneros could meet if he advances to the quarterfinals. He is another athlete wrestling down after starting the season at 120 pounds, cutting to 113 and competing in the postseason at 106. Espinoza won the Metro Conference and San Diego Division I, but took third at the San Diego Section Masters. He finished seventh at state in 2011 while winning the San Diego Section Masters each of the past two years.

106: Porterville’s Javier Jimenez (No. 13) did not receive a bye or a favorable draw. He faces No. 6 Tirso Lara (Poway) during the first round. Lara won San Diego Division II and finished second at the San Diego Section Masters.

If Jimenez advances he stands a good chance to get by second round opponent Jose Licea (Caruthers), who finished three spots behind him at the Central Section Masters. No. 12 Jimmie Lopez (Christopher) would likely be waiting for him in the Round of 16. Lopez won the Monterey Bay League and the Central Coast Section Masters.

113: Redwood’s Isaiah Torres (No. 31) did not receive a bye and faces No. 39 Swain Wong (Galileo) in the first round. Wong won the San Francisco Section Masters. No. 5 Matt Smull (Shasta) waits for him in the second round. Smull swept through the postseason by winning the Northern Section League, Northern Section Division I and Northern Section Masters. He placed eighth at state in 2012.

120: Porterville’s Mason Pengilly (No. 1) did not receive a bye and faces No. 31 Zach Ruybal (Del Oro) in the first round. Ruybal won the Sierra Foothill League, took third in Sac Joaquin Division 1AA and placed seventh at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters.

No. 28 Joshua Abad (El Camino Real) waits for Pengilly in the second round. Abad won the LA City Regional and LA Section Masters.

He would then face the winner of No. 10 Sean Summers (St. Francis) and No. 34 Yoshi Funakoshi (West Torrance) in the Round of 16. Summers won the West Catholic Athletic League and took second at the Central Coast Masters. Funakoshi took second in the Southern Section Division and placed seventh at the Southern Section Masters.

No. 9 Ronnie Stevens (Oakdale) is the highest ranked wrestler Pengilly could face in the quarterfinals. Stevens won the Valley Oak League and Sac Joaquin Division 4 before taking second at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters.

120: Exeter’s Arnulfo Olea (No. 5) received a first round bye. He faces No. 30 Taylor Dial (Poway) in the second round, but will likely meet No. 2 ranked Isaiah Locsin (Live Oak) in the Round of 16. Locsin won the Blossom Valley Athletic League and captured his third consecutive Central Coast Section Masters title. He won a state title at 113 pounds in 2012 and finished second at state in 2011.

No. 7 Kasey Klaus (Vacaville) is the highest ranked wrestler Olea could face in the quarterfinals. He swept through the postseason by winning the Monticello Empire League, Sac Joaquin Division 1AA and Sac Joaquin Section Masters. This is his fourth consecutive trip to the state meet, although he has never medaled.

120: Monache’s Seth Hood (No. 27) received a first round bye and faces No. 20 Jeremy Thomas (Santiago) in the second round. Thomas, a freshman, won the Big VIII League, placed fourth in the Southern Section Northern Division and took second at the Southern Section Masters.

126: Monache’s Josh Sibayan (No. 16) received a first round bye and faces No. 22 Daniel Romero (Montclair) in the second round. Romero placed fourth at the Southern Section Eastern Division and fifth at the Southern Section Masters.

No. 7 Wyatt Wyckoff (Paradise) is the highest ranked wrestler Sibayan could face in the Round of 16. Wyckoff swept through the postseason by winning the Eastern Athletic League, Northern Section Division 1 and Northern Section Masters.

132: Porterville’s Abel Contreras (No. 13) received a first round bye. He faces No. 40 Chiluugin Tumurchurdur (Mission) in the second round but could meet any one of three ranked wrestlers in the Round of 16. No. 15 Trent Nicholson will face the winner of No. 22 Aaron Mora and No. 29 Justus Cervantes for the right to that spot.

No. 1 Aaron Pico (St. John Bosco) is the highest ranked wrestler Contreras could meet in the quarterfinals. The freshman won all the major tournaments he competed in this season including a sweep through the postseason with wins at the Southern Section Southern League and Southern Section Masters.

138: Porterville’s Martin Sandoval (No. 8) received a first round bye and faces No. 32 Mason Nystrom in the second round. No. 12 Joey Abbate (Central Catholic) is the highest ranked wrestler he could meet in the Round of 16. Abbate won the Western Athletic Conference and San Joaquin Section Division 4 before taking third at the San Joaquin Masters.

No. 11 Mario Lopez (Rowland) is the highest ranked wrestler Sandoval could face in the quarterfinals. Lopez, not to be confused with “Saved By The Bell’s” AC Slater, won the Southern Section Central Division before taking second at the Southern Section Masters.

145: Exeter’s Kyle Jones (No. 38) received a first round bye and faces No. 12 Ricky Padilla (Northview) in the second round matchup of sophomores. Padilla won the Valle Vista League and Southern Section Division before placing fourth at the Southern Section Masters.

152: Porterville’s Gregory Pagela (No. 13) received a first round bye and will likely face No. 6 Aaron Negrette (Calvary Chapel) in the second round. Negrette won the Southern Section Inland Division before finishing third at the Southern Section Masters.

No. 1 Shayne Tucker (Bella Vista) is the highest ranked wrestler Pagela could meet in the Round of 16. Tucker won San Joaquin Division II before capturing his third consecutive San Joaquin Section Masters title. He took second at state in 2012 at 138 pounds and fourth in 2011 at 130.

160: Dinuba’s Michael Wright (No. 16) did not receive a bye and faces No. 30 Brandon LeFore (Sobrato) in the first round. No. 3 Ray Lomas (Central Catholic) waits in the second round. Lomas won the Western Athletic Conference and San Joaquin Division IV before taking second at the San Joaquin Section Masters. He placed fifth at state in 2012.

182: Woodlake’s Nathan Mesa (No. 29) received a first round bye and faces No. 9 Chris Lai (Vacaville) in the second round. Lai won the Monticello Empire League and Sac Joaquin Division 1AA before placing third at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters.

195: Dinuba’s David Padilla (No. 25) received a first round bye and faces No. 26 Oscar Rios (Windsor) in the second round. Rios won the North Bay League and placed third in the North Coast Section Masters.

No. 3 Trevor Smith (Ripon) is the highest ranked wrestler Padilla could face in the Round of 16. Smith won the Sac Joaquin Section Division 5 and took second at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters. He placed sixth at state in 2012.

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