Six seniors from the valley punched their tickets to the CIF State Boys Wrestling Championships next weekend in Bakersfield, but they were outshined by a junior who took down California’s top-ranked wrestler in his weight class, putting him in prime position for a state title.
Palm Desert’s Anthony Mantanona defeated Calvary Chapel senior Jeremy Thomas in a tightly-contested 3-2 decision in the 170-pound finals on Saturday in Ontario at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario for a CIF Southern Section Masters Meet title. Mantanona highlighted the list of five Aztecs who will be making the trip to Bakersfield next Friday and Saturday. Joining them will be two fellow-DVL opponents from La Quinta who also finished in the top nine in their weight classes to qualify for state.
As a team, the Aztecs finished fourth as a team with 106 points, behind San Marino (136), Northview (139.5) and champion Calvary Chapel (146.5). The Blackhawks tied with Downey for 17th with 39 points.
Palm Desert’s Brandon Claiborne (160 pounds) and La Quinta’s Joel Avila (120 pounds) both fell in their championship matches to settle for second place. Claiborne fell to Mantanona’s opponent’s brother, Justin Thomas, 8-4, while Avila lost 8-6 to Northview’s Richie Casillas.
Aztecs Billy Weaver (138 pounds) and Reece Galvan (132 pounds) will both be making return trips to the state meet after appearances a year ago, with Weaver taking fourth on Saturday and Galvan placing sixth.
La Quinta’s Joseph Valdez (sixth, 152 pounds) and Palm Desert’s Gabe Herrera (eighth, 285 pounds) round out the state-bound seven, outpacing the four the valley sent to the state meet a year ago.
CIF State Girls’ Wrestling Championships: Coachella Valley’s Destiny Salinas took eighth place in the 116-pound division at the state wrestling meet on Saturday. After winning her first match on Friday, Salinas dropped her second round bout, but won three in-a-row before a loss to Rory Coscia.
Rancho Mirage’s Monica Kezis alternated wins and losses to finish 2-2 this weekend at 101 pounds, and Shadow Hills’ Caitlin Cardenas lost her first two matches and was eliminated in the 126-pound bracket.
2016 CIF State Boys’ Wrestling Championships
When: March 4-5
Where: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield
Schedule: Wrestlers will compete in opening rounds all day Friday starting at 9 a.m. Consolation rounds begin Saturday at 9 a.m. with the finals starting at 7 p.m.
Qualified local wrestlers:
120 pounds: Joel Avila, La Quinta, senior
132 pounds: Reece Galvan, Palm Desert, senior
138 pounds: Billy Weaver, Palm Desert, senior
152 pounds: Joseph Valdez, La Quinta, senior
160 pounds: Brandon Claiborne, Palm Desert, senior
170 pounds: Anthony Mantanona, Palm Desert, junior
285 pounds: Gabe Herrera, Palm Desert, senior