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Prep Wrestling: Victor Valley, Sultana set for showdown

The CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division Individual Championships team title may be decided by a couple of High Desert teams come Saturday night.

It’s only fitting as both the Mojave River League and Desert Sky League qualifiers will be competing at the tournament held at Oak Hills beginning today.

Victor Valley, fresh off a CIF-SS Div. 3 Dual Meet Championships title last week, and Sultana, ranked 14th in the state by thecaliforniawrestler.com, come in as the favorites. Sultana has five section-ranked wrestlers — three of whom are ranked in the top 18 in the state in their weight class and four ranked in the top six of the Southern Section — and Victor Valley also has four section-ranked wrestlers and three at the state level.

The Jackrabbits — who were the Coastal Division champions last year — had qualified their entire 14-man varsity team to the postseason, but 106-pounder Richard Ruiz was ruled academically ineligible. They will be vying to become the first High Desert team to win both the Duals and an Individual Championships team title in back-to-back years.

But Victor Valley coach C.T. Campbell said they aren’t focused on winning the team title, just trying to get wrestlers to advance to the CIF-SS Masters Meet being held Feb. 22-23 by placing in the top five.

“Every school has its studs. Everybody’s got good individuals,” Campbell said.

Sultana coach Rocky Humphrey said teams such as Beaumont, San Jacinto, Los Alamitos and Quartz Hill could also be in the hunt.

The Sultans are bringing 12 wrestlers — the same amount that Oak Hills qualified — and have won three Individual Divisional team titles in the last four seasons. Despite earning a berth into the CIF-SS Div. 1 Dual Meet Championships, Sultana stayed home last week.

“Our goal is to win the tournament as a team,” Humphrey wrote in an email. “We also want to qualify as many to the next step as possible.”

 Wrestling gets underway at 11 a.m. today and championship matches are slated for 5 p.m. Saturday.

C.J. Daft can be reached at christiand@vvdailypress.com or at (760) 951-6275.


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