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Prep Wrestling Masters Meet: Six HD wrestlers advance to state
TEMECULA • The Sultana wrestling team produced three out of the six High Desert state qualifiers and finished ninth as a team at the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet, which finished Saturday.
The Sultans’ Corey Griego (170 pounds) qualified on Friday by advancing to the semifinals, but placed sixth after defaulting his three matches Saturday for precautionary reasons, coach Rock Humphrey said. Griego tweaked his knee last week at the CIF-Southern Section Eastern Division Individual Championships.
After losing in the quarterfinals on Friday, senior Matthew Williams (182) won two matches by fall, one by technical fall and one by a 7-0 decision to place third. Junior Dylan Bollinger (195) also advanced, placing fourth.
Victor Valley qualified two wrestlers to the CIF State Wrestling Championships for the first time since 2009, and the Jackrabbits came in 19th as a team. Junior Blake Fifer (170) pulled out a 5-3 decision and senior Hector Ruvacalba (120) won by pin in each of their first consolation matches of the day to advance to state. Both then defaulted to eighth place.
Oak Hills senior Anthony Hernandez (195) qualified the hard way, winning the ninth-place bracket for the final qualifying spot from the Southern Section at his weight. In doing so, he avenged a first-round major decision loss to Pioneer Valley’s Roy Ruiz by pinning him in the placing match.
Oak Hills has qualified at least one wrestler to state in each of its four years of competition.
“He showed up like the Anthony we knew,” Oak Hills coach Dave Stidham said. “It was a nice way to end the tournament. If he wrestles like that, we know good things are going to happen.”
Two other High Desert wrestlers were alive to begin the day, but saw their state qualifying hopes end. Both Victor Valley senior Jonathan Oliveira (160) and Sultana junior Trent Smith (126) lost by one point to get sent to the ninth-place bracket. Oliveira decisioned his first opponent and then lost 12-10 to finish 10th, and Smith was pinned in first match of the bracket.
The CIF State Wrestling Championships will take place March 1-2 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, and the brackets are released today at www.cifstate.org.