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HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: The SJS wrestling postseason begins with conference cakewalks

By: Ike Dodson of the Auburn Journal
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Sierra Foothill League seeds

Five divisional qualifiers

106: 1.Antonio Lorenzo (DO), 2. Shane Kumaratne (R), 3. Hap Rowe (NU), 4. Aiden Martinez (WC), 5. Reide Staples (F), 6.Payton Wilken (GB), 7. Zayne Beckman (OR)

113: 1.Angelo Martinoni (F), 2. Jared Horstman (OR), 3. Austin Valencia (WC), 4.Kole Browning (DO), 5. Ethan Tabaie (GB), 6. Ryan Clark (R)

120: 1.Michael Mello (OR), 2. Teague Dilbeck (GB), 3. Keaton Richards (NU), 4.Miguel Baldera (WC), 5. Victor Vo (F), 6. Jake Giovannoni (DO)

126: 1.Landon McBride (DO), 2. Jackson Redhair (OR), 3. Max Davis-Smith (F), 4. Logan Bik (R), 5.Kai Niimi (GB)

132: 1.Curtis Booth (F), 2. Angelo Uribe (GB), 3. Chase Patterson (DO), 4. Ricky Mello (OR), 5. Chris Martinez (WC), 6. Alexander Goyhenetche (R)

138: 1.Ryan Ojeda (DO), 2. Jack Ramalia (GB), 3. Jared Mica (F), 4. Daelin Wofford (OR), 5. Mitchell Herberger (R)

145: 1.Clay Shropshire (DO), 2.KalebReyes-Small (F), 3. Hunter Gonzalez (R), 4. Jack Santina (OR), 5. Matthew Ontiveros (GB)

152: 1.Noah Blake (DO), 2.Kashe McHugh (NU), 3. Jeff Skyrud (F), 4. Bobby Mello (OR), 5. Mason Kohls (GB), 6. BenSwitzer (WC), 7. Brian Horn (R)

160: 1.Israel Saavedra (GB), 2. Jason Berquist (F), 3. Willie Costanzo (DO), 4. Michael Kitton (WC), 5. Albert Bicocca (OR), 6. Brady Hole (R)

170: 1.Justin Burrage (DO), 2. Parker Wilken (GB), 3.Nick Diaz-Kokaisl (OR), 4. Nathan Cobleigh (OR), 5. Andrew Linsenbach (WC)

182: 1.Braedon Kavan (F), 2. Eddie Zamora (R), 3. Jordan Jensen (GB), 4. Sean Erickson (OR)

195: 1.Dylan Crane (F), 2. Preston Cobabe (OR), 3.Adam Lowe (DO), 4. Arshan Mizani (GB)

220: 1.Hunter Halverson (DO), 2. Mason Roush (F), 3. John Moestopo (OR), 4. Joe Young (GB), 5. Kris Sanchez (WC)

285: 1.Pablo Miller (DO), 2. Brysen Klinefelter (OR), 3. Eli Wood (F), 4.Brandon Anthony (GB)

Pioneer Valley League seeds

Four divisional qualifiers

106: 1.Noah Danieli (BR), 2. Nick Burns (L), 3. Ryan Carter (Ce)

113: 1. Clayton Anderson (BR), 2. Daniel Moon (P), 3. Yovanni Roman (L)

120: 1. Matthew Palancia (L), 2. Mark Medina (Ce), 3. Gavin Sweeney (P), 4. Stuart Werger (BR)

126: 1.Skyler Evans (L), 2. Cesar Tolosa (Ce), 3. Bryce Cook (P), 4. Micha Werner (BR)

132: 1.Caleb Welsh (L), 2.Bailey Bruno (Ce) 3. Jacob Rivett (BR), 4. Hunter Campbell (P)

138: 1. Chasse Peterson (F), 2. Jaden Martinez (L), 3. Isiah Means (Ce), 4. Christian Shelley (Co), 5. Hunter Daniels (BR)

145: 1. Ethan Murayama (Ce), 2. Tyler Eslinger (L), 3. Reid Johnson (BR), 4. Jacob Grim (P)

152: 1.Noah Graham (P), 2. Drew Engberson (BR), 3. Ramon Cardenas (L), 4. Hans Christensen (Ce)

160: 1. Daniel Moskyvch (F), 2. Travis Carpenter (BR), 3. Zenon Lopez (L), 4. Joey Valdez (P)

170: 1. Jared Graham (Ce), 2. Cooper Wilkins (P), 3. Zac Tremeraux (Co), 4. Isaiah Snell (F), 5.G’Angelo Hall (BR)

182: 1.Jonathan Good (BR), 2. Ryan Lopez (L), 3. Andrey Garbuzov (Ce), 4. Robbie Parsons (P)

195: 1. Isaac Qiokata (F), 2. Kyle Penney (P), 3. Malik Hughes (Ce)

220: 1.Wyatt Dornbush (L), 2. Paul Banks (P), 3. Justin Kilgore (BR), 4. Prentice Crowell (L)

285: 1.Davis Graham (L), 2. Igor Banar (F), 3. Corey Vincent (Ce)

California’s four-week individual prep wrestling postseason begins with league tournaments this weekend and culminates with the state championships in Bakersfield March 4 and 5.

While the journey is long and arduous, it begins with a bit of a “gimmie” for local Sac-Joaquin Section athletes.

Of the 124 wrestlers combined to represent 13 schools in both the D1 Sierra Foothill League and D4 Pioneer Valley League, only 10 will miss qualification to the Feb. 19 and 20 divisional championships, provided they merely make weight and avoid injury.

The SFL Tourney is slated for Saturday at Granite Bay High while Placer hosts the PVL Tourney in Auburn.

SFL

Since the SFL — regarded as the best conference in the section — qualifies five wrestlers to the Division I-AA Tournament in Stockton, 70 qualifications are up for grabs across the 14 weight classes. With only two weights occupied by a full lineup of Del Oro, Folsom, Granite Bay, Oak Ridge, Woodcreek, Rocklin and Nevada Union wrestlers, and three weights supporting just four participants, 43 wrestlers will nab a divisional ticket by winning their first match-up — with the locker room scales.

It’s a little awkward to narrow the field from 70 to 62, but SFL teams have a history of postseason success on the mat. The SFL has earned the right to be the only league in the section with five seeds to divisionals.

“In our wrestling advisory committee meeting, the SFL argued that they are the deepest and strongest league, and they have definitely proven that over the years with more section medalists and more guys making it to state from the SFL than any other league,” SJS Director of Communications Will DeBoard said. “The SFL was always strong, and then Folsom and Oak Ridge joined (in 2014) and made it an even stronger wrestling league.”

The open spots in league brackets have stymied the depth of competition, but DeBoard said the missing pieces can be linked to the difficulty of the sport.

“Wrestling is extremely popular with its fans, but it’s extremely tough to be a wrestler,” DeBoard said. “Sometimes you can’t field a full lineup because the sport is just so tough.”

A few of the SFL brackets, most notably at 120 and 152, still represent a real battle to qualify for the next stage of the postseason. One of Woodcreek’s best wrestlers, sophomore Ben Switzer, is seeded sixth at 152, despite qualifying for divisionals last year and placing in varsity tournaments for two years. Del Oro senior Jake Giovannoni, a staple in the Golden Eagles lineup, is also seeded sixth at 120.

The two will have to nab SFL upsets to move on.

“Our goal is to send the best kids to divisionals from league, the best kids to Masters from divisions and the best to state from Masters,” DeBoard said. “It would not surprise me to see all five guys from the SFL make it to Masters.”

Eight wrestlers will qualify from DI-AA to Masters.

PVL

The PVL, and Division IV in general, is in desperate need of some postseason vindication. Last year, D4 was the only division to send no wrestlers to the state tournament.

If performance at Masters was a strict guideline for Masters qualifications, the division would likely drop one of the four seeds it receives each year.

A paltry showing in PVL weight classes may not help. Since four wrestlers in each weight class move on to D4, and only 54 athletes populate PVL brackets, only two league wrestlers will be eliminated from Saturday’s tournament.

Colfax, unfortunately embattled with low numbers and inexperience, has its only two varsity wrestlers (Christian Shelley and Zac Tremeraux) in the only two weights that will force elimination (138 and 170). Despite several appearances on the California Wrestling Newsletter SJS rankings, Foothill has just five wrestlers.

Host Placer has 11 of the 14 weights occupied and Noah Graham (152) represents the best shot for a Hillmen title.

Bear River has three No. 1 seeds while PVL champ Lincoln sports five. Center (two) and Foothill (three) should also be represented in the finals.

The D4 Championships are slated for Feb. 19 and 20 at Central Valley High in Ceres. That’s a two-hour, 20-minute drive from Colfax.

Email Ike Dodson at iked@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Ike_Dodson for updates throughout the prep wrestling postseason.