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Three win state wrestling titles

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Three local athletes won Greco-Roman state wrestling titles at the USA Wrestling California State Championships held in Fresno earlier this month.

Gabe Guzman and Kaden West, who recently finished their sophomore years at Oak Ridge, and Justin Ramos, who will be a senior at Vista del Lago, came away with first-place finishes in their respective weight classes.

Guzman claimed his state title in the Cadet 195-pound division, and like the others, did so in dominating fashion. He won his first match by technical fall, 8-0, and in the second round pinned his well-respected opponent in 1 minute, 13 seconds. In his final match, he again dominated in a 10-0 technical fall victory.

“Gabe is the biggest story,” Wrestling coach Benjamin West said. “He’s been wrestling since elementary school, and is probably the most consistent wrestler we’ve ever had in terms of never missing practice. He’s earned everything he’s gotten, and he’s never made it to this level before.

“When he pinned his highly regarded opponent in the match before finals, that’s the most excited I’ve been other than when Kaden won his freestyle state championship. Kyle (West) and I were jumping around and high-fiving like teenagers.”

West said the state championship should be a big boost of confidence to Guzman.

“He was relaxed and just trusted himself, and didn’t get into his own head,” West said. “This will no doubt give him confidence moving forward.”

The following day, Guzman wrestled up a division and placed fourth in the Junior 195 pound class, winning two matches and losing two others.

Kaden West claimed the Junior Division state title in the 195-pound weight class. West won his first two matches by large margins; 12-1 and 13-1, before pinning his final opponent in 1:05.

Ramos was equally strong in winning the Junior heavyweight division. He won two matches by technical fall, 11-0 and 12-2, before earning a pin in 1:17.

“Kaden had a good tourney with a nice pin over a solid kid in the finals,” West said. “Justin also had a great tournament. Those two were well-prepared, had a solid mindset, and just had a dominant tournament. They deserve to win the big tournaments because they do things the right way.”