12/15/19 David Pacheco for Tech-Fall. Images by John Sachs
In many ways, this was the wildest state meet to my memory on an individual basis. But the team race, was one of familiarity. When all the smoke cleared, Fresno City College won a record 4th consecutive State Championship, and it’s 17th in the 62-year history of the California Community College State championship. Fresno was there from the start in 1959, tying San Bernardino College for the title.
The Rams dominated the competition, from the first whistle to the last match. With 10 of their 12 qualifiers making it to the semi finals and 7 getting into the finals, there was no doubt who the top dog in California was again this year. Fresno City finished with 11 medalists, 9 All-Americans including 4 Champions when all the dust settled. The final team score of 186 points was just one shy of their own record set at the 2018 State Championships.
The Cerritos College Falcons, ranked #2 most of the season, conceded nothing, and were clearly the 2nd best team this season. Qualifying 11 athletes to the state meet, Cerritos made every one of them count. All 11 medaled, including 5 All-Americans and 2 Champions.
The biggest team fight was for 3rd place. Sacramento City College came into the tournament ranked 5th and ended day one in 3rd place. Day two saw them hanging onto the spot, but others scratching and clawing their way toward the final trophy place. After the medal round and going into the finals, the Panthers held a one-point lead over 3rd ranked Bakersfield for the spot. It came down to the finals at 174 pounds where Sacramento’s #2 ranked Chase Miles met Bakersfield’s #3 ranked Jonathan Hunter. The winner would clinch 3rd place for the team. Hunter, in dominating fashion took the lead, then pinned Miles in the 2nd period to help lead the Renegades to 3rd place, the same as their rankings. SCC finished in 4th place.
Individual races were quite a mix this year. Your ranking coming in played no role in the outcome of a match. Lower ranked and unranked wrestlers came to the tournament determined to make you wrestle to the end of each match. In total, four #1 ranked wrestlers lost in the first two rounds. Five #2 ranked wrestlers suffered the same fate.
Here is a breakdown by weight:
125 pounds: This saw the meeting of the #1 and #2 ranked wrestlers in the state reach the finals. Number 1 ranked Mario Moreno of Fresno City had won three tournaments this season while #2 Jonathan Prata of Cerritos had won two tournaments. In the recent State Dual Championships, Moreno edged Prata by a score of 5-2. This was a low scoring final with lots of action. In the end, Prata pulled off the upset with a 3-2 victory, the third point coming from riding time. Fresno City’s Ramiro Castillo took 5th in this weight to give Fresno two medalists. His first loss came to teammate Moreno in the semifinal.
133 pounds: This weight was the wildest of all. When it came down to it all, two wrestlers, one unranked at the weight and the other was an honorable mention at 141 before the postseason, met in the finals. Kahlil Tucker of Rio Hondo came in unranked while Houston Scibek of Modesto came in an HM at 141 while also competing in matches at 125 and 133 on the year. In a wild match going back and forth, Tucker held on for a 7-6 victory. Scibek had been 2nd in two tournaments this year and finished 4th in the North Region, while Tucker’s only tournament placing was 2nd in the south region. Again, riding time played the factor as Tucker scored a 3rd period reversal and ride out for the win. Stefano McKinney of Cerritos finished 3rd and was another HM at 141 before the post season began. He had lost in the quarters to yet another HM wrestler, Sacramento City’s Cole Kachmar who ended up finishing in 6th place. McKinney’s team mate, Andres Gonzalez finished in 7th and was defeated by McKinney in the conso-quarters.
141 pounds: Another crazy weight as far as seeds go saw 7th ranked Christian Espinoza of Rio Hondo meet 8th ranked Isaiah Mora of Cerritos. Before the postseason, neither wrestler had been in the finals of a tournament. This was a great tournament to get it done in. Mora was 1st in the South region while Espinoza was 3rd in the same region. Mora knocked off #2 ranked Anthony Chavez of Fresno in the semi. This may not seem a surprise as he defeated Chavez in the State Dual meet as well. Espinoza knocked off #1 ranked Raul Ortiz of Sacramento City in the quarters. It was Ortiz’s first loss to a CCC wrestler this season. Mora and Espinoza put on an offensive show, going back and forth for 3 rounds with Mora finally getting ahead by three and holding onto a 10-7 win and the championship.
149 pounds: This weight saw two Fresno City wrestlers make the finals as was expected. Daniel Ruiz and Chris Gaxiola have been ranked #1 and #2 respectively since the first tournament of the season. They have finished in the finals of five tournaments throughout the season. They only wrestled that final once when Ruiz edged Gaxiola by a 4-3 score. Add to it that Ruiz is the defending champion at the weight makes it an even more interesting matchup. This final had the components of two talented wrestlers who practice with each other on a daily basis, and as could be expected a low scoring event as they countered each other over and over. Ruiz did score a takedown in the match and held on to a 3-2 victory and his 2nd State Championship.
157 pounds: This was a battle of the #2 and #3 ranked wrestlers in the finals. In an unusual twist, the #2 ranked Josh McMillan of Fresno City, who finished 3rd in the North Region, met #1 ranked Larry Rodriguez of Cerritos in the quarters. Rodriguez had defeated McMillan by a 11-5 score in the State Dual meet. This match belonged to McMillan as he defeated Rodriguez 4-1 and avenge the earlier loss. #3 ranked William Schwertscharf of Modesto finished 4th in the North Region, losing to McMillan. He took down the North Region #1, Hunter LaRue of Sacramento City with a last second takedown to reach the final. After all that drama, McMillan systematically built on his lead after gaining the first takedown in round one, and scored the last takedown in the third round to win by an 8-3 score. East Los Angeles wrestlers Emmanuel Zepeda and Doroteo Lopez finished 5th and 7th respectively to get two medalists at this weight.
165 pounds: This weight saw another battle of #1 vs #2. Defending Champion and #1 ranked Augustine Garcia of Fresno City met #2 ranked Jacob Hansen of Moorpark. These two never met this season and everyone was anticipating a great match up. It took a bit of time, but Hansen scored first blood with a TD in the first period. Hansen controlled the match throughout getting another takedown and riding time to defeat Garcia by a score of 7-2. This is another weight where two wrestlers from one team medaled. This time it was Sacramento City. Manny Curry finished in 6th place while Alex Thornburg placed in 8th for the Panthers.
174 pounds: This weight saw #2 Chase Miles of Sacramento City meet #3 Jonathan Hunter of Bakersfield. The winner of this match would help their team take home the 3rd place team trophy. Hunter jumped out to the lead, then hooked up a nearside cradle and a fall to win the Championship at the weight and get Bakersfield the 3rd place team trophy. Once again, two wrestlers from one team got on the podium. This time it was Mt. San Antonio College. Kevin Hope finished in 4th place while Kevin Ayala took home 6th place.
184 pounds: In this match-up, #1 Stephen Martin of Skyline met #4 Jordan Annis of Bakersfield. Annis had a rough region finishing in 4th place. He knocked off #2 Russell Rucklos of Lassen in the quarters and the South Region champ, Joey Conroy of Palomar to reach the finals. Martin won by scores of 6-0 and 6-1 in reaching the finals. Martin’s solid offense and even better defense did the trick in shutting out Annis by a score of 7-0. He gave up only one point in three matches on the way to his championship.
197 pounds: The battle of #1 Jack Kilner of Fresno City and #3 Hamza Al Saudi of Cerritos was a defensive battle. They met a few weeks ago with Kilner winning by a 9-0 score at the State Dual championships. No one could score in the first period and Kilner scored an escape in the 2nd period to make it 1-0 going into the 3rd period. Al Saudi chose neutral in the third period in hopes of scoring a TD and stealing a win. With about 10 seconds left, he got in on a shot and was awarded a TD. With a ride out, it appeared he had pulled off the upset. Fresno City coaches appealed the call and it was overturned. Ten seconds of bad time was put on the clock, but on one could score in the time allotted and Kilner survived with a 1-0 victory and the Championship.
285 pounds: In the final match of the night, Fresno City’s #1 ranked Armando Barcenas met unranked but South Region champ, Enrique Galica of Palomar. Barcenas was holding on to a one-point lead late in the match when Galica took a shot and just missed scoring. As time was running down, Galica took another shot but this time was countered by Barcenas for a takedown and a Championship win by a score of 5-2. Sierra College had two medalists in this weight getting a 4th place finish from Victor Yakshin and a 7th place finish from Alex Mosquada.
Coach of the Year: Paul Keysaw, Fresno City College
Assistant Coach of the Year: George Moreno, Fresno City College
Outstanding Wrestler of the Year: Jacob Hansen (Moorpark)
TEAM SCORES – FINAL – 12/14/2019
1 – 186.0 – Fresno City College
2 – 137.0 – Cerritos College
3 – 77.0 – Bakersfield College
4 – 72.0 – Sacramento City College
5 – 70.5 – Sierra College
6 – 65.0 – Mt San Antonio College
7 – 59.0 – Modesto Jr. College
8 – 53.0 – Lassen Community College
9 – 48.0 – Rio Hondo College
10 – 41.0 – East Los Angeles College
11 – 34.0 – Santa Rosa Jr. College
12 – 33.5 – West Hills College
13 – 30.5 – Palomar College
14 – 29.5 – Moorpark College
15 – 23.5 – Cuesta College
16 – 19.0 – Skyline College
17 – 17.0 – San Joaquin Delta College
18 – 11.5 – Chabot College
19 – 10.0 – Victor Valley College
20 – 8.5 – Santa Ana College
21 – 0.0 – Shasta College
Weight Class 125 lbs.
1st Place – Jonathan Prata (Cerritos)
2nd Place – Mario Moreno of (Fresno City)
3rd Place – Brandon Mendoza (Modesto)
4th Place – Nick Foster (Lassen)
5th Place – Ramiro Castillo (Fresno City)
6th Place – Conner Diamond (Mt SAC)
7th Place – Keithen Estrada (Bakersfield)
8th Place – Gavin Sweeny (Sierra)
Weight Class 133 lbs.
1st Place – Kahlil Tucker (Rio Hondo)
2nd Place – Houston Scibek (Modesto)
3rd Place – Stefano McKinney (Cerritos)
4th Place – Owen Jones (Santa Rosa)
5th Place – Louie Bravo (Fresno City)
6th Place – Cole Kachmar (Sacramento City)
7th Place – Andres Gonzalez (Cerritos)
8th Place – Jude Miranda (West Hills)
Weight Class 141 lbs.
1st Place – Isaiah Mora (Cerritos)
2nd Place – Christian Espinoza (Rio Hondo)
3rd Place – Anthony Chavez (Fresno City)
4th Place – Bradley Chirino (Mt SAC)
5th Place – Ivan Gomez (Modesto)
6th Place – David Ortega (Victor Valley)
7th Place – Raul Ortiz (Sacramento City)
8th Place – Ali Kaveh (Santa Ana)
Weight Class 149 lbs.
1st Place – Daniel Ruiz (Fresno City)
2nd Place – Chris Gaxiola (Fresno City)
3rd Place – Greg Ewert (Santa Rosa)
4th Place – Logan Garcia (Lassen)
5th Place – Adrian Gonzales (Bakersfield)
6th Place – Joe Kachmar (Sacramento City)
7th Place – V`ante Moore (Cerritos)
8th Place – Josue Aguilar (East Los Angeles)
Weight Class 157 lbs.
1st Place – Josh McMillan (Fresno City)
2nd Place – William Schwertscharf (Modesto)
3rd Place – Larry Rodriguez (Cerritos)
4th Place – Ryan Ojeda (Sierra)
5th Place – Emmanuel Zepeda (East Los Angeles)
6th Place – Hunter LaRue (Sacramento City)
7th Place – Doroteo Lopez (East Los Angeles)
8th Place – Gabriel DeHaro (Lassen)
Weight Class 165 lbs.
1st Place – Jacob Hansen (Moorpark)
2nd Place – Augustine Garcia (Fresno City)
3rd Place – Wetzel Hill (Mt SAC)
4th Place – Jeronimo Cardosa (West Hills)
5th Place – Darin Chick (San Joaquin Delta)
6th Place – Manny Curry (Sacramento City)
7th Place – Drake DeLaCruz (Cerritos)
8th Place – Alex Thornburg (Sacramento City)
Weight Class 174 lbs.
1st Place – Jonathan Hunter (Bakersfield)
2nd Place – Chase Miles (Sacramento City)
3rd Place – Arturo Rivas (Fresno City)
4th Place – Kevin Hope ( Mt SAC)
5th Place – Devyn Kreb (Sierra)
6th Place – Kevin Ayala (Mt SAC)
7th Place – Bryan Samayoa (Cerritos)
8th Place – Jamal Starks (San Joaquin Delta)
Weight Class 184 lbs.
1st Place – Stephen Martin (Skyline)
2nd Place – Jordan Annis (Bakersfield)
3rd Place – Russell Rucklos (Lassen)
4th Place – Joey Conroy (Palomar)
5th Place – Breck Jeffus (Cuesta)
6th Place – Angel Verduzco (Cerritos)
7th Place – Melad Ayyoub (Mt SAC)
8th Place – Bobby Mello (Santa Rosa)
Weight Class 197 lbs.
1st Place – Jack Kilner (Fresno City)
2nd Place – Hamza Al Saudi (Cerritos)
3rd Place – Hunter Gonzalez (Sierra)
4th Place – Ricardo Gonzalez (Bakersfield)
5th Place – Andy Voong (Rio Hondo)
6th Place – Patrick Slatic (West Hills)
7th Place – Lazaro Carrasco (Chabot)
8th Place – Steven Karas (Sacramento City)
Weight Class 285 lbs.
1st Place – Armando Barcenas (Fresno City)
2nd Place – Enrique Galica (Palomar)
3rd Place – Juan Camacho (Cuesta)
4th Place – Victor Yakshin (Sierra)
5th Place – David Aranda (East Los Angeles)
6th Place – Randy Arriaga (Cerritos)
7th Place – Alex Mosquada (Sierra)
8th Place – Ben Hodhodiabkena (Moorpark)