2015 State Championship Preview
by Pablo DiMaria
2015 California Community College State Tournament Preview
FRESNO, CA. – Welcome to the 2015 California Community College Athletic Association state wrestling tournament. The first ever state tournament was held in 1959 and it was won by Fresno City and San Bernardino Valley. Both teams finished tied with 62 points and had various state champions. Since then, Fresno City has won 12 titles and has been a power in the state of California. Many Junior College state champions have gone on to have great careers in Division I, II, III, NAIA and in International competition.
Four state champions are back in pursue of gaining a second state championship. Those state champions are Steven Cabanas of Cerritos College (125lbs.), Martine Sandoval of Fresno City (149lbs.), Terrill Sidner of Cerritos College (149lbs.) and Mo Nasser of Fresno City at 174lbs.
Team wise, Fresno City should be the favorite at the moment, follow by Sacramento City and Cerritos College. It will be tough for Mt. San Antonio to challenge for a state title without a wrestler in the state tournament at 133 and 165 pounds.
The 125 pound weight class has four excellent wrestlers that could win the state tournament any given weekend. If the rankings hold, we could definitely see a matchup in the semifinals between Julian Gaytan of Fresno City and Cabanas of Cerritos College. Gaytan is a true freshman that is coming off from defeating teammate and last year’s third place finisher in the state, Adrian Camposano. Gaytan is a tough individual that has had a couple of close matches with the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state, Giovanni Castillo of Mt. San Antonio College. Steven was a state champion for the Falcon’s back in 2010. He recently made the drop to 125 pounds, and he is looking ready to win another state title. In the bottom part of the bracket, we should see a rematch of last year’s third place match at the state tournament between Castillo and Camposano; expect a barn burner of a match if they do meet up.
After the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 133 pounds failed to make weight for Regionals, Cerritos College true freshman Anthony Vargas, will now enter the state tournament as one of the favorites to win it all. Throughout the regular season he wrestled well for Coach Donny Garriott and staff. Vargas should most likely face off with Seth Hood of Fresno City in the semifinals. Hood ended up as the runner-up at the Northern Regionals last weekend. The bottom bracket should be dominated by Fresno City’s Jonas Gaytan. Gaytan has yet to lose this season to any individual from the Junior College Division. Gaytan toughest opponent in the bottom bracket should come from Jake Schaeffer of Palomar College. Schaeffer wrestled in the 125 pound weight class all season long before moving up a weight class for the post season.
The 141 pound weight class is one of the few weight classes that is wide open for anyone to win it. In the upper bracket, Northern Regional Champion, Ezra Clark of Skyline College, should get tested in the quarterfinal round if he gets to wrestle Andrew Gomez of Santa Ana. Gomez had a great run at the Southern Regional and ended up third in the tournament. On the same side of the bracket, the fans should get a chance to see a great match between Daniel Romero of Rio Hondo and Richard Pocock of Cerritos College. Any of the four wrestlers I just wrote about could be state finalist Saturday night. The bottom bracket also has great wrestlers whom are ready to battle their way to the finals. Mario Lopez of Mt. San Antonio College who is ranked No. 1 in the state tournament in this weight, should face off in the semifinals with either 2013 state place winner, Elias Mercado of Rio Hondo or 2015 Northern Regional runner-up, Josh Bennett of Sierra College. Mercado and Bennett should meet up in the quarterfinals.
This weight class should be fun to see with two returning state champions and a wrestler from the state of Nevada who had a great prep career. In the top bracket, Terrill Sidner of Mt. San Antonio College and Alex Anciete of Lassen College should face off in the semifinals. Sidner was untouchable last year as he won the 141 pound weight class in dominating fashion. Anciete was a force to be reckoned with in the state of Nevada as he was a three-time state champion and placed in many of the elite high school tournaments. Martin Sandoval of Fresno City was a state champion in 2013 at 141 pounds. This season he has dominated all competitors, including Sidner three-times.
The No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state in this weight class, Kaleio Romero of Sacramento City College, should’ve little or no trouble advancing to the finals of the state tournament. All season long he has been dominant at 157 and 165 pounds. Romero should face off with Aaron Negrete of Cerritos College in the finals of this weight class. Both Romero and Negrete are currently undefeated on the season.
Two previous state place winners are in the top bracket in this weight class. Erik Collin of Palomar College finished eighth in this weight class last year, while Eric Roberts of Santa Ana College was third. If Roberts get pass his first opponent, he would most likely meet up with true freshman Sebastian Suikowsky of Fresno City. Roberts’s and Suikowsky’s styles are similar to each other’s. The winner will most likely meet up with Collin for the chance to be in the state finals. Dylan Forzani who finished second in a very close vote for the Wrestler of the Year award in the Big 8 Conference is the clear favorite to advance to the finals in the bottom bracket. His biggest competition should come from true freshman, Roger Arce of Mt. San Antonio College.
Trevor Wright of Sacramento City is on fire right now after a great performance last week at the Northern Regional tournament. Wright turn in the biggest upset of the tournament, as he defeated the top ranked wrestler in the state, Mo Nasser of Fresno City via a fall in overtime. Wright hit a takedown with five minutes left in the match to tie the score in regulation at 10-10. In overtime, the two came out in a scramble and Wright countered Nasser’s move to put him on his back and get the win. Nasser should have no trouble in the bottom bracket and should be a finalist. Nasser’s has two losses in the season, one which is to Wright, and the other to a Division I wrestler.
The No. 1 ranked wrestler in the state at 184 pounds is Alex Graves of Palomar College. Alex was third in the state tournament last season in this weight class. What makes Alex such a dangerous opponent on the mat, is his Judo background. He has great hips that makes it almost impossible to score on him. Nick Rohrer of Sacramento City should be Graves’s toughest opponent in his bracket. Rohrer finished second in the Northern Region as he lost a tough 6-4 match to the eventual champion, Jhaylyn Hall of Santa Rosa College. In the bottom bracket, the two wrestlers that should dominate, are Hall and 2015 state place winner, Kolton Martin of San Antonio College.
Modesto College wrestler, Luke Brewer, has put himself in a good position of becoming an All-American this year by winning the Northern Region tournament. However, before we can call him an All-American, he must first deal with a tough Grappler in Jose Robledo of Bakersfield College. Robledo finished third at the Southern Region and should face off with Brewer in the quarterfinals. The bottom portion of the bracket should be dominated by undefeated wrestler and 2015 state runner-up, Oscar Martinez of Cerritos College. Martinez toughest opponent should be Jason Zecchini of Sacramento City College. Zecchini was 3-0 at the Northern Region before injury defaulting in the finals. The Zecchini/Martinez match should be quite entertaining for the fans if they do meet up.
2015 state runner-up, Jesse Gomez of Cerritos College, appears more and more the clear favorite to win the state tournament this weekend. He destroyed the competition at the Southern Regional and was named the Champion of Champions after pinning all three opponents he faced off in the tournament. Gomez will probably meet up with the winner of the Murrel Anderson of Chabot and Kyle Lincoln of West Hills match in the semifinals. Anderson was the Northern Regional runner-up last weekend, while Lincoln was third at the Southern Regional. The bottom portion of the bracket should hold a great quarterfinal match between the # 4 (Seville Hayes of Palomar) and # 5 (Casey Jones of Fresno City) ranked wrestlers in the state. Both athletes met earlier this season at the Santa Ana tournament where Hayes won 3-2. The winner of the Hayes/Jones match should meet up 2015 state place winner, Andrew Cruz of Mt. San Antonio College.