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Hunter, Cook Advance to Semifinal Round of State Wrestling Finals

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Any good wrestler has to have goals, and Westlake High’s Bill Hunter is a good wrestler.

Hunter, a junior, came into this weekend’s state wrestling championships at University of the Pacific seeking to make a name for himself.

How’s this one?: semifinalist.

Hunter defeated Al Martell of Mount Carmel on Friday in the quarterfinals of the 175-pound weight class. Even Hunter was surprised after felling Martell, who came into the state meet ranked No. 1 at 175 pounds.

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“I had some high hopes coming into this thing,” Hunter said. “But I really wasn’t shooting for this high.”

The day did not begin quite as auspiciously for Hunter, who narrowly defeated Overfelt’s Richard Garcia, 4-3, in the first round. Hunter then buried Monache’s Ryan Land, 11-0, in the second round to set up his quarterfinal match with Martell.

Hunter led throughout the quarterfinal match, opening the scoring on a takedown in the first period.

“For some reason, I think he quit after that first takedown,” Hunter said. “I could feel it. I think he was even more surprised than me at what was happening. He’s probably never heard of me.”

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And probably won’t soon forget.

The only other Valley-area wrestler to advance to the semifinals was Rob Cook of Rio Mesa in the 132-pound division. Cook opened with a 12-point victory in the first round, followed with a pin the second and scored a 6-1 victory over North Bakersfield’s Joe Cemo in the quarterfinals.

Two came close to advancing.

Chris Kilbane of Newbury Park was undone in the final 10 seconds of his quarterfinal match against Eric Miklusicak in the 154-pound weight class. Kilbane, who won his first two matches by a combined score of 26-6, trailed virtually the entire match. He was behind, 7-3, late in the second period and, 9-6, midway through the third.

Kilbane rallied to take a brief 10-9 lead on a reversal with less than 20 seconds remaining. But Miklusicak quickly countered with a reversal of his own and won the match, 11-10.

“I thought we had it,” Newbury Park Coach Marty Maciel said. “At worst I thought it would go to overtime.”

Another heartbreaking loss was incurred by Channel Islands’ M. T. Merickel, who was leading Vallejo’s Dominic Boutan, 5-4, late in their 126-pound second-round match when he was turned and pinned.


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