County Will Be Well-Represented at State Meet
Two wrestlers each from Loara and Brethren Christian won championships at Saturday’s Southern Section Masters tournament at Fountain Valley High.
Sophomore Orlando Galvan and junior Tony Aparicio of Loara won titles in the 103- and 135-pound divisions and Brethren Christian juniors Mike Simpson and Steve Garcia won at 119 and 130 pounds.
Other county winners were Santa Ana senior Jose Najera (112) and Calvary Chapel junior Adam Bones (125).
But the most important thing Saturday was to qualify for next week’s state championship tournament in Stockton. The top eight finishers in each weight division advanced.
Also important to the 143 teams participating in the two-day tournament was qualifying as many athletes as possible to prepare for a run at the state team title.
On that front Santa Ana is sitting pretty. The Saints have seven wrestlers going to Stockton.
Santa Ana Coach Scott Glabb said the Saints are taking aim at the state title, which the team has never won.
“We’ve had expectations all year . . . that we were going to battle and at least be in the top five,” Glabb said. “Now I don’t think the kids would be satisfied with that.
“I know we’re prepared physically. I hope we’re prepared mentally. That’s why we’ve been losing matches of late.”
Defending champion Calvary Chapel, which has won five state titles in the last six years, is right behind Santa Ana with six wrestlers.
“We’ve won [the championship] before with six, but it will be tough,” Eagles Coach John Azevedo said. “What’s encouraging is I believe we are doing our best wrestling of the year. I was very impressed with the way our kids performed this weekend.”
Other area teams sending more than one wrestler: Brethren Christian and Loara with three, and Villa Park, Dana Hills and Katella with two.
Galvan, the section Division III champion, said he surprised himself by winning the 103-pound title over Riverside Norte Vista junior Marvin Garcia.
“Coming into the tournament I was hoping to place, maybe get fifth or sixth,” said Galvan, who raised his record to 48-5 this season. “But I got confident when I beat two guys [Santa Ana’s Vince Aldana and Wildomar Elsinore’s James Harwood] that I’d never beaten before.”
One of the day’s best matches was the 119-pound semifinal: Simpson, the Division I champion ranked third in the state, against Santa Ana senior Jose Leon, the Division II champion and ranked first.
They had already met twice this season, Simpson winning at the El Dorado tournament, and Leon winning at the Five Counties tournament.
Saturday was Simpson’s day, as he rolled to a 13-5 decision.
“This should have been a final,” said Simpson, who went on to defeat Arroyo Grande senior Nathaniel Ybarra for the title. “And it could very well be that next week at state. He is such a great wrestler. I thought I was a little more aggressive today, but there are a lot of things that go into a win.”
Leon said Simpson deserved the victory. “I didn’t get any shots at him. He was ready for me. But I hope we do meet one more time.”
In other semifinal matches involving county opponents, Aparicio defeated Santa Ana sophomore Juan Serna, 22-6; Najera defeated Loara senior Jordan Bollenbacher, 17-6; Bones edged Santa Ana junior Gilbert Melendez, 9-8; Garcia stopped Capistrano Valley senior Andrew Donaldson, 9-3.
Other county wrestlers who reached finals included Fountain Valley senior Phil Hunt (152), Katella senior Danny Rooks (171), Villa Park senior Nick Wynn (215), and Irvine junior Josh Worthington (heavyweight).