Marina girls’ wrestling repeats, 5 local wrestlers win state titles
The Marina High girls’ wrestling program had already hung a banner above a set of double doors in the school gymnasium for winning the first CIF State girls’ individual wrestling championships last year.
School officials will have to get creative for the location of the next banner, as the Vikings — thanks in large part to a new cast of characters — repeated as state champions on Saturday at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.
Behind three individual bracket winners, Marina convincingly paced the field. The Vikings topped Walnut 114-88 to bring home another team title.
“If you had told me my freshman year that … my senior year, I’m a state champion, I would have thought, ‘You’re crazy,’” Saiheron Preciado-Meza, who transferred to Marina from Lakewood for her senior season, said. “There was no initial goal for state champ, but I’m so happy that I worked hard for it and that I was able to accomplish that.”
Carissa Qureshi (126 pounds), Preciado-Meza (189) and Destiny Marquez (235) earned individual titles in their weight classes for the Vikings, part of a collection of five local wrestlers to emerge victorious from their brackets between the boys’ and girls’ state tournaments.
“We just gave each other a really big hug and we told each other how proud we were and how honored we were to have each other as teammates,” Qureshi said. “We went out to dinner and had a really fun time after.”
Qureshi and Preciado-Meza powered through their brackets, pinning anyone who lined up across from them on the mat. Marquez was challenged in the 235-pound final, as she pulled out a 1-0 decision over Alhambra Mark Keppel’s Allie Phillips.
“I’m proud of our team because we’ve worked really hard as a team, coming together, talking to each other, lifting each other up,” said Marquez, a senior transfer from Downey. “It’s just something new for me, winning as a team.”
After two victories by fall to begin the tournament, Newport Harbor junior Duda Rodrigues saw the going get tougher, but she ultimately gave the Sailors their first state champion with a 6-0 decision over Johanna Forman of Covina Northview in the 150-pound final.
“It’s really exciting to see even more girls locally winning, just to know that girls close to you have the same goals and are achieving the same goals that you have,” Rodrigues said. “It’s like having a really big group that wants to achieve the same dreams.”
Presley Anderson placed eighth at 116 pounds to give Marina a total of four medalists in the girls’ state tournament.
Fountain Valley has first state champion in TJ McDonnell
Recent seasons have seen multiple boys’ wrestlers make it their goal to become the first state champion in Fountain Valley history, a title that will now belong to TJ McDonnell.
The Oregon State commit won in dramatic fashion, producing a reversal in the closing seconds to flip the 182-pound final on its head. McDonnell stunned Moreno Valley Canyon Springs’ Sonny Kling with the 5-4 decision.
“This whole last year, since the last state tournament, I’ve been extremely nervous about the tournament and about wrestling in it because it’s been so important to me my whole life to win a state title,” McDonnell said. “If I didn’t do it this year, I wouldn’t have ever done it, so I was a wreck, honestly, all the time.
“It made me do extra. I thought when I got to the tournament I would be so nervous, and then all of the sudden, I got there, and I was calm the whole time. It didn’t feel like any other tournament to me. All of the sudden, I was just looking up at the crowd and enjoying it, and then even before the finals match, I was calm, and I just knew I was going to win.”
Fountain Valley finished 11th in the team standings, buoyed by four state medalists. The others were Anthony Lucio (113, sixth), Hercules Windrath (138, sixth) and Ryland Whitworth (195, fifth).
Corona del Mar’s Eugenio Franco also delivered a strong showing, rebounding from a first-match loss to reach the consolation final. Franco took third in the 195-pound bracket.
Marina’s Haden Hernandez (126, eighth) medaled for the Vikings.
CIF State girls’ individual wrestling championships
At Mechanics Bank Arena, Bakersfield
1. Marina 114; 2. Walnut 88; 3. Pitman 86; 4. Gilroy 73; 5. Golden Valley 62; 6. Buchanan 57.5; 7. Evergreen Valley 55; 8. Northview 54; 9. Redwood 45; 10T. Clovis East 41; 10T. Golden West 41; 21. Newport Harbor 33; 205T. Edison 2; 268. Fountain Valley -1.
101 — Brenda Nunez (Buchanan) dec. Jillian Wells (Lakeside), 3-0.
106 — Anaya Falcon (Walnut) dec. Paige Morales (Central), 8-2.
111 — Kiely Tabaldo (Menlo-Atherton) dec. Karissa Turnwall (Paloma Valley), 3-0.
116 — Isabella Marie Gonzales (Clovis East) pins Alex Waitsman (El Camino Real), 1:38.
121 — Lilly Avalos (Pitman) pins Lilyana Balderas (Anaheim), 1:19.
126 — Carissa Qureshi (Marina) pins Baya Austin (Pitman), 1:05.
131 — Taydem Khamjoi (Cesar Chavez) pins Gabryella Austin (Pitman), 2:54.
137 — Gianna Dibenedetto (Bella Vista) maj. Valerie Glenn (Gilroy), 10-0.
143 — Jennah Creason (Redwood) pins Adelaida Fernandez (Birmingham), 1:42.
150 — Duda Rodrigues (Newport Harbor) dec. Johanna Forman (Northview), 6-0.
160 — Leilani Lemus (Clovis) pins Vida Beckel (Cypress), 3:04.
170 — Jocelyn Yepez (Paramount) maj. Kathryn Hingano (Rio Linda), 10-1.
189 — Saiheron Preciado-Meza (Marina) pins Naomi Roby (Golden Valley), 1:56.
235 — Destiny Marquez (Marina) dec. Allie Phillips (Mark Keppel), 1-0.
CIF State boys’ individual wrestling championships
At Mechanics Bank Arena, Bakersfield
1. Buchanan 244; 2. Poway 202.5; 3. Gilroy 194; 4. Clovis 173; 5. Bakersfield 166.5; 6. Palm Desert 165; 7. St. John Bosco 163.5; 8. Los Gatos 89; 9. Granite Hills 76; 10. Oakdale 75; 11. Fountain Valley 74; 21. Corona del Mar 35; 54T. Marina 15
106 — Clarence Moore (Branham) pins Rocklin Zinkin (Buchanan), 4:45.
113 — Ronnie Ramirez (Walnut) dec. Antonio Rodriguez (Los Gatos), 9-2.
120 — Isaiah Cortez (Gilroy) dec. Isaiah Quintero (El Dorado), 1-0.
126 — Elijah Cortez (Gilroy) dec. Joseph Toscano (Buchanan), 2-1.
132 — Daniel Zepeda (Gilroy) tech. fall Gavin Bauder (Clovis North), 20-5.
138 — Dario Lemus (Clovis) dec. Brock Mantanona (Palm Desert), 6-3.
145 — Miguel Estrada (Frontier) dec. Laird Root (Poway), 4-2/TB2.
152 — Beau Mantanona (Palm Desert) dec. Collins Guffey (Granite Hills), 2-0.
160 — Nicco Ruiz (St. John Bosco) pins Angelo Posada (Poway), 1:24.
170 — Luke Condon (Poway) pins Sloan Swan (Buchanan), 1:59.
182 — TJ McDonnell (Fountain Valley) dec. Sonny Kling (Canyon Springs), 5-4.
195 — Robert Platt (Brawley) dec. Coby Merrill (Gilroy), 3-1/SV.
220 — Nicholas Sahakian (St. John Bosco) dec. Kannon Campbell (Buchanan), 5-1.
285 — Daniel Herrera (Palm Desert) dec. Sam Hinojosa (Stagg), 3-2.
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