All pioneering trails have an end and such was the case for La Cañada High junior Sophie Garcia.
The 170-pounder lost in consolation-round action Saturday morning and was eliminated at the CIF State Girls’ Wrestling Championships at the Visalia Convention Center.
Garcia finished the tournament with a 1-2 record with one pin and two losses by decision. Overall, the youngster tallied a 7-4 postseason mark with four pins, while Garcia became La Cañada’s first girls’ qualifier to state and her school’s first state grappler since 2007.
“The first thing I said to her after the loss was just how absolutely proud of her I was,” said La Cañada coach Justin Luthey, who trekked from the boys’ Southern Section Masters Meet in Temecula on Friday to the girls’ championship in Central California. “She’s a little bummed as expected, but the takeaway for her is that she knows she can compete at this level and she has another year.”
Garcia lost in her first and only action Saturday, 2-1, to Northview’s Mia Sandoval.
The bout was scoreless going into the third period when Garcia picked up a penalty point due to stalling by Sandoval.
Garcia was less than 30 seconds away from a 1-0 victory, when Sandoval secured a late takedown for the win.
“I had seen the Northview girl before,” said Garcia, who was defeated by Sandoval, 2-1, at the CIF Southern Section Central Division Championships in Upland on Feb. 3. “I lost to her before, but I knew how to beat her, but my nerves got to me. There were chances, I had to try something, to make a move and I didn’t and she did. That’s a mistake I won’t make again.”
Garcia was awarded a bye in Friday’s opening round and then lost to another Sandoval – James Logan’s Emily Sandoval – by a 4-0 score in round of 16 action.
Garcia dropped into the consolation bracket and stayed alive by pinning Montgomery’s Jasmin Ballesteros in 1:49 for victory and advancement to Saturday.
“I think this was a really cool experience and I’m really excited to have been here,” Garcia said. “I didn’t get to do everything that I wanted to do, but I improved a lot this season and I can’t wait to get back.”