106 Oakdale sophomore Nico Colunga, third at Masters, has a winnable first-round match but could face third-ranked Matt Gamble of Monache in second round. Tyler Felix of Los Banos is a longshot against Southern Section champ Chris Lacayo of Santiago of Corona. No one looked more dominant last week in Stockton than Gionn Peralta of Vacaville, the favorite after placing third at State last year.
113 Modesto freshman Israel Saavedra, ranked second in state, rolled through his Masters bracket last week. He's positioned for a run into the semifinals, but he's locked in with the third and fourth-ranked wrestlers in the lower bracket. at the top is Zahid Valencia of St. John Bosco, the 106-pound champion last year as a freshman. Promising Oakdale freshman Trevor Williams opens against Valencia. Ceres senior Gabe Balderas could advance but there's Valencia in the quarterfinals.
120 Oakdale senior Ronnie Stevens, who missed last year due to a hand injury, has a fair chance in opening rounds. Family affair: Oakdale coach Brian Stevens will watch sons Ronnie and Max (126) in Bakersfield. This is a tough division featuring 2012 113-pound champion Isian Locsin of Live Oak, two-time Masters champ Kasey Klaus of Vacaville, Jordan Gurrola of North Torrance and Mason Pengilly of Porterville (fifth in state last year at 113).
126 Turlock's Rafael Herrera, who barely missed State last year, rebounded with a solid season and runner-up finish at Masters. He draws Nico Guerrero of Bellarmine. Max Stevens, a sophomore, could follow a win with a matchup against Central Coast champ Victor Olmos of Gilroy. Hughson senior Daniel Williams owns a tough draw, but ultimately who doesn't at State? Vincent Aguilar of Enochs sees nothing but section champions.
132 Masters champ Mark Taijeron of Merced has good news in that he's slotted far away from favored Aaron Pico of St. John Bosco. The bad news is that he eventually must beat either Adrian Panduro of Corcoran or Paul Fox (2nd at 126 last year) of Gilroy, who collide in an imposing outbracket match. Sophomore Isaac Bertalotto returns to State with a winnable opener followed by a meeting against LA champ Ali Naser of El Camino Real. Escalon's Tyler Lawrence can scout his first opponent in outbracket. Tough medicine for Jimmy Felix Tyler's brother against Central Section champ Javier Gasca of Kingsburg.
138 McCoy Kent of Enochs, a close runner-up at Masters, meets a predictably demanding draw. Joey Abbate of Central Catholic awaits an outbracket survivor but, if victorious, runs into Central Section champ Martin Sandoval of Porterville. Giovanno Murillo of Bret Harte and Isaiah Alva of Merced both face daunting challenges.
145 Andrew Patrick of Hughson, third at Masters, could advance. A plus for him is coach Steve Vierra, a former state champ. Gregori senior Anthony Caitu reached Bakersfield though he placed eighth at Masters (a dropout of a higher-ranked wrestler opened the door). Oakdale senior Tyler Noon, who missed Masters due to a hand injury at divisionals, would have done some damage here.
152 Argonaut sophomore Zack Velasquez placed third at D5 but caught fire at Masters and marched into the finals. Shayne Tucker of Bella Vista, who overwhelmed Velasquez, captured his third Masters title (he was second at State at 138 last year). Latrell Benjamin of Gregori has an opportunity in his outbracket match, then could run into section champs. Nasty draw for Justin Barnes of Bret Harte.
160 Central Catholic's Ray Lomas barely missed back-to-back Masters titles. Can he improve on fifth at Bakersfield (145) last year? His draw is do-able. Calaveras senior Justin Brown knows the surroundings it's his third trip to State. Kyle Thorpe of Atwater opens against Southern champ and fourth-ranked Bradley Christensen of Chaparral. Turlock junior Albino Orozco will be the underdog against Brody Brand of Clovis.
170 Johnathon Costa of Escalon qualifies for State for the third time but draws Sultana's Corey Griego, ranked No. 1 in state though he defaulted to sixth in section. Griego was fifth at Bakersfield at 152 last year. Watch Peter Santos of Oakmont, who majored Keaton Subjeck of Oak Ridge 10-0 in Masters final.
182 Central Catholic's Reggie Bland slid into the field after placing seventh last week. He'll open against North Coast winner Devin Aiello of De La Salle. Bland has brotherly help in his corner in three-time state champ Louis Bland. Bakersfield senior Kyle Pope, a finalist last year, is the son of former Escalon state champion Darryl Pope.
195 Ripon senior Trevor Smith reached the 182 semifinals last year but finished sixth. He wrestled at 182 most of this season. Smith was bumped to No. 3 in rankings, possibly because he fell by only 6-3 to state favorite Jeramy Sweany of Vacaville in Masters final. Bret Harte senior Luke Brewer faces difficult draw.
220 Turlock's Ricardo Garcia recorded an impressive third last week, losing only 3-1 to eventual Masters champ Jordan Sepeda of Natomas. Garcia is not mismatched early in bracket. Zach Fallentine of Oakdale is paired against fourth-ranked Victor Raigoza of Orland. Noah Shelgren of Calaveras and Dominic Freesha of Escalon are major underdogs in the first round.
285 Cinderella run by Turlock's Ricky Flores bought him a trip south, but he's drawn trouble in Clovis' Nick Nevills, third last year and currently top-ranked. Eric Barrigan of Oakdale also will be hardpressed against Southern champ Alex Redmond of Los Alamitos.