It’s safe to say Sariyah Jones is one of the top high school female wrestlers in the state – and quite possibly the nation.
Last year at this time, the Enochs High School junior was competing internationally for the U.S. Cadet World Team in Slovakia. Her year also included meets in Germany and Austria, as well as the USA Freestyle Nationals in North Dakota, where she finished sixth.
Yet, it’s been a CIF State Meet title that’s eluded her – until Saturday.
Jones, competing in the 106-pound championship, defeated Aleeah Gould of Anaheim’s Canyon High School to win the California crown at the two-day meet in Visalia.
She also helped guide Enochs to an incredible overall team title, giving the school its first state team crown.
The Eagles also are the first Stanislaus District wrestling team to win a CIF championship since the Merced boys did it in 1980.
The Eagles finished with 81 points, beating out 2013 champion Covina’s Northview (79) and Union City’s James Logan (76).
“It’s amazing,” said Enochs coach Duane Brooks. “I was not expecting it. We finished third at Masters. We were just hoping to do well. I could not have imagined bringing home a state title. It’s an awesome group.”
Brooks, who was coaching the boys team Saturday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet in Stockton, was getting updates from assistant Ruben Jones and family members.
The girls team had just four wrestlers competing Saturday.
“We went into the finals in second place, so it was just a matter of how the dominoes fell,” he said.
Jones became the first Stanislaus District girls wrestler to win a state title since Juliana Triplett of Ripon won the 165-pound division in 2012. It was Triplett’s second consecutive state crown.
Jones, who finished fourth two years ago but skipped last year’s event to compete internationally, cruised through all four of her matches, winning two by pin and beating Gould 5-1. (Click here to see Jones on the medal stand)
She finished fifth at State two years ago and skipped last year’s event to compete internationally. Regarded as one of the top wrestlers in the CIF, Jones lived up to those lofty expectations to give Enochs its first individual state wrestling champion.
“She’s wrestling her opponent and the expectations,” Brooks said. “She handled the pressure very well.”
Also guiding Enochs were third-place finishes by Rory Coscia (116) and Micaela Kent (101) – the sister of Enochs boys wrestler McCoy Kent, who won the Sac-Joaquin Section title in the 138-pound division.
Coscia finished third after reaching the semifinals with an 8-2 win over West Covina’s Jennifer Lopez. In the semifinals, Coscia lost to Dominique Parrish of Scotts Valley.
However, the freshman won a 4-0 decision over Yucca Valley’s Vanesa Conteras and pinned Eureka’s Kiah Martin in 2:33.
Kent, meanwhile, came back to finish third after losing her quarterfinal match.
She lost to Selma’s Alleida Martinez in the quarters but reeled off back-to-back pins to reach the third-place match.
There, the sophomore squeaked past Harmonie Roberts of Ukiah 1-0.
Katrina Guevara, competing in the 131-pound division for the Eagles, lost her first match of the tournament. However, the freshman later picked up two key victories.
The performance by Enochs wasn’t the only bright spot for Modesto.
Modesto High’s Marianne Schauer finished second in the 160-pound division. She was pinned in the title match by Alyssa LaFrancis of Rancho Buena Vista. But she was impressive in her three victories leading up to the championship.
Schauer also was one of 14 athletes at the meet given a Pursuing Victory With Honor award, given to those who show great sportsmanship in competition.
In the 126-pound division, Pacheco junior Miranda Lamela went 2-1 after her quarterfinal loss, capping it with a victory over Alex King of Wheatland in the seventh-place match.
Atwater’s Courtney Juarez (170) also lost in the quarterfinals but battled back to finish eighth, losing her final match to Hillcrest’s Peyton Jackson by pin in 1:23.
In its fifth year as a state competition, girls wrestling is gaining in popularity. Before 2011, there were separate Northern California and Southern California tournaments.
Brooks said he has 10 wrestlers on the team and nine went to Masters. He can only hope a state championship trophy will help to get more girls involved.
“I’ve been trying to build a girls team for a while,” he said. “So this will be good PR material.”