The CIF state boys wrestling championships are staying in Bakersfield.
It was announced before Saturday night’s title matches that the state meet, held at Rabobank Arena since 2004, will remain in Bakersfield through 2020.
“Bakersfield remains committed to providing the CIF with the highest-quality venue, along with a supportive community to again welcome CIF wrestlers and their families to our city,” said David Lyman, manager of the Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The state meet, begun in 1973 at Cal State Hayward, was staged at the University of the Pacific from 1988 to 2003 before it moved to Bakersfield.
Rabobank, larger but less intimate than UOP’s Spanos Center, has received high marks for its overall facilities. A stage is erected for the 14 finals matches, and the house lights are dimmed for one of the top events on the CIF calendar.
Girls wrestling – The growth of high school girls wrestling probably reaches another milestone next season in the Sac-Joaquin Section.
Next month, officials are expected to vote in favor of a new postseason format that, for the first time, sets up a qualifying meet for the girls’ masters meet. The section virtually was forced to make changes after its SJS/Northern Section Invitational, a virtual all-comers meet at McNair High in February, drew more than 430 wrestlers.
The change will call for two qualifying meets in the section, with the top eight in each weight class advancing to the masters competition. The venues have not yet been selected. Approximately 50 Northern Section athletes will take part in one of the section qualifying meets.
The move will continue the growing autonomy between boys and girls wrestling.
Notes – The Sac-Joaquin Section totaled two championships and 19 medals last weekend at Bakersfield. That’s worse than the four titles but better than the 17 medalists in 2014. The SJS qualified only the top six in each weight class, one fewer than previous years, due to performance issues at the state meet in recent years.
The section champions were seniors Zack Velasquez of Ponderosa (152) and Anthony Hernandez of Vacaville (126). Hernandez’s victory was a surprise given the fact he placed only third at both the masters and his divisional. Hernandez defeated De La Salle’s Nathan Cervantez 3-1 in the final. Cervantez shocked the tournament by pinning the favored Israel Saavedra of Modesto High in the quarterfinals. Saavedra, a junior, was denied a third straight state title, though he recovered Saturday by winning four matches for third place. … John Azevedo, former wrestling star at Grace Davis, coached his first state champion at his new job at San Marino High when Julian Flores won 132s. … Marianne Schauer, a junior and three-time state medalist for Modesto, reportedly has transferred to 2014 state champion Enochs.