High School Sports

State Wrestling Preview: Gregori High senior has eye on title, Pitman led by juniors

Liliana Vergara of Gregori High takes on Michelle Kamyshin from River City High during the 150 pound Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Masters Wrestling Championships at McNair High, Stockton, Saturday, Feb 17, 2018.
Liliana Vergara of Gregori High takes on Michelle Kamyshin from River City High during the 150 pound Sac-Joaquin Section Girls Masters Wrestling Championships at McNair High, Stockton, Saturday, Feb 17, 2018. mbicek@modbee.com

At the Napa Valley Classic tournament in early January, it was decision time for Gregori senior Liliana Vergara.

That tournament would decide if she would stay in the 170-pound weight class or drop down to 163.

Vergara won her weight title at 170 and has remained there since.

“It was one of the toughest tournaments I have been in this year,” Vergara said.

Vergara is 26-0 and the No. 3 seed at the CIF State Wrestling Championships that begin Thursday in Bakersfield.

She is looking for redemption after finishing in second in the 150-pound division last year.

“The state meet is literally all I can think about in the past month,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

The goals this year have been pretty simple: Have fun and win a state title.

Vergara, who won the 170-pound title at the Masters Meet last week, is ranked No. 7 in the nation by USA Wrestling.

“I have to go in there confident and I can’t be hesitant with anything,” she said.

A special group at Pitman: This is Adam Vasconcellos’ 11th year as head coach of the Pitman wresting team.

Vasconcellos said on Tuesday that this year’s team, which is sending a school-record six wrestlers to the CIF State State Wrestling Meet, is a special group.

“It’s our group of juniors,” Vasconcellos said. “We have a ton of juniors on this team and since their freshman year, we knew they would be a special group. All six kids going to state are coming back next year.”

Headlining the group of juniors are Izzy Tubera (113-pound) and Sammy Silveria (145-pound).

Both Silveria and Tubera won their weight classes at the Masters Meet last week and both competed at the State Meet last year.

“The better kids set a tone in the wrestling room,” Vasconcellos said. “(Kendall) La Rosa, (Juan) Mota, and Izzy... They show up every day and are contagious to the other kids. The younger kids are looking up to them and it breeds the depth that our team has.”

One of the biggest differences in this year’s state meet is the tournament is three days instead of two, meaning more weigh-ins for each competitor and longer days at Rabobank Arena.

Said Vasconcellos: “We are battling the unknown.”

The three-day competition is what the NCAA does.

“The key is keeping the kids healthy,” he said.

Before his time at Pitman, Vasconcellos was the head coach at Central Catholic for five years and the Raiders placed third in 2008, his last year with the program. They had three state champions and four Top 8 finishers that year.

“I’ve been to this tournament every year for the last 16 or 17 years,” he said. “Every match is important at the state tournament. There are no easy matches.”

Pitman has never had a state champion but that could change, especially on the girls side with freshman Lilly Freitas, who is 29-0 and the No. 3 seed in the 143-pound division.

The tournament begins at 9 a.m. for girls and 1 p.m. for boys on Thursday.

BOYS STATE MEET QUALIFIERS

Here are the qualifiers for this weekend’s CIF State Meet in Bakersfield (Feb. 21-23)

WrestlerWeightSchool
Brayden Abell106Oakdale
Izzy Tubera113Turlock
William Giron113Turlock
Michael Torres113Oakdale
Clayton Bashor120Oakdale
Carson Prim120Davis
Adrian Heras126Turlock
Ceasar Garza126Oakdale
Henry Porter132Oakdale
Noah Mirelez132Patterson
Devin Holman132El Capitan
Rickey Torres138Oakdale
Michael Miller138Central Valley
Sammy Silveira145Pitman
Seth Borba145Oakdale
Jose Estrada145Beyer
Patrick Garcia152Modesto Christian
Isaiah Ontiveros152Pitman
Kendall La Rosa160Pitman

Evan Myrtue

160El Capitan
Gabriel Martinez170Oakdale
Kodiak Stephens170Bret Harte
Donivan Giangregori182Calaveras
Cesar Rocha182Turlock
Cody Golding195Oakdale
Elliott Houghten195Calaveras
Justin Rentfro220Hilmar
Juan Mora220Pitman
Michael Jeffus285Turlock

GIRLS STATE MEET QUALIFIERS

Here are the qualifiers for this weekend’s girls CIF State Meet in Bakersfield (Feb. 21-23)

WrestlerWeightSchool
Hailey Ward101Turlock
Monica Verdugo101Atwater
Amelia Valezquez106Gregori
Mikayla Vega111Escalon
Trinity Hernandez111Enochs
Camille Jarmon111Sierra
Abriana Martinez111Downey
Julia Casillas121Escalon
Serenity Angeles126Downey
Destiny Torres126Los Banos
Carla Martinez131Central Valley
Naomi Cortez131Delhi
Katelyn Cardoza131Ripon
Leonor Del Rio131Pacheco
Faalia Martinez137Oakdale
Lillian Freitas143Pitman
Brianna Quiroz150Central Valley
Alexa Garcia160Sierra
Linda Pelayo160Los Banos
Ramona Jimenez160Mountain House
Liliana Vergara170Gregori
Alejandra Gonzalez170Buhach Colony
Valerie Osborne189Oakdale
Tagivale Vaifale235Pacheco
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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.


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