It’s well-known in the sport’s circles that Turlock is home to some of the best wrestlers in the area.
That point was driven home on Saturday night in Bakersfield at Rabobank Arena, where Turlock High’s Michael Jeffus and Pitman High’s Lilly Freitas took home titles at the CIF State Meet.
Jeffus, competing in the 285-pound division, defeated Gilroy’s Nicholas Villarreal, 3-2. Meanwhile, about an hour earlier, Freitas, at 143 pounds, pinned Gianna Anaya of San Fernando in 54 seconds to become Pitman’s first state champion.
Freitas, a freshman who finished 33-0, cruised to victories in the tournament, her last four coming by pins of less than one minute and 17-2 and 13-0 victories.
The 14-year-old certainly wasn’t overwhelmed by the surrounding and moment. She also said she enjoyed sharing the tournament stage with the boys. This is the first year the CIF has held the meets together.
“I wasn’t nervous. I was ready to wrestle,” Freitas said by telephone. “No matter what happened, I knew I would be proud of myself and my team.”
She said after the morning semifinal victory — with about nine hours before the championship match — she and her family went to the Tower Craft Bar and Grill for lunch (Freitas had a turkey sandwich) and then back to the hotel for a two-hour nap before returning to Rabobank at about 4 p.m.
She said she had wrestled against some of her earlier opponents, but had not faced Anaya until Saturday.
“I was prepared to wrestle all six minutes,” she said.
She didn’t need it. “I snapped her down and did an bar-and-half.”
Soon after the referee raised her arm, she jumped into the arms of her coach, Adam Vasconcellos, then went over to hug her parents.
“I was just super happy,” she said. “They said good job and told that they loved me.”
- Won the first state title by a Turlock boys wrestler since 2005, when Lewis Gonzalez won the 145-pound crown.
- Won the first title by a Sac-Joaquin Section wrestler since Ponderosa’s Zack Velasquez won the 152-pound title in 2015.
- Won the first title by a Stanislaus District wrestlers since Modesto High brothers Israel Saavedra (120) and Emilio Saavedra (138) won in 2014.
Jeffus, a senior, finished fifth last year at the State Meet.
In the other final involving a Stanislaus District athlete, Escalon’s Mikayla Vega (111) lost to Orland’s Jennifer Soto at 1:39.
Earlier in the day, four Stanislaus District athletes secured third-place finishes:
- Pitman High’s 113-pounder Izzy Tubera, who defeated Justin Mouritsen of Clovis in 2:35.
- Oakdale’s Henry Porter, who came back from a quarterfinals defeat to win four straight matches, the last, a narrow 2-1 win over Giano Petrucelli of Clovis.
- Turlock High 101-pounder Hailey Ward who, like Porter, overcame a quarterfinal defeat on Friday to rally all the way back.
- Oakdale 137-pounder Faalia Martinez, who decisioned Joanna Qiu of Albany 4-2 in the third-place match.
- Pacheco 235-pounder Tagivale Vaifale, who beat Sierra Adams-Gregory of Lakewood in 1:25 in the third-place match.
Other Top 8 placers included Oakdale 106-pounder Brayden Abell (4th), Gregori’s Liliana Vergara, who entered the tournament undefeated, and finished fourth, Escalon’s Mikayla Vega (6th) and Oakdale’s Gabriel Martinez, who finished eighth.
Stanislaus District State Meet Placers