San Marino High wrestling sends two freshmen to State
Wrestling: San Marino's Wick, Flores lock up second, third place in respective classes Saturday at CIF-SS Masters.
San Marino's Evan Wick, top, took second at 113 pounds at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet Saturday. (Courtesy of Joey Krebs/Phantom Artist / February 24, 2013)
Fresh off clinching an Eastern Division title, the 113-pound freshman fell just short of a Masters championship when he was pinned by St. John Bosco’s top-seeded 113-pounder Zahid Valencia, who won last year’s 106 state title, Saturday afternoon at Temecula Valley High.
While Wick fell just short, he advanced to the CIF State Championships, which take place Friday and Saturday at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena. The top nine wrestlers in each weight class advanced to state with Wick taking second.
It’s the first time since 1978 that San Marino will have a representative at state. This year, the Titans will have two wrestlers in Bakersfield after freshman Julian Flores took third at 120 with a 3-0 win over Elsinore’s Dustin Kirk.
“We worked hard for it,” Flores said of advancing. “This was our goal the whole year and now we’re here, going to state. We just have to work harder, four more days.”
San Marino co-Coach Joe Gallardo said it’s the first time the Titans have had two wrestlers advance to state and he praised the new coaching staff, most notably former Olympian and NCAA champion John Azevedo.
“It’s a great coaching staff and we couldn’t have gotten here without them,” Gallardo said.
Gallardo said San Marino’s staff and Wick were anticipating a potential Masters championship clash with Valencia, who had a perfect 40-0 season last year, all season.
“We’ve been wanting to match up with him all year,” Gallardo said. “We knew it would be tough, he’s been to national tournaments and he’s the No. 1 wrestler in the nation. It was a good benchmark and now we know where we’re at and what we need to work on with Wick.”
Valencia, a sophomore, notched a quick, misdirection takedown 1:08 into the match. Wick felt it was questionable, as it appeared he got out of bounds before being taken down. Still, Valencia was awarded two points and the wrestlers were directed to the center of the mat with Valencia on top.
Wick couldn’t escape and Valencia worked in a half and rolled the freshman before notching the pin with 12 seconds left in the opening period.
“I just have to get better, I didn’t really know what to expect coming into a match with the top guy in the nation,” Wick said. “My aspiration for state is to get the finals, wrestle Zahid again and take it.”
All three of Flores’ points came in the final 17 seconds of his match with Kirk. The match was scoreless going into the third period after Flores rode out the second period, unsuccessfully attempting to run two halves in the two-minute frame.
Kirk controlled most of the third, leg riding Flores and looking for a half-nelson throughout the first 1:15 of the final frame. For a split second, Kirk got too high on Flores, who quickly slipped out for the escape point with 17 seconds to go. Needing to score, Kirk went in for the takedown, but Flores evaded and got a takedown of his own for two more points, sealing the match.
“I heard he was good leg rider and I didn’t want to get caught in it, but I did,” Flores said. “He was really good and a really good strong.
“I felt him on top of me so I hit and got off him and attacked to get to.”
Wick advanced to the title bout with a 6-5 semifinal win over La Quinta’s Roy Galvan.
On Friday, the second-seeded and Rio Hondo League champion Wick advanced to the second day of competition with a bye, pinfall and decision victory. He opened the tournament Friday by taking an 8-0 first-round lead over Paso Robles’ senior Robby Standley, before applying a pin at 3:02.
That victory was followed by a tough 2-0 win against Magnolia senior Luis Ortiz, which vaulted Wick into Saturday’s championship round semifinal.
Flores moved onto the third-place match with a 9-4 win over Garden Grove Pacifica senior Steven Goltra in his first match in the consolation bracket and of Saturday after falling in the quarterfinals Friday. A default pushed him into the third-place match.
Flores opened the tournament with a bye and then topped Schurr junior Adam Duarte, 14-3. In the next round, Flores was defeated, 3-2, by Corona Centennial’s Gio Castillo, who had a takedown and then won the bout with an escape.
“It was a really tough bracket,” Flores said. “I tried to do my best and remember all the hard work.”
The season did conclude for San Marino 126-pounder Zander Wick and 160-pounder Brian Chang.
Zander Wick began with a bye, but quickly lost in the second round to Santa Ana Calvary Chapel’s Peter Cunningham, 9-4.
Thrust into the consolation bracket, Zander Wick pinned Etiwanda senior Julian Rubi in 2:45 before meeting his demise versus King’s Christian Vasquez in a fall at 4:26.
Chang, a four-year wrestler, fell in the first round in 1:46 to Corona Santiago’s Freddie Garcia before rebounding for a 7-6 win over Chino Hills’ Nathan Aragon.
Yet, Chang was eliminated in the consolation bracket’s next round by San Clemente’s Mike Marshall by a pin in 1:26.