VICTORVILLE: After finishing in second place the last three seasons, Fresno City College pulled out their state-leading 14th team championship, as they amassed 158.5 team points at the CCCAA State Championships, which were held at Victor Valley College. The Rams pulled away from second place Cerritos College, who came in second place with 153.5 points, and advanced five of their six semifinalists into the championship round. By contrast, the Falcons, who came in as the state's top-ranked team, only advanced two of their six into the finals. Cerritos opened the day with a one-point lead, while the success of the Rams gave them a 31-point lead at one point. Last month, Cerritos defeated Fresno City for the CCCAA Team Dual State Championship.
"The guys really came together and I'm very proud of their effort," said Fresno City head coach Paul Keysaw. "Coming in second place (at the state championships) the last three years was good motivation."
As a coach, Keysaw has now led Fresno City (six state championships) and Moorpark College (three championships) to nine total in his career. He also has a trio of second place finishes under his belt and a third place in his 11 seasons with the Rams.
With their two individual champions, Fresno City now has 75 career champions, with Cerritos improving to 58 with their two titles. Both Falcon wins came against the Rams.
In a strange twist, four of the 10 weights featured competitors from the same school, including Palomar (133 pounds), Mt. San Antonio (141 pounds), Fresno City (149 pounds) and Sacramento City (184 pounds). It was five seasons ago that schools could qualify two wrestlers in two different weight classes. It was a three-team race for third place, with Sacramento City, Mt. San Antonio and Palomar battling it out. All three were guaranteed one individual state champion, as each school had teammates facing each other in the finals.
In the end, Sacramento City finished in third place, followed closely by Palomar (114 team points) and Mt. San Antonio (113.5 team points).
Below is a quick breakdown of each championship match:
125 Pounds - Julian Gayton (Fresno City) def. Landon McBride (Sierra), 8-1
After a tight first period, Gayton slowly started pulling away and after an escape and reversal in the second period, he held a solid 5-1 lead. Gayton picked up another takedown in the third period, and with his win, the Rams clinched the team championship.
3rd Place - Norberto Buenrostro (Cerritos) def. Morgan Sauceda (Sacramento City), 12-7
5th Place - Pedro Sarabia (Bakersfield) def. Elijah Diaz (Mt. SAC), 9-3
NOTE: Julian Gayton - State runner-up in 2015
133 Pounds - Alberto Garcia (Palomar) def. Jake Schaeffer (Palomar), 3-2
In a defensive battle between teammates, Garcia recorded a first period takedown and added an escape point midway through the second period for a 3-2 lead. Schaeffer made it a close match with a takedown in the third period, but there were only :08 seconds left on the clock.
3rd Place - Aaron Mora (Fresno City) pinned Pedro Corono (Bakersfield), 3:16
5th Place - Adrian Marrufo (West Hills) def. Devon Lyle (Chabot), TF, 20-5
NOTE: Jake Schaeffer - State 3rd Place in 2015
141 Pounds - Kevin Kelly (Mt. SAC) def. Casper Sherow (Mt. SAC), 3-2
The second match in a row pitting teammates, Kelly scored all three of his points in the third period, with an escape coming with 1:56 left and his championship-winning takedown with :40 seconds left. He was penalized for a stalling point with :06 seconds left, but Sherow could not record any points.
3rd Place - Hunter Minton (Sacramento City) def. Richard Pocock (Cerritos), 4-2
5th Place - Clinton McAlestar (Fresno City) def. Andrew Gomez (Santa Ana), TF, 20-2
149 Pounds - Dylan Martinez (Fresno City) def. Dean Esquibel (Fresno City), 11-2
Martinez broke open a close 4-2 third period match by scoring nine unanswered points, including a two-point and four-point near fall to put the match out of reach. It was the third of four matches that featured wrestlers from the same school.
3rd Place - Joseph Dominguez (Mt. SAC) pinned Chris Kimball (Palomar), 5:58
5th Place - Wyatt Gerl (Cerritos) def. Alex Aniciente (Lassen), Injury default
157 Pounds - Kevin James (Cerritos) def. Joshua Annis (Fresno City), 6-4
In one of the most entertaining matches of the night, James pulled out a close win. He opened with a first period takedown and added an escape point in the second period for a 3-1 lead. Annis made it a 3-2 match in the third period before James recorded a takedown with :58 seconds remaining. He then held on for the two-point win after adding a riding time point.
3rd Place - Noor Kathem (Modesto) def. Daniel Larmen (Sacramento City), 26-12
5th Place - Dylan Moreno (Cerritos) pinned Nathan Pimentel (West Hills), 1:50
NOTE: Joshua Annis - State 7th Place in 2015
165 Pounds - Derek Lee Loy (Sacramento City) def. Ryan Soto (Victor Valley), 7-4
After coming in second place at last year's state championship, Lee Loy (pictured, left) capped off his community college career with a win over Soto in front of his home crowd. Lee Loy led 4-1 after the first period, but it was a 4-3 score heading into the third. Lee Loy posted a reversal with 1:28 left in the third period and went on for the win.
3rd Place - Arman Fayyazi (Santa Ana) def. Blake Vasquez (Cerritos), 6-5
5th Place - Kevin Hope (Mt. SAC) def. Andrew Brodland (Sierra), win by forfeit
NOTE: Derek Lee Loy - State runner-up in 2015
174 Pounds - Alex Garcia (Cuesta) def. Reed South (Mt. SAC), 9-6
With a chance at third place as a team, Mt. SAC saw that slip away when Garcia earned the state championship win. The two had an eventful first period, with Garcia earning a takedown and two reversals and took a 6-4 lead into the second period. It was 7-4 when he added a pair of late reversals to clinch the title.
3rd Place - Niko Chapman (Sacramento City def. Zach Wally (Chabot), 9-3
5th Place - Jerrin Dean (Fresno City) def. Isaiah Leyva (Cerritos), 2-0
184 Pounds - Kalan Hastey (Sacramento City) def. Trevor Wright (Sacramento City), 13-3
The final match that saw teammates square off, Hastey jumped out quickly and took a 10-1 lead after the first period, which included a four-point near fall. Wright, who came in second place at 174 pounds last year, put a scare in Hastey with a two-point nearfall in the second period, but he was unable to score any more points.
3rd Place - Bruce Valdez (Palomar) pinned Barnabus Yi (Mt. SAC), 3:41
5th Place - Dom Freesha (Fresno City) def. Bryant Vasquez (Cerritos), 5-4 (OT)
NOTE: Trevor Wright - State runner-up at 174 pounds in 2015
197 Pounds - David Van Weems (Cerritos) def. Kalvin Stuckey (Fresno City), 4-3
In the state dual meet championship match, Van Weems defeated Stuckey, 26-11. But in the individual state championship match, Van Weems had his hands full and held on for a one-point win. He opened the scoring with a first period takedown, but saw his 3-1 lead turn into a tie match when Stuckey picked up a reversal with 1:08 remaining. Van Weems escaped 10 seconds later and was able to elude Stuckey and earned the win.
3rd Place - Wes Ruffner (Lassen) def. Andrew Ramos (Rio Hondo), 15-5
5th Place - Ben Sira (Chabot) def. Zach Mitchell (Bakersfield), 4-2
285 Pounds - Chance Eskam (Palomar) def. Brandon Sotomayor (East Los Angeles), 3-2
In the final match of the night, Eskam, a transfer from Arizona State University, withstood a late charge from Sotomayor to earn the championship. He scored the match's only takedown in the first period and was able to thwart a late charge by Sotomayor in the final minute.
3rd Place - Tristan Smith (Modesto) def. David Zavala (Cerritos), 1-0
5th Place - Ramiro Macias (Bakersfield) def. Angel Mariscal (Fresno City), 4-3 (OT)
Most Valuable Player - Derek Lee Loy - Sacramento City
Head Coach of the Year - Paul Keysaw - Fresno City
Assistant Coach of the Year - George Moreno - Fresno City
Most Falls in Shortest Time - Jerrin Dean (pictured, left) - Fresno City (3 Falls, 7:53)
-- John Van Gaston CCCSIA