Five Things to Watch at the California Junior College State Tournament

ABNER ROMERO of Fresno City

 


The most significant stretch of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) will begin at 10 am on Friday at Cerritos College with the first two rounds scheduled to take place. There will be 120 wrestlers vying to become state champions in the ten contested matches. Only 10 wrestlers, 12 in each weight, will stand atop the podium Saturday. It should be an exciting two days, with a lot of interesting stories and memorable moments.

Team race?

Is there a team race? With Fresno City dominating the 2018 CCCAA season, they should hand them the team trophy. All kidding aside, the Rams have won the CCCAA state title the past two years and looks to be the clear-cut-favorite to win it once again this weekend. Coach Paul Keysaw and staff always have their wrestler’s ready no just in the regular season, but during the postseason as well. Nothing is guaranteed in life, but with 12 state qualifiers scoring points for the Rams, Fresno City could be leaving Saturday night with many individual titles and the team state trophy.

Returning for a second state title

Out of the entire California Junior College system, there are only two grapplers back this season in hunt of their second state title. Isaiah Perez (Fresno City) has been on fire all season dominating the competition. His lone stumble in the season occurred early in the season, but he has rebounded back with no issues. He won his second Northern Region championship at 133 last week and should do the same this week. Anthony Cress of Chabot is one of two undefeated wrestlers in the CCCAA. He has outclassed the competition with his flashy style and aggressive technique. He’s the favorite to win it all at 174.

Freshman watch

Here’s a look at some freshmen who could shine in their CCCAA debuts. Luis Ramos of Fresno City (141) returned to the squad after suffering an injury that would’ve sidelined the average wrestler to win a Northern Region tournament. Ruben Garcia of Fresno City (157) has yet to drop a match this season. He and teammate Conrad Lopez should meet once again this weekend in the finals as they are in the opposite side of the brackets. Mace Anderson of Palomar College (165) won a Southern Region title to help the Comets win the region tournament. He’s the No. 1 wrestler in his weight and the favorite. Zack Gonzales of Cerritos won a region championship at 285-pounds despite not being the favorite to do so.

How’s the weather?

Since Wednesday night Southern California has been slammed by heavy rainfall, pockets of steady snow and mudslide occurrences as the latest winter storm sweeps its way through the region. The conditions have caused major traffic disruptions and flash flood threats as rockslides and mudslides have forced road closures. Nevertheless, the forecast for Friday and Saturday is nothing but sunshine in the ’70s. It would be ashamed for many folks to miss this great event due to them thinking that rain will be in the forecast.

Getting to the podium

Most wrestlers know winning a CCCAA state title is difficult, so they set more realistic goals of earning a medal and standing on the podium as a top-eight finisher. Aiming for a medal and or All-American honors should be Marcus Hutcherson (Bakersfield) who was not the favorite to be a region champion at 125 but against all the odds completed the feat. Oliver Rivero (Santa Ana) who placed third at the region event at 133. He had an early season win over Isaiah Perez of Fresno City to give him his lone blemish of the season. This weekend, he will attempt to knock him once again out. Zack Gonzales (Cerritos) won a region championship and will look to captured All-American status this weekend.