Days after Thanksgiving, many high school wrestlers throughout the state of California took the mats as the initial day of the 2017-18 season was underway. During the first week, we learned that 2016 CIF state champion Jerzie Estrada is back in California. Cael Valencia is another freshman to follow this season; After missing most of the 2016-17 season, Marcos Polanco is glad to be on the mats; Marissa Ritchie of ML King has positioned herself as probably the new No. 1 in the state, and St. John Bosco is looking forward to dominating this season.
Welcome Back to California Jerzie Estrada
Back in 2016, freshman Jerzie Estrada was one of three wrestlers from the Selma girl’s wrestling squad to win an individual state championship. Her outstanding performance at the CIF state tournament helped the Bears win the state title with 103 points; Just 5 ½ points from Southern California power Hillcrest High. As a sophomore, Jerzie moved back to her home state of Colorado, but now as a junior in high school, Estrada is again in California and made the best of her first tournament in the golden state by winning the Inland Empire Girls Season Opener in dominating fashion at 150-pounds. Prior to the finals, Jerzie had pinned all three foes she faced. In the finals, Jerzie got the 11-2 major decision on Julia Padilla of Northview to win the event. Estrada will be one of the heavy favorites during the 2017-18 season to claim an individual state title for Selma High.
Another Valencia Not Named Zahid or Anthony Making Waves
Yes. Another Valencia is wrestling in high school and has already proven on week one of the 2018-17 season why he should be considered a force in the Southern Section and the state. You see, Cael, not Cael Sanderson, but Cael Valencia, faced a tough challenger in Aaron Diaz of Canyon Springs at the South Torrance Spartan Kickoff this past weekend. Without showing any distress against a highly opponent as Diaz, Cael wrestled his tail off and came out victorious 9-4 after three intensive periods. The key to his win was riding Diaz the whole third period. Cael is a wrestler to keep an eye on as he will surprise some folks this season and hopefully, make the podium in March at the CIF state tournament.
Polanco is Glad to be Back on the Mats
As a ninth-grader, Polanco punched his ticket to the CIF state tournament, and the future looked bright for this young Friar. However, as a sophomore, injuries derail his dreams of being a four-time state qualifier and even a state medalist. But now as a junior in a new school (Bishop Amat) and healthier, Polanco returned this weekend to the mats at the Los Osos tournament where he finished the day with a 4-0 record at 138-pounds. His closest bout of the day came in the semifinal round where he obtained the major decision over his California High opponent, 14-2. His finals opponent Christian Pimental of Rancho Verde took a significant pounding as he was pinned in just one minute. Polanco and his teammates will be back in action next weekend at the Sierra Vista Duals in Baldwin Park, California.
That Girl is On Fire
That girl I am talking about is Marissa Ritchie of ML King. The junior did one heck of a job by winning the Inland Empire Girls Season Opener by defeating two great wrestlers with an outstanding resume. By winning the event, Ritchie probably placed herself on top of the list of the best 111-pound wrestlers in the golden state. She was this week’s TCW wrestler of the week. Click on the link to read why she won the award. TCW Wrestler of the Week: Marissa Ritchie of ML King (SS)
Ten Champions for St. John Bosco
St. John Bosco won the South Torrance Spartan Kickoff with 11 medalists and ten champions. It was the most individual champions since the Braves began attending the event in 2016. In fact, this year, they also scored the most points in the history of the tournament with 325 points; 191 ½ more points than team runner-up Ventura High. Louis Rojas (152) and Nathan Haas (170) were the lone wrestlers for the Braves to pin all their opponents. Nevertheless, the Braves were without super freshman Isaac Salas at 113-pounds. If all their wrestlers wrestle in the right weight class, expect the Braves to have one of their best seasons ever this year.