By Stephen Ramirez, @SteveRRamirez on Twitter
ONTARIO – The road to the CIF State wrestling championships didn’t run through the San Gabriel Valley on Saturday. It just seemed that way.
The area, led by brothers Evan and Zander Wick, of San Marino High School, scored four individual titles and had 19 competitors qualify for next weekend’s state meet in Bakersfield after putting together solid performances at the CIF-Southern Section Masters championships at Citizen’s Business Bank Arena.
The area champions were the Wicks, who won titles at 120 and 26 pounds, respectively; San Dimas’ David Gonzalez (106) and Northview’s Ricky Padilla (152). All followed up divisional championships last weekend with Master titles on Saturday.
Northview, whith a section-best six state qualifiers, won the team title, with San Marino, which qualified three, finishing eighth.
Also qualifying from the area were Northview’s Richard Casillas (106, sixth), Vincent Parra (113, third), John Rivera (132, third), Anthony Martinez (182, eighth) and Bryan Salinas (160, second); Rowland’s Miguel Juarez (106, seventh) and Mario Lopez (138, fifth); Bishop Amat’s Nigel Ruiz (145, second); San Marino’s Julian Flores (132, second); Bonita’s Seth Morales (170, third); Damien’s Kaulin Garcia (182, ninth); Diamond Bar’s Dandrell Johnson (220, fourth); Arroyo’s Lois Hernandez (220, eighth); Charter Oak’s Joseph Alexander (132, fifth) and Glendora’s Guillermo Padilla (285, fifth).
Northview, with a section-best six state qualifiers won the team title.
For Zander Wick, Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Riverside King’s Kristian Vasquez, was all about redemption. Vasquez eliminated him at Masters last season.
He got some revenge after using two takedowns for a 4-1 lead before winning, 4-2.
“It was a drive from last year, because I didn’t make state,” Wick said. “Really, it was just me wanting to come back and win this, because last year I didn’t place.”
Evan Wick, who qualified for the state meet last season, but didn’t place, gets a second chance after wins by fall and technical fall and two decisions, including a 6-2 victory over West Torrance’s Yoshito Funakoshi in the finals.
“It’s definitely good,” Wick said. “I hadn’t had a Masters title under by belt yet. It’s good to come here, win CIF, win Masters. It’s good momentum for state.”
Gonzalez, ranked in state top 10 earlier this season, won against a higher-ranked opponent for the second consecutive week. Last week, he beat Northview’s Casillas, who was sixth in the state, for the Central Division title and followed it up with a 2-0 win over Alta Loma’s Zander Silva, who was rated No. 2. He scored a takedown with three seconds left in the first period than withstood a switch attempt by Silva in the final seconds.
“It feels really great,” Gonzalez said. “Last week, I had a tough match against Casillas and won, and this week against Silva. It’s a great to win a CIF belt, then a Masters belt. State is up next.”
Padilla, ranked No. 11 state, was dominant in winning at 152. He jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 7-1 before beating Hemet’s Caleb Wilson, 14-6.
“It’s great just to be here,” Padilla said. “I’m just looking forward to continuing that at state and placing.”
Nigel, who lost to Corona Santiago’s Justin Thomas, 7-2, is Amat’s first state qualifier since 2008.
Salinas, ranked No. 1 in the state, lost in an upset at 160.