By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
The road to a regional title will run through Northview High School this weekend.
The Covina school will host the CIF State Southern Region girls wrestling individual championships on Friday and Saturday. The meet, which begins Friday at 2 p.m. with preliminary bouts, will feature close to 400 competitors in 14 weight classes. Champions will be crowned Saturday, with competition beginning at 9 a.m. (To continue, click thread)
“The competition is expected to be good,” said Northview coach and tournament director David Ochoa, who will pull double duty running the tournament and coaching his team. “It’s just another tournament and we’ve run tournaments before.
“My staff coaches the kids, so I’m OK from that aspect. Plus, I get a lot of support from the principal. Our only concern is that our gym is not the biggest gym, so if it rains – and it’s expected to – it’s going to be crowded.”
Northview and West Covina are expected to lead the list of Valley entries and have competitors who will be in the running for regional titles.
Northview is led by Vanessa Gomez at 103 pounds, Brazel Marquez at 122, Joanna Navarro at 128 and Veronica Gomez at 235.
“I think we should do well,” Ochoa said. “Brazel is one of the top two in her weight class in the country, so she has an excellent chance to win it. Vanessa has been to the finals twice, so we’re hoping she can get another chance.”
Marquez, who won a regional title last season, is expected to be challenged by Central Union’s Katrina Perez, who is seeking her fourth regional title. If the seeds hold true to form, the Marquez-Perez battle is expected to be the match of the day.
West Covina is led by Samantha Ortiz at 114 and Alyssa Luna at 118.
“Sam and Alyssa have a good chance to win,” West Covina coach Donnie Stephens said.
Baldwin Park and La Puente also are expected to have competitors who can compete for individual titles.
Martinez shines at invite
Northview’s Frank Martinez was expected to be one of the top returning wrestlers in the state this season.
He certainly is living up to the billing.
The senior, who placed sixth at last season’s CIF State championships, showed he’s ready to compete for a state title after earning middle-weight MVP honors at the 5-Counties Invitational at Fountain Valley High.
The annual tournament is considered a barometer of what to expect at the state championships in March, and Martinez rolled through the 140-pound bracket.
He went 5-0, won two by fall and one by technical fall before scoring a 5-4 victory over Bakersfield’s Timmy Box in the finals.
Arroyo also fared well at the tournament, with senior Noel Blanco taking third at 145 and junior Christian Betancourt finishing seventh at 103.
Blanco, who advanced to the state meet last season, went 1-1 in the championship bracket before winning four consolation matches to take third. He beat Camarillo’s Matt Hickman by default in the consolation final.
Betancourt advanced to the quarterfinals before going 2-1 in the consolation bracket to take seventh.
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