By John Honell, Correspondent
The San Gabriel Valley lived up to its reputation as the birthplace of girls high school wrestling at the 2010 CIF Girls Southern Regional on Friday and Saturday at Northview High School. West Covina had two individual champions in Samantha Ortiz at 114 pounds and Alyssa Luna (118). West Covina, Northview and Baldwin Park finished third, fourth and sixth, respectively, in the team standings as Pacifica edged Pioneer Valley, 177-176, for first place. (To read story, click thread)
The event is the unofficial CIF State Championship for Southern California. Next year’s event will serve as a qualifier in which the top eight finishers in each weight class advance to a state meet against schools from Northern California.
Ortiz, only a sophomore, won her match by fall at 3:03 over Cynthia Sanchez of Pioneer Valley. Ortiz is 18-0 against girls this year and just won the Monrovia boys frosh-soph tournament two weeks ago.
“I used a double-wing move to get the pin,” Ortiz said. “My dad is a coach and I’ve wanted this forever.”
Luna, a junior, entered the tournament with a 20-0 record against girls. She dominated her match until she pinned Amri Mojica of Lancaster for the 118-pound title.
“I knew I could do it,” Luna said. “I didn’t place the last two years so I just dedicated my life to this all year long and it paid off.”
The Bulldogs had five other placers in Justine Stewart at 98 pounds, Siobahn Esquerra (108), Jessica Vasquez (132), Brenda Gonzalez (189) and Marie Ramirez (235).
Sergio Ortiz, a graduate of Baldwin Park High School, is the father of Samantha and has been an assistant at West Covina for the last five years.
“It’s a great feeling to have Samantha win,” he said. “I work with both boys and girls. They all work hard.
“The only differences are the girls seem to wear their feelings (on their sleeves) a lot more and they smell better.”
Northview didn’t have an individual champion but did have two runners-up in Valerie Hernandez at 235 pounds and Brazel Marquez at 122. Other medalists included Vanessa Gomez at 103 pounds and Joanna Navarro (126).
Baldwin Park, which has made major strides in girls wrestling in the last few years, boasted medalists in Daisy Mendez at 118 pounds, Natahalie Altamiranos (122) and Vanessa Gonzalez (132).
“We placed three girls,” Baldwin Park coach Raul Tapia said. “That is better than expected, but it was really exciting to have all 11 here on the second day.”
“The level of female wrestling has grown,” Northview coach and tournament director David Ochoa said. “Girls don’t compete in boys meets so much anymore. We have our own girls teams and there is a a full schedule of girls tournaments.
“There are a lot of opportunities for girls to get college scholarships as there are new college programs starting every year.”
Other local medalists included Jessica Maag of Covina at 126 pounds, Brianna Munoz of San Dimas and Veronica Lopez of Bassett at 138, Ashley Montellano, a 165-pounder from Diamond Ranch and Angie Lazcano of South Hills and Angelica Curiel of South El Monte at 235.