By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
West Covina High School has fielded one of the top girls wrestling programs in the CIF-Southern Section in recent years, and the Bulldogs now are the best in state.
West Covina, led by 114-pounder Samantha Ortiz, captured the California Girls Wrestling Invitational, a pseudo state championship meet, in Hanford on Saturday. (To continue, click thread)
The Bulldogs, getting an individual state title from Ortiz, a runner-up finish from Alyssa Luna at 118 and a seven-place finish by Brenda Gonzalez at 165, edged Pacifica of Garden Grove by one point to win the championship. Northview, getting a state title from Brazel Marquez at 122, was seventh.
“We’ve had a strong girls program the past few years, so we’ve had our sights set on (winning a state title) a long time,” West Covina coach Donnie Stephens said. “To (win it) is huge for the girls and the program. We’re all super excited.
“The sport is growing every year, so it’s going to be that much harder to win one. It might not come around again.”
Ortiz enjoyed a dominating performance to easily win the 114-pound division. She went 5-0 and had four wins by fall before beating Miya Summers of Berkeley 9-1 in the championship bout.
“She’s been on fire,” Stephens said. “She dominated last year, so I expected the same this year. You don’t like to call it before it happens. But she was expected to win state.
“She is so physical. Other (girl wrestlers) have a finesse style, but she’s so physical.”
Ortiz practices with Luna and that helped her teammate to a runner-up finish at 118. Luna had four wins by fall before losing by pin to Jacarra Winchester of Arroyo of San Lorenzo in the title bout.
“She was trying to force it,” Stephens said. “It was looking like we might need the pin to win (the tournament). It turned out we didn’t need it. But she got caught trying to be aggressive.
“Still, it was big turnaround for her. She went from not placing at (CIF Southern California Regionals) last year to winning CIF and being state runner-up.”
Marquez was the other state champion. She rebounded from a triple-overtime loss to Katrina Perez of El Centro Central Union at the Southern California Regionals with a triple-overtime victory over Perez to take the 122-pound title.
“There wasn’t a lot different than the week before,” Northview coach David Ochoa said. “She lost a close match and won a close match that featured two of the best in the country.
“I think Brazel never gave up. She finally got an escape and won it. It was that close.”
Gonzalez, who lost her first match, went 5-1 in the consolation round, including three wins by fall, to take seventh at 165.
Diamond Ranch’s Jade Medina was the other area competitor to place and took sixth at 138.
League finals schedule
Most leagues will host individual boys championship tournaments on Saturday, with top competitors advancing to their respective CIF-SS division championships at various sites on Feb. 19-20.
Tournament hosts are Arroyo (Mission Valley), Gladstone (Montview), Charter Oak (Miramonte), South Hills (San Antonio), Damien (Sierra) and Northview (Valle Vista).
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