By Steve Ramirez, Staff Writer
February is about surviving and advancing for high school wrestlers.
It’s the same this weekend, when 35 area competitors look to advance to next week’s CIF State championships when they take part in the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet at Temecula High School. The meet begins today at 10 a.m., with preliminary bouts, and concludes Saturday. The top nine competitors in each weight class advance to the state championships, scheduled for March 5-6 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
“I tell my guys it’s all about advancing,” said South Hills coach Robb Froh, whose Huskies will have an area-best seven competitors. “While it’s nice to win a (Southern Section title), what you really want is to be (at Bakersfield).”
Area competitors, led by traditional-powers Northview, South Hills and West Covina, are expected to be in position to punch their tickets north.
Atop the area contingent is Northview senior Frank Martinez, who is the favorite to win at 140 pounds after winning at the 5-Counties Invitational earlier this season and following it up with Valle Vista League and CIF-SS Northern Division championships the past few weeks. He is ranked No. 1 in the state at 140.
Others who will be in position to score titles are Rosemead’s Matt Fregoso, who is ranked No. 9 in the state at 119, and Arroyo’s Noel Blanco, ranked No. 7 at 145. Fregoso won a Southern Division title last week, while Blanco finished second in that division.
Area competitors who are expected to be in position to advance include Northview’s Nick Jacobo (103), who was lower-weight MVP at the Northern Division finals; Glendora’s Haydn Scharbrough (140), who was Eastern Division lower-weight MVP; and La Puente’s Jesus Vargas (215), who qualified for the state last season and finished second at the Southern Division finals last week.
Others to look out for are South Hills’ Trevor Behr (140), Sierra Vista’s Jose Maldonado (135), Glendora’s Jacob Hoxsey (160) and Diamond Bar’s Brian Ryu (heavyweight).
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