Saturday’s CIF-SS Dual Meet Wrestling Finals
Northview 39, Servite 27
West Covina 31. Ventura 28
By Steve Ramirez
It was a crowning achievement for two of the area’s premier high school wrestling programs. But in a way, it was more than that for Northview and West Covina, who each won CIF-Southern Section dual division titles Saturday. The Bulldogs girls team also dominated en route to winning the CIF Southern California Regional championship.
“It’s, overall for our program, the greatest day in our program, to have both our boys and girls win CIF,” West Covina coach Donnie Stephens said. “We’re one big family. It was a pretty awesome feeling to see one team running off the bus to meet the other who was running out of the gym. It was a great day.” (To continue, click thread)
Above: West Covina wrestlers Adam Caballero, Chris Caballero, Eddie Lagarda and Danny Arceo celebrating the Bulldogs’ wrestling title.
For Northview, it went beyond just winning. It was the culmination of a pledge for the Vikings, who have dedicated their season to former Northview wrestler Jesse Cruz, who died this past fall. Northview assistant coach Bobby Bellamy said the feeling of winning was unlike any other he had experienced for a program that has been the Valley’s best for more than a decade.
“Honestly, with the passing of Jesse Cruz and dedicating the season to him and his family, it put a different light on this,” Bellamy said. “It puts winning this in a different category, more than any other title we’ve won previously.
“It was special, and the kids felt they were wrestling for something bigger than the program.”
Northview, the division’s top seed after winning the Valle Vista League, rolled through the
bracket before scoring a 39-27 victory over Servite in the final to win the Division 2 title at Moorpark High. It was the Vikings’ fifth dual title.
“Each kid stepped up big time during the tournament,” Bellamy said. “It truly was a team effort, driven by heart.
“This team is so close-knit. They fight for each other and find a way to pull through. They are young, but what makes this team special is that they just don’t know any better. They just go out and compete.”
West Covina was the surprise champion in Division 4 after earning an at-large selection. The Bulldogs won their first three matches by an average of 53-16 before securing their second dual title with a 31-28 victory over traditional power Ventura at Redlands East Valley High School.
“What makes this extra exciting is to do it by not being seeded,” Stephens said. “But (the Hacienda League) is what prepared us for this. Our league was super tough.
“Our guys never felt like they didn’t belong (in the tournament). Their take was, `No one has seen our best. We have it all together. Let’s do it.’ ”
The Bulldogs’ girls team dominated the Southern California Regional tournament at Beaumont High with two champions and 11 qualifiers for the first CIF State girls invitational, scheduled for Lemoore High on Feb. 25-26.
West Covina’s two champions were Samantha Ortiz and Alyssa Luna, who won at 114 and 122, respectively.
“The one thing I’m really proud of is how the girls who were not really known stepped up,” Stephens said. “You can count on your superstars, but it was the girls who you don’t know who stepped up.”
The area also produced nine finalists. Also making the finals were Northview’s Vanessa Gomez (103), Brazel Marquez (122) and Johanna Navarro (126), La Puente’s Sueheidi Vargas (138) and West Covina’s Siobhan Esquerra (118), Khaila Hall (154) and Marie Ramirez (235). All qualified for next weekend’s state meet.
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