Wrestling: Northview, West Covina win titles

Saturday’s CIF-SS Dual Meet Wrestling Finals
Division 2

Northview 39, Servite 27
Division 4
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.


626-962-8811, ext. 2296

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  • Joe

    Wow great article! thanks, Two local Schools win C.I.F. and it’s not the lead story on the sports page?

  • BOB

    West Covina unrated WINS CIF, no story. Northview beat CIF beat- All World CIF power house Servite, no story.You guys drop the ball on this one.

  • intheknow

    If it’s not BA, or Fred can’t copy and paste an an article or link, most of the time it doesn’t get written…lol.

  • Sorry, people, but us in the newspaper business, these are trying times right now, with forced vacations and furloughs. I had to take a vacation last week, and was unable to do what I’ve done the past few years, which is cover one team’s day at the duals and round up the rest with any info I could get, which is hard when these dual championships are scattered all over the Southern Section. West Covina’s big win was in Redlands and Northview’s at Moorpark. These are difficult to cover, because, unlike basketball, baseball or most CIF-SS sports, the tournament is in one day, and you have to guess who might win. Two years ago, I got lucky covering South Hills when they won, then got a few results from the other tournaments over the phone. This year, we at the paper have to take two weeks of vacation before the end of March, and I reasoned, if we have to miss one week of wrestling’s tough five-week stretch of league finals, dual championships, individual championships, Masters and state meet, the dual meet was the one to miss. I will most likely be at Brea Olinda next week, since that division has more area competitors who could win, then I will track down the rest. We will also have someone at Masters Meet, and I will be at state championships in Bakersfield.
    For now, I will have a story in Tuesday’s paper on the Northview and West Covina’s success at the duals.

  • NorthviewMOM

    Vikings win! Soooo Proud of you Viking Men, it showed a lot of heart and honor to accomplish this HUGE WIN! CONGRATULATIONS VIKINGS YOU ALWAYS MAKE US PROUD.


    Wrestling is such a mental sport as well as physical so coming out on top shows great pride in yourselves and your teams!


    It’s not shocking that the Tribune does not recognize the wrestlers in our area. This is not the first time either. You always seem to put all the other sports in the paper but it’s unfortunate that wrestling is left out. West Covina Bulldogs had two CIF Championships in one day. The girls are CIF Champs and placed 11 girls going to State this year. The boys were CIF Champs at the Duals in Redlands and yes we were underdogs. The parents of our wrestlers at West Covina are proud of our boys and girls, your hard work paid off.

    Congratulations to Northview for the CIF Championship also! Great team and really like your coaches! Good luck to all the boys in CIF individuals!

  • nv2006

    Great job Northview boy’s and girl’s, strong showing by two young team. Have some more wrestling this season and I look forward to seeing you out there.
    West Covina two CIF champs? Congratulations!
    Very well earned titles.

  • Fred Robledo

    WC Bulldog, to say we don’t recognize wrestling is completely false. Steve wrote about league finals and is covering the CIF finals, Masters and State. And though it’s late, Northview and West Covina’s championships were in today’s newspaper. At the end of the season, we honor a first team, coach of the year and player of the year on the front page, which is more than most newspapers do.

  • Anonymous

    You covered it 3 days later and after someone told you they won. But there was an article on SV and LC the next day at their duals tourney where neither was expected to win. I usually am OK with how you cover things, not here. I have read nothing in your paper or blog about who won the Hacienda league in wrestling this year. Dont patronize either school. The person who covered SV and LC at duals could easily have covered either one.

  • Fred Robledo

    You’re assuming that we knew who would win titles. If you follow wrestling, you know as I do that duals are the most unpredictable because in many cases over the years, some of the great wrestling teams don’t send their best wrestlers to duals to save them for CIF, Masters and State, which is why you can have unseeded teams and teams you don’t expect win championships. With six different dual finals spread across the Southern Section the responsible thing to do with one reporter available was cover the meet in our backyard at Monrovia High School. We have tight deadlines on a Saturday night, there was no way one reporter could go back to the office and track down other dual final results while he’s writing his story on deadline. I don’t expect you to understand, but there were other issues with our computer system in crisis mode from Thursday to Sunday night. We finally got everything up and running again on Monday morning. Again, we apologize, I don’t know what else we can do. There is a story and picture of West Covina on the front page of today’s Tribune.

    Also, Steve’s write-up from league finals is below, which included the Montview, Baseline, Sierra and Valle Vista League league finals. If a league final wasn’t included on that night, it wasn’t because Steve didn’t make the effort of a phone call seeking results, it was because he couldn’t reach or didn’t get a phone call back to round-up a particular league over the phone. When you have multiple league finals on one night, which is the case in wrestling league finals, you need help from tournament directors to return calls or phone in results to the local newspaper.
    Below is Steve’s league finals roundup..

  • Two CIF’s

    Who if any played both football and wrestled for WCHS?

  • don chonkolero

    watch the transfers flood in to west covina. bandwagon begin!!!

  • bulldog parent

    @ Two CIF’s

    Off the top of my head. There are at least 3 who wrestled and played Varsity football. They are Bradley O, Carlos M, and Eddie L. Congrats again Bulldogs!

  • Bulldog1

    Your right, NorthviewMOM, Wrestling is such a mental sport as well as physical

    Thats why we are having balls out 2010 2011 season this year in all sports. Baseball is next and we, I Guarantee will win CIF and surprise all you doubters at Diamond Bar who I predict will finish second behind us.

    Congrats to our brothers at Northview, Good job with your wrestling team this year!

  • Wrestling world

    Please stop acting as if you guys at the paper really do care about what happens in the wrestling world. Wow shocking you guys posted results on league finals. Where were you for the rest of the tornaments? No coverage on one of the toughest tornaments in the state “Five Counties,” in which Northview attended, or even with local tornaments like ones at West Covina High School. So just do everyone in the wrestling world a favor and man up to your false statements that you people in the newspaper actually care about the sport.

  • Dan

    Congratulations to the Bulldog family,
    3 CIF titles, pretty nice school year, correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the Lady Bulldog wrestlers won state last year too didn’t they?