TEMECULA – It remains to be seen if the Northview High School wrestling team can win a CIF State championship.
But one thing is certain – the Vikings are the best in the CIF-Southern Section.
Northview flexed its muscle Saturday, qualifying a school-record seven for next weekend’s state championships in Bakersfield and outdueling Corona Centennial for the team title, 101.5-98, during the CIF-SS Masters Meet at Temecula Valley High School.
Sophomore Bryan Salinas led the Vikings’ charge with a second-place finish at 145pounds. Other Northview qualifiers were Vincent Parra (106, third), Eric Ochoa (113, eighth), Daniel Valles (136, third), Javier Arellano (152, ninth), Steven Lopez (160, eighth) and Eddie Bernal (182, eighth).
The Vikings’ dominance capped the area performances that saw 14 competitors qualify for state, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Chino Hills’ Christian Martin, who beat Diamond Bar’s Nathan Pike, 10-2, in the 113-pound final, was the area’s only champion. Other local qualifiers were Pike, Walnut’s Michael Sill (132, fourth), Rosemead’s Alberto Flores (145, seventh), South Hills’ Trevor Behr (152, fourth), West Covina’s Brad Ojala (170, fifth) and Chino Hills’ Brody Goens (182, sixth).
Northview assistant coach Bobby Bellamy: “This tournament’s a meat-grinder. It’s extremely difficult to get through this tournament and healthy to the next tournament. I’m just pleased we got seven guys to state. It’s the most guys Northview has ever had. It’s another milestone. We’ve never had seven state qualifiers. Hopefully, we can take them to Bakersfield and get them on the podium. I’m just so ecstatic. I’m overwhelmed with joy. I’m just so pleased with their effort. We have kids like Eric Ochoa, who placed fifth at (divisionals) and placed eighth here. Those kind of efforts … it’s just amazing.”
Chino Hills Christian Martin: I thought I could get to the semifinals and finals. But to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure I could take it. After I saw who I had in the finals, I was confident I could beat him. I just went out there and wrestled smart.”