By Steve Ramirez
TEMECULA – For Northview High School wrestlers Daniel Valles and Bryan Salinas, Saturday’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet was all about redemption.
Salinas, who lost here in the finals last season, and Valles, who lost in the finals at last weekend’s Central Division championships, wanted to make up for coming up short previously.
Valles won at 138 pounds and Salinas at 170 to lead the area efforts at Temecula Valley High School.
The area, including Valles and Salinas, qualified 15 competitors to next weekend’s CIF State championships, scheduled for Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
St. John Bocos’s Aaron Pico, who is from Whittier, was lower weight MVP after winning at 132 with four wins by fall and one by default.
Northview, which won the team title last season, finished third with 121 points despite sharing top honors with Santiago, of Corona, with seven qualifiers each. Santiago finished first with 168. Bosco was second at 144.
Other area qualifiers were Northview’s Vincent Parra (106, third), Eric Ochoa (113, fourth), Tony Arellano (132, seventh), Ricky Padilla (145, fourth) and Steven Lopez (160, eighth); San Marino’s Evan Wick (113, second) and Julian Flores (120, third); Glendora’s Thomas Tello (132, fourth); Rowland’s Mario Lopez (138, second); Walnut’s Michael Sill (138, eighth); Chino Hills’ Garrick Gurney (170, fifth); Diamond Bar’s Nathan Rodriguez (182, seventh) and La Habra’s Michael Rangel (106, ninth).
Valles got some revenge on Lopez, who beat him for the Central title last week.
“When I lost to him last week, I knew I could beat him, but I just wasn’t my best last week,” said Valles, who scored a 6-3 victory over Lopez on Saturday. “I just trained harder during the week and knew I could beat him this time.
“It all paid off and I’m ready for state.”
Valles used two takedowns for a 4-0 lead. He withstood an escape and takedown from Lopez with a takedown in the third to score the 6-3 victory.
“It was important to get the lead early,” Valles said. “Being up, I knew I wouldn’t have to go for it as much (late in the bout), so I just did my best.
“I mis-read his shot, then battled back.”
Salinas was solid against Riverside King’s Harlan Kistler, scoring two takedowns for a 4-0 advantage before winning 7-3. He will advance to the state meet for the third consecutive season.
“It means a lot (to come back here and win),” Salinas said. “I just have to keep improving and compete at state.
“I was able to keep constant pressure and wait for him to shoot, and I got him.”
Wick, who has had a solid season as a freshman, lost by fall to defending state champ Zahid Valencia, of St. John Bosco, Valencia, who is No. 1 in the state, pinned Wick at 1:48.
“He got me with a half-nelson,” Wick said. “I really didn’t wrestle smart when he got it. I reached back for it, and he just sunk it deeper.”
It was a solid tournament for the freshman, who had one win by fall and two decisions before losing to Valencia.
“I think I wrestled really well until (the final),” Wick said. “I just wish I would have wrestled a little smarter in the finals.”
California’s Adrian Chavez (132) and West Covina’s Bradely Ojala (170) lost in ninth-place bouts and did not advance.
By Steve Ramirez