By Stephen Ramirez
ONTARIO >> Northview and San Marino high schools have been the area wrestling kings the past two seasons and they showed off their dominance Saturday.
The two area powers combined for seven individual titles at the CIF Southern Section Masters to finish second and third at Citizens Business Bank Arena. Calvary Chapel, of Santa Ana, topped the team standings.
San Marino scored a meet-best four titles, getting championship efforts from Zander Silva (126), Julian Flores (138) and the twin brothers tandem of Zander (145) and Evan Wick (152). Northview countered with titles from Eddie Flores (106), Richie Casillas (120) and Jackson Serna (Heavyweight). Casillas, Silva, Julian Flores and Zander Wick were repeat winners. Flores also won a state title last season.
The area qualified 20 to next week’s CIF State championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. The other area qualifiers were Northview’s Dominick Arellano (113, fifth), Ricky Marin (132, eighth), Steven Comstock (170, fourth) and Gabriel Ortiz (126, ninth); San Marino’s Aaron Padilla (160, eighth); Bishop Amat’s Sidney Flores (113, sixth); Gladstone’s Mario Barios (120, eighth); Walnut’s Micah Maes (160, seventh); Charter Oak’s Vincent Zavala (132, fifth); Santa Fe’s Damian Valdez (106, ninth); Rowland’s Ethan Vistro (195, sixth); California’s James Udell (220, ninth) and South Hills’ Austin Moreno (285, ninth).
Northview led the area and section with seven qualifiers.
“This tournament is so challenging that our mind-set was to just get our kids through and qualified to state,” Northview coach Bobby Bellamy said. “If we had an opportunity to win the tournament, we’d be OK with that. If not, (then it’s OK). I’m very pleased. We got seven kids to state, the most we’ve ever had. I’m extremely ecstatic.”
Casillas was also lower-weight MVP after scoring two wins by fall and one by technical fall. He beat La Quinta’s Joe Avila, 8-4, in the final.
“I wanted to get that two-time Masters championship,” Casillas said. “I just came out with all I had to accomplish my goal.”
Julian Flores, who won at 132 at the state championships last season, had one of more dominant finals, easily beating Mater Dei’s Devin Pacheco, 16-2, to take the 138 bout. He also had two wins by fall en route to the final.
“Winning two Masters titles is a blessing,” Flores said. “My first two years, I didn’t do well, so it’s a blessing. It’s an accomplishment.
“I just tried to take the match myself, and not let someone else control it. I just did my thing, my offense and don’t let him use his offense.”
Evan Wick, who was second last season, used a late takedown to score a 3-2 win over Riverside King’s Luke Troy, who transferred from San Marino.
“I was down by one, so I had to do what I had to do,” Wick said. “I got him with a single leg (takedown). We were (an inch) from being out of bounds, so I had to drag him back in. I finally got him back in, got the takedown, then rode him out for 21 seconds to take the win.”
Serna, ranked in the state top 10 by The California Wrestler all season, made history for the second consecutive week. He’s Northview’s first Masters heavyweight champion after becoming the Vikings’ first divisional heavyweight titlist last week. “It feels great, but a lot of hard work,” Serna said. “It’s a team effort, too. I couldn’t do this without my coaching staff. It’s a great honor. I hope I can win state next week, too.”
By Stephen Ramirez