[BYNAME]By Steve Ramirez
BAKERSFIELD — Joey Davis, like he does against most opponents, took down history Saturday.
Davis earned his spot in area wrestling lore, scoring a 12-4 victory over Newark Memorial’s Victor Pereira to score his second consecutive state title during Saturday’s CIF State championships at Rabobank Arena.
The 160-pound competitor, who beat Pereira for the 152-pound title last season, is the second area wrestler to win back-to-back state titles, joining Santa Fe alum Lyndon Campbell, who pulled the feat in 1986 and ’87 at 119 and 126 pounds.
Davis was joined on the podium with La Habra’s Elder Cruz, who took sixth at 195.
But Saturday was reserved for Davis and history.
“It feels good,” said Davis, who improved to 55-1, with the only loss coming on a controversial default two weeks ago. “I trained so hard for it.
“Last year felt a little bit better, it being my first. The second one feels good. But this one was just a mission.”
A mission accomplished by dominance. Davis, who also finished second as a sophomore scored four wins by fall, one by technical fall and two decisions.
His toughest match of the weekend came in the semifinals Saturday morning with a 7-3 victory over McNair’s Jim Wilson. Davis, getting two takedowns built a 4-1 lead after two periods before using an escape and takedown in the third to win 7-3 and advance to the finals for the third consecutive season.
“I think (Wilson) would have given me a better match (in the finals),” Davis said. “Not to take anything away from Pereira. He’s a real tough kid, but Jim Wilson is really good. He gave me a good match.”
But, as in most cases during the past three years, not good enough. And it was the same against Pereira in the finals. The Santa Fe senior methodically took apart the North Coast Section champion. He led 4-1 after the first period before scoring two takedowns in the second for an 8-3 advantage.
Davis followed with two more in the third to win, 12-4.
“I just had to keep moving, keep moving,” said Davis, who didn’t give up a takedown all season. “I knew he wanted it as much as I did. I just kept moving, keep him his heels and I took him down.”
Cruz, who went 3-0 on Friday with two wins by fall, wasn’t pleased, despite earning a six-place medal.
The senior, who didn’t place here last season, lost to Clovis’ Dakota Gordan (6-1) in the championship semifinals; to Bellarmine’s Danny Chaid (1-0) in consolation semifinals and to De La Salle’s William Walker (fall, 46 seconds) in the fifth-place bout.
“It was a tough day,” Cruz said. “I wrestled better. But today was really about the semifinals. After that, it was really hard to continue. It’s a medal.
Cruz was right with Gordan during the semifinals before faltering over the final two periods. The senior, after a score-less first period, got caught out of position and gave up a near-fall to trail 3-0.
Gordan, who has only lost twice this season, pushed it to 5-0 with a takedown 11 seconds into the third period. Cruz made it 5-1 with an escape before losing 6-1.
Cruz then followed with his 1-0 loss to Chaid in the consolation semifinals before Walker, who he beat, 5-3, in the quarterfinals on Friday, scored a win by fall at :46 to take fifth.
“I thought he had a pretty good weekend,” La Habra coach Dwayne DeNolf said. “Being sixth in the state is not too bad.”