High School Sports

Selma wrestlers finish second in state

BAKERSFIELD -- A banner day for the Central Section ended with six individual champions and a team sweep of the top four places at the CIF State Wresting Championships.

Bakersfield High held off a spirited challenge from Selma for its third team title, while Selma's Alex Cisneros and Nick Pena, Clovis West's Chris Martinez, Lemoore's Nick Sierra, Bakersfield's Bryce Hammond and Madera's James Cook all captured individual gold Saturday to wrap up two days of wrestling before an announced crowd of 6,500 at Rabobank Arena.

Selma, which entered the tournament with five wrestlers, was still in the running for the team title entering the finals, but Cisneros' 5-0 decision over Sanger's Chris Diaz for the 112-pound title meant the Bears could not run the Drillers down no matter what else transpired because there weren't enough points left to win.

"There was a possibility numbers-wise, but that's extra pressure on the kids," Selma coach Sam Lopez said.

"You can't tell a kid you have to go out and pin the guy. We just said win the match. I'm good with second."

For Cisneros (53-1), it was his second state title, following his conquest at 103 pounds last year as a freshman.

"I always thought I could do it," he said.

Following Bakersfield (126 points) and Selma (113.5) in the team standings were Clovis (97) and Lemoore (94), putting an exclamation point on a day that also saw the announcement of the Central Section receiving an additional two automatic qualifiers based on its recent success of having 70 medalists the past two seasons.

Clovis West's Martinez (50-6) has accounted for two of those 70 medals as he scored a take-down on his signature double move with 14 seconds left in overtime to defeat Clovis North's Vince Rodriguez 3-1.

It was a second-straight overtime win for Martinez against the former state top-ranked Rodriguez following a win last weekend in the Masters final.

"I just took the right shot at the right time," said Martinez, fifth at 119 pounds last season. "I've been dreaming about this since I was 4."

Selma tied Calvary Chapel-Santa Ana for most individual champions thanks to Pena's 7-4 victory over Bobby Morales of Laguna Hills at 130 pounds. Pena built a 5-0 lead through the second period and held on for his first title and second state medal.

"I just wanted to make sure I wrestled smart and not do anything dumb to lose the state title," said Pena, who improved to 49-3.

Two of the section's other three champions -- Lemoore's Sierra and Madera's Cook -- finally got over the hump after injuries derailed their plans last season.

Sierra (41-1) downed Del Oro-Loomis' Jesse Stafford 6-4 for the 152-pound championship after injury defaulting to sixth at 140s last year because of a knee injury. Sierra on Saturday built a 6-2 lead through the second period and weathered a tweak to his knee in the third to secure the title.

"My coach said not to get into any big scrambles," Sierra said. "If I didn't feel it was there, I didn't shoot. I tried to shoot smartly.

"I wouldn't have considered my high school career complete without this win. It's every young wrestler's dream to win a state title, and I did."

Cook (41-2) made the fourth state medal of his career the most memorable with a 7-2 victory over Clovis' Zach Nevills at 171 pounds. Cook wrestled with a broken foot last year and still placed fourth at 160 pounds. He was a state runner-up as a sophomore.

"What a big sigh of relief. This is a big burden off my chest," Cook said. "I'm glad to finally get it. This has been my goal since freshman year."

Three other section wrestlers lost in the finals.

Clovis West's Zach Zimmer fell 3-1 on a reversal with 6 seconds left in sudden death against La Costa Canyon's Bryan Grubbs at 119s, Selma's Nathan Zarate was topped 3-1 by Northview's Frank Martinez at 140 and Clovis' Tommy Burriel gave up a take-down with 6 seconds left to fall 3-1 against Calvary Chapel's Morgan McIntosh, who didn't allow an offensive point all season.

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