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Weekend Warriors Take To Stockton
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There’s no crying in baseball, but there sure is plenty of it in wrestling.

It starts in freestyle, where a wrenched arm or rough crossface can make even the bravest rain tears onto that loose-fitting singlet.

It ends at the Olympics, where winners and losers grip their coaches in a bear hug as lifelong dreams come to fruition or fall by the mat side.

Men, women, boys, girls — they all cry.

The high school wrestling postseason toes the line in Stockton this weekend as some of the top female wrestlers in Northern California converge inside the McNair gymnasium.

Those that finish top-4 at the Sac-Joaquin/Northern Section Girls Invitational will qualify for girls state.

Last year’s tourney was awash in the tears of broken dreams and fulfilled aspirations. The fourth-ever regional state qualifier will be no different.

The 2011-12 season also sent six teams within the Morris News Corporation less than five miles from McNair to Lincoln High for the section Team Dual Championships. It’s there that four local teams met in Division 4 and 5 finals (Oakdale and Ripon won).

On Saturday, area teams again square off with the section’s best at Lincoln, though dual meets slated for today, Jan. 30, will decide the participants.

Oakdale and Turlock have already solidified spots and potential first-round byes, but Weston Ranch, Ceres and Central Valley must win to get in.

Ripon can force a three-way tie with Escalon and Hughson in the TVL by topping the Cougars today.

Let’s take a peek at some storylines from the final week of regular season action.

Girl Power

There is no shortage of tough female wrestlers in the valley, and a few of them go to Central Valley High in Ceres. Look for Ashley Barnes-Berrios, Malynda Lomeli and Alexandria Cordova to scramble for state qualifications and high team score. 

East Union may lack the depth of CV, but Sarah Phillips is one of the best female wrestlers in the country. She will likely prove it with a thrilling postseason this year. The former judo standout and 2012 state place winner (sixth) has been spectacular alongside rising teammate, Mariah Wheeler.

Other girls with a shot at state include returning medalist Alyssa Cantu (Weston Ranch), Jazmine Ivey (Lathrop), Melissa Garcia (Riverbank), Jazzmin Blackwell (Weston Ranch) and Selena Valenzuela (Weston Ranch).

Ripon graduated a pair of regional champs last year, including Juliana Triplett, who went on to win a state title. The Missouri Baptist University freshmen earned All-American status by earning a sixth-place medal at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championships in Tennessee on Jan. 26.


Let’s pick today and Saturday’s winners, shall we? Ceres beats Central Valley, Escalon beats Ripon and Weston Ranch loses to Kimball. Division winners at team sections are Vacaville (Division 1), Bella Vista (D2), Antelope (D3), Oakdale (D5), Escalon (DV) and Mariposa (D6).

Tourney Tough

Twenty-six Morris wrestlers placed top-six at the Pitman Rumble In the Jungle on Jan. 26. Escalon was second as a team and boasted four champions. Lathrop’s Alex Garcia and Pitman’s Logan Wolfley also finished first in their weights.

Overtime: Rising Stock

Ov (Oh-vee) Verde was second at The Pound tournament in San Rafael on Saturday to nab the highest varsity medal of his career. The junior is a second-year Ripon transfer and native of Venezuela. Edgar Gonzales and Sammy Beeler of Ripon were second at The Pound.