Lathrop High’s Alex Garcia and Tristan Smith of Ripon are both rated No. 3 in their respective weight classes, according to The California Wrestler’s Sac-Joaquin Section rankings.
And both are among elite company.
Ahead of Garcia in the 120-pound division are Dixon’s Devan Turner and Valley Oak League rival Nico Colunga of Oakdale, who are ranked No. 1 and 3 in the state. Garcia is 23rd in the state with titles earned at the Ceres and Modesto JC invitationals. He placed fourth in the prestigious Tim Brown Memorial.
Smith is the No. 24 heavyweight in the state with notable runs in the Los Banos Morning Star (first) tournament, Pacific Coast Invitational (fourth), Tim Brown Memorial (fourth) and Chico Rios Memorial (fourth). But in the way at the section level are Woodcreek’s Domninic Balmer and Casa Robles’ Jake Minshew, the state’s No. 2 and 3 285-pounders.
The road to the CIF State Championships begins this Saturday, as Sierra hosts the VOL Championships while Ripon heads to Hilmar for the Trans-Valley League tourney. The top four placers in each division out of the VOL advance to the SJS Division III meet Feb. 20-21 at Yuba City High. The top four from each weight in the TVL will compete in the Division V tournament at Sonora. The top four finishers in both divisional tourneys qualify for the SJS Masters.
The postseason action has already begun in the section with the Team Duals and Regional Girls Championships wrestling tournaments kicking things off this past weekend.
Ripon, the No. 2 team out of the Trans-Valley League, were semifinalists in Saturday’s SJS Division V Duals held at Lincoln High of Stockton. Also in Stockton, Mantecan Aysia Cortez of Venture/Excel Academy won the 126-pound title, while Weston Ranch senior Mia Hill placed fourth in 101 to qualify for the CIF State Championships set for Feb. 27-28 at the Visalia Convention Center.