LOS BANOS – For some of the area wrestlers on a quest for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV title ended. But for nine wrestlers the dream is still very much alive.
After the first day, several wrestlers closed out action 2-0 and find themselves a victory away from a championship match berth. For two wrestlers, the course for the title may end up as a rematch of their Valley Oak League championship match.
Weston Ranch’s James Simerley and Sierra’s Lucas Widmer are on a crash course to meet again, both sitting in the semifinals on opposite ends of the bracket. Widmer realistically has the inside shot to the match, facing an Oakdale opponent he beat in the VOL tourney. Simerley will be facing a returning state-medalist in Ray Lomas.
Cody Simerley of Weston Ranch is also in the semifinals along with teammate Nathan Bowen. Both have challenging semifinal matches, but Cody’s quest for the 220-pound title may be more feasible. Lathrop will have a pair of wrestlers vying for titles, with Omar Guzman (170-pound) and Alex Garcia (106-pound) sitting 2-0 and in the semis.
Sierra High will have Albert Loaiza (138-pound) and Widmer in semis, while Simeon Marquez (120-pound), William Fishburn (126-pound) are still alive, but will need two victories in consolation matches to advance to Masters.
East Union’s Peter Barrington put a tough VOL tournament behind him to propel to the semifinals in the 126-pound bracket. Teammate Anthony Molena also advanced to the semi’s in the 220-pound bracket. Jose Mattez is still alive in the 145-pound consolation as is teammate Richard Whitescarver (182-pound).
Manteca still has hopes in Daniel Clemons (195-pound) and Jacob Burtram (132-pound), but both will need at least two victories to move on.
The VOL will be represented in exactly half of the 54 semifinal matches. The Western Athletic Conference and the Sierra Valley Conference have 21 and eight representatives, respectively.
The top four placers in each weight class earn a berth into the Masters Tournament at the Stockton Arena.
In Olivehurst, the Ripon Indians brought 12 to the tournament, and eight Indians advance to Day 2 at Lindhurst High.
Trevor Smith (195-pound), Jarod Bradd (160-pound) and Taylor Fugit (152-pound) all finished the first day 2-0 and have set themselves up for semifinal matches.
“Trevor is a favorite to be in the finals,” Ripon head coach Glen White said. “The other two would have to beat really good wrestlers, so we’re hoping they can wrestle well tomorrow and hopefully pull off the upset.”
Both the championship semifinals and consolation rounds begin at 11 a.m.