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Cantu takes title, 1 of 5 state qualifiers
wrestling girl
Sierra senior Victoria Burke became the first girl in school history to qualify for the state tournament as she took third place at McNair in Stockton Saturday at the Sac-Joaquin/Northern Section Regional Championships. - photo by JOHN JOEL GRIFFITHS/ The Bulletin

STOCKTON – Weston Ranch senior Alyssa Cantu will be making her third straight trip to the state tournament.

The Cougars’ 189-pound standout improved to 23-0 after capturing the Sac-Joaquin/Northern Section Regional Championship against Jenee Judd of Calaveras.

Cantu was one of five medalists from the area to punch their ticket to the CIF State Girls State Wrestling Championships in Visalia on Feb. 28.

“My goal is to take first (at state),” said Cantu, who placed sixth there as a sophomore. “My goal was to go undefeated this year, and I am so far.”

Cantu and Judd were knotted at 0-0 through the first period. After Judd scored the first point with an escape in the second round, it didn’t take long before Cantu put her on her back and recorded the pin with 21 seconds left in the stanza

Cantu was one of three Weston Ranch girls to advance to the season’s final tournament. Mia Hill (106) and heavyweight Wonderful Deconge both won their third-place matches as well.

Hill punched her first-ever state ticket with a third-round pin (5:38) in her first match of the consolation bracket. She opened the day with a semifinal loss and then bounced back to earn a late fall to advance. Hill finished the day by defeating Gridley’s Michael Curry in three rounds to take third, respectively.

Deconge also took home bronze after pinning Pacheco’s Lucia Contreras in the second round of their bout. Deconge was trailing 4-0 before capitalizing on a Contreras mistake and putting her on her back for the pin.

Lathrop’s 137-pound standout Jasmine Ivey is heading back to state after taking third there last year. Ivey finished second after losing in her regional championship against Maggie Douma of Napa -- the tournament’s defending champion.

The Spartans’ senior was down 2-0 after the first and trailed by four in the second before shooting for a solid takedown that made it 4-2. Douma stretched it to 6-2 in the third and won, 7-4.

Sierra senior Victoria Burke was the area’s final state qualifier. She finished fourth after falling in her third-place match, 5-3. She punched her ticket to the state tourney in her first-ever year of wrestling and also became the first Lady Timberwolf in school history to make that happen.

Burke dominated her match and jumped out to a 10-1 lead. She registered the pin with 16 seconds left in the first round and did so by bouncing back from her semifinal loss to open up the day.

“I just calmed my nerves and paid attention to my coaches,” Burke said of the win that set school history. “I just made sure I perfected my throws.

“This feels amazing. (State) was one of my goals on paper from the beginning of the season.”

Ripon’s 111-pounder Kendyl Post nearly became the sixth girl to qualify. Post came up short in her fifth-place match after going 0-2. Post came up shy in her first consolation bout and lost 7-5 in three rounds.

Only the top five from each bracket move on to Visalia.