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Cortez takes third at girls state tournament
WRES--Girls State-Cortez pic
Venture Academy senior Aysia Cortez has her arm raised in victory after she held off Casa Robles Aly Sabbagh 2-1 in the third-place match in the 131-pound division of the CIF Girls Wrestling State Championships on Saturday.

VISALIA — Lathrop resident Aysia Cortez did not let a flu bug and her first loss of the postseason keep her from capturing a medal in the sixth annual CIF Girls Wrestling State Championships.

The Venture Academy senior won three straight matches in the consolation bracket Saturday before outlasting Sac-Joaquin Section rival Aly Sabbagh of Casa Roble 2-1 in the 131-pound, third-place match. Cortez’s only defeat was to Central Coast Section champion Kendal Davis, 5-4, in the winners-bracket quarterfinals Friday. Cortez nearly had a chance at redemption, but Davis bowed out with an injury default against Sabbagh.

Cortez racked up impressive wins on the way to her third-place finish despite feeling under the weather. She started with an 11-2 win over Josahandy Moreno (Santa Ana) to set up the match with Davis. In Day 2, she shut out Victoria Aguilar (Esperanza) 8-0 and nipped Alyssa Rodrigues (Rubidoux), 3-2. 

She then squared off with a familiar opponent in Benicia’s Shelly Avelino, the eventual fifth-place winner who was previously undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the state before her loss to Cortez in the SJS Masters tournament. Cortez cruised 8-0 in the rematch to advance to the third-place bout.

Cortez finished her decorated senior campaign with a 44-5 record and is weighing her options to continue wrestling collegiately. She’ll next represent Team California in the Folkstyle Nationals in March.