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Five still in the running at girls state tournament
Ripon Highs Julianna Triplett is on track to defend her 165-pound state title in Lemoore Monday.

For Julianna Triplett, the road is looking somewhat familiar.

Ripon High’s standout 165-pounder opened the CIF State Girls Wrestling Invitational Championships in familiar form Friday at Lemoore High, cruising to three victories in the first day of action — all via pin.

Triplett scored a first-round pin in her opener, a second-round pin in her second match and another first round pin in her third.

The returning state champ is two wins away from back-to-back state titles, which would put her in line to be one of the second-year tournament’s first-ever two-time winners.

Ripon teammate Hailey Owens (108-pound) inherited a first-round bye, before opening up with a pin. Owens ran into a mishap in her third match, losing 7-1 and forcing her road to a state title onto the consolation course. Owens will likely have to reel off at least three victories to land her a top-six finish.

“All in all they both looked real good,” Ripon coach Tom Owens said. “They look really sharp and they are wrestling real tough.

“The two of them have Ripon in the top-12 of the total team score.”

Weston Ranch’s Alyssa Cantu (165-pound) rebounded from a first-round loss to post a 4-1 victory in her second match. Cantu was in the loss trailing 1-0, before a late third round pin cost her the match.

“She looked great after her first match loss,” Cougars coach Phong Nguyen said. “She was not warmed up for the first one and I feel that is why she lost. After that loss, she really got warmed up and got going.

“I think she’ll be able to keep it going and place.”

Lathrop’s Jasmine Ivey slipped in her opener, getting pinned in the third round of a 2-1 match, but caught the benefit of misfortune when her next opponent was forced to injury default.

“She’s probably going to have to win two matches in a row to finish in the top-8,” Lathrop head coach Dimos Birakos said. “The top eight place and we are sitting in the top-16 wrestlers in the state right now in 152s.”

East Union Lancer Sarah Phillips had the tournament draw working against her, landing the No. 1 seed in her first match and losing to usher her into the consolation grind. Phillips responded with a second round pin to close out her day one action.

“We all knew she had a tough match going into it against the No. 1 seed, so that didn’t really turn out the way we wanted,” East Union coach Danny Lehr said. “But what we did is take the positives from that match and she came back the next match and wrestled really well. She’s ready to go, after that match she knew she wrestled as hard as she could and there was nothing she could do.

“She immediately said, ‘Alright, let’s go get third.’”

Action continues today at Lemoore High, beginning with 9 a.m. consolation wrestling.