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Ripons Trevor Smith closes in on Masters title
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Ripon 220-pounder Andy Yciano slams down Jesse Bethels Nick Hughes. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

STOCKTON — Two wins.

That is what the four remaining Manteca area wrestlers are gunning for in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, which resumes today at the Stockton Arena.

With a berth to the state tournament already secured by advancing to the championship-round semifinals Thursday, Ripon High standout Trevor Smith is two victories away from the 182-pound title.

Meanwhile, teammate Trevor Daniel, Manteca High’s Charlie Alvitre and Andrew Aquino of Lathrop are battling in the consolation brackets, and each need two wins to qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships.

Today’s action begins at 9 a.m. with the fourth round of consolation matches. The championship semifinals will follow at around 10:15. The top seven placers earn state berths.

Smith entered the competition as the top-seeded 182-pounder, but it was no ho-hum run to the semifinals for the talented junior.

“Yeah, I’m going to state, I was kind of expected to, but I’m supposed to take first here,” Smith said. “No pressure, right?”

Smith opened with a 15-4 major decision over Loc Nguyen of Sheldon but struggled to put away Granite Bay’s Connor Guzman. Smith pulled out a 9-7 decision in overtime. He returned to form in the quarterfinals, when he dispatched third-ranked Jacob Richards of Ponderosa, 10-4.

“Earlier today I wasn’t feeling so hot,” said Smith, who will next meet No. 5 Mehrdad Alvandi of Mira Loma. “Those first two matches, I didn’t feel like I was in shape, especially in the second one. I was on my back for the first half of the first period.”

Daniel dominated in his three wins at 160 pounds but was pinned in 5 minutes, 12 seconds by top-ranked Keaton Subjeck of Oak Ridge in the second round. He bounced back with two straight victories, including a 14-2 major decision over Natomas’ Rafael Pantoja in his final bout of the night.

Daniel, ranked seventh at the weight, must get past Union Mine’s James Warden today to enter the medal rounds.

The surprise performance of the day among area grapplers came from Alvitre at 113 pounds. It was not entirely surprising that he made it to the second day of Masters, but he proved to be a force to be reckoned with when he hung tough with first-place favorite Ulysses Juan in a 6-4 second-round defeat.

Alvitre takes on No. 5-ranked Zach Ruybal of Del Oro today.

“I expected to do well,” Alvitre said. “I just gave it my all. I needed one more near fall but whatever I was trying wasn’t working.”

Lathrop’s Aquino once again made school history for being the first Spartan to advance to the second day of Masters. As a sophomore, the 120-pounder was the first to qualify for the SJS Division IV Tournament and was the first to make it to Masters last year.

Aquino was the only area wrestler aside from Smith to win his first two matches, but he fell to No. 3 Victor Trujillo of Bella Vista by fall in 1:43. He starts off Day 2 with another stiff test in Franklin’s (Elk Grove) Josh Villaflor.

“My goal is state, and I feel it’s right there for me,” said the fourth-year senior who had no wrestling experience before high school. “I just have to do my best and see what happens.”

Two local upperweights nearly made the cut.

Ripon’s Andy Yciano was edged out by Trans-Valley League rival Travis James of Escalon 4-2 in one of the final 220-pound consolation matches of the night, while Weston Ranch’s Donnell Sims (182) fell to Robert Gourlay of Bella Vista, 8-4.

Sims was the best bet for Weston Ranch, which had seven Masters qualifiers, to have a representative at state.

“I feel like I let down my team and myself,” said Sims, who has been slowed all season by ankle and collarbone ailments. “I just tried to fight through (the injuries). I’m still feeling it, but I’m an athlete — I don’t complain or make excuses.”

Other Cougars competing were Nate Bowen (106, 1-2), Luis Ochoa (113, 1-2), Daniel Guzman (120, 1-2), Brandon Mungarro (138, 0-2), James Simerley (152, 1-2) and Isreal Lopez (220, 0-2).

East Union’s Felipe Duran (132, 0-2), Sierra’s Lucas Widmer (138, 1-2) and Ripon’s Corey Goodwin (126, 1-2) rounded were also eliminated.