It happens every year.
Members of the local media converge on the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters wrestling championships with an assault of questions.
“Can I get updated brackets? … What’s the wireless password? … Is this seat taken? … Are they serving us pizza?”
Those questions aren’t nearly as important as this one – who got beat?
Someone always makes a name for himself at Masters, and he usually does it at the expense of a highly-touted and highly-ranked individual.
Rankings go a long way towards deciding the shape of each Masters bracket, but do little to protect a favored wrestler from the strength and desire of his opposition.
Listed below is a breakdown of all 14 weights at Masters, with projected quarterfinal victors and top-8 place winners.
The action begins today at the Stockton Arena at 9 a.m.
Tristan Scott (Elk Grove) defeats Robbie Delgado (Kimball)
Nico Colunga (Oakdale) d. Christian Ramos (Benicia)
Goinn Peralta (Vacaville) d. Dru Smith (Bella Vista)
Israel Washington (Monterey Trail) d. Tommy Krebs (Oakmont)
1-8: Peralta, Colunga, Scott, Ramos, Blackburn, Washington, Curtis Booth (Folsom), J.T. Teel (Will C Wood).
Comment: Peralta is the clear favorite here and on his way to a third state medal. I have the next four squeezed into the same bracket-half. Blackburn likely meets Scott in the second round.
Jason Valdovinos (Turlock) d. Caleb Storey (Bret Hart)
Israel Saavedra (Modesto) d. Trevor Williams (Oakdale)
Anthony Hernandez (Vacaville) d. Gilbert Martinez (Jesuit)
Gable Balderas (Ceres) d. Carlos Alvarez (Folsom)
1-8: Saavedra, Balderas, Valdovinos, Hernandez, Alvarez, Storey, Williams, Martinez.
Comment: Saavedra will be wrestling for the family name after his highly-touted older brother didn’t make weight. Valdovinos gets a rough draw in the same semis, but should bounce back to finish third.
Albert Landeros (Tracy) d. Ruben Escalante (Inderkum)
Ronnie Stevens (Oakdale) d. Brandon Vu (Rodriguez)
Josh Villaflor (Franklin) d. Ernie Armas (El Camino)
Kasey Klaus (Vacaville) d. Rico Quintana (Los Banos)
1-8: Klaus, Stevens, Landeros, Villaflor, Ruybal, Vu, Gomez, Escalante.
Comment: The big two at this weight are Klaus and Stevens, but it’s a deep weight with a lot of contenders. I expect terrific competition in consolation.
Jimmy Scarr (Ponderosa) d. Daniel Williams (Hughson)
Victor Trujillo (Bella Vista) d. Max Stevens (Oakdale)
Sean Brown (Granite Bay) d. Peter Barrington (East Union)
Dakota Fierro (Antelope) d. Caleb Patrick (Argonaut)
1-8: Trujillo, Brown, Scarr, Fierro, Cameron Bailey (Vacaville), Stevens, Cadence Mitchell (Gregori), Daniel Williams (Hughson)
Comment: This bracket is a confusing wash of misplacement. Rafael Herrera (Turlock) has a raw draw with Fierro in Round 2. The loser of that likely gets the loser of Trujillo-Stevens in the fourth round of consolation. Bailey and Scarr also meet in Round 2 while Stevens and Mitchell do the same.
Mark Taijeron (Merced) d. Manuel Cruz (Patterson)
Tyler Lawrence (Escalon) d. Jimmy Felix (Los Banos)
Trent Nicholson (Kimball) d. Isaac Bertalotto (Turlock)
Bobby Ehman (Vacaville) d. Wyatt Moreno (Amador)
1-8: Lawrence, Nicholson, Ehman, Bertalotto, Taijeron, Colin Hustrulid (Ponderosa), Moreno, Alex Elko (Jesuit).
Comment: Taijeron has a gift-wrapped trip to the semis while Nicholson, Ehman and Bertalotto will slug it out for a finals berth to see Lawrence. I expect an upset at this weight, but can’t call it.
Mason Koshiyama (Folsom) d. Jason Robbins (Escalon)
Brandon Matu (Antelope) d. Parise Martin (Stagg)
Joey Abbate (Central Catholic) d. Brandon Claiborne (Oak Ridge)
Jonny Callas (Nevada Union) d. Giovanni Murillo (Bret Hart)
1-8: Callas, Koshiyama, Abbate, Matu, Claiborne, Robbins, Jacobson, Martin.
Comment: I came very close to calling an upset of Abbate over Callas, but ultimately couldn’t pull the trigger. I think that semifinal should have been the finals. With 12 state-ranked wrestlers, this weight is incredibly stacked and the battle for top-7 will be fierce.
Lorenzo De La Riva (Folsom) d. Kalyn Camacho (American Canyon)
Tyler Noon (Oakdale) d. Michael Kintz (El Camino)
Andrew Patrick (Hughson) d. Kaleio Romero (Oakmont)
Hayden Fry (Vacaville) d. Joey Howard (Patterson)
1-8: Noon, Fry, De La Riva, Kintz, Patrick, Romero, Howard, Troy Grossi (Vista Del Lago).
Comment: The state rankings had Noon four positions higher than Fry but the section rankings have Fry first. The SJS seems to have sided with the less prestigious of the two, having positioned Noon on the same side of wrestlers the section and state agree are the next two. It’s a tough draw for Noon, but barring an injury, he should win the matches he needs to.
Trae Providence (Ponderosa) d. Rogelio Bravo (West)
Zach Dawson (Vacaville) d. Zack Velasquez (Argonaut)
Latrell Benjamin (Gregori) d. Logan Wolfley (Pitman)
Shayne Tucker (Bella Vista) d. Tyler Malone (Oakdale)
1-8: Tucker, Dawson, Providence, Braden Henderson (Elk Grove), Benjamin, Malone, Wolfley, Carrillo
Comment: A quarterfinal bracket features four state-ranked wrestlers, including No. 1 Tucker and No. 16 Henderson, who will end three seasons on his road through the consolation bracket.
Nicholas Fiegener (Folsom) d. Lucas Widmer (Sierra)
Sam Fowler (Bella Vista) d. Eric Waino (Lincoln)
Justin Brown (Calaveras) d. Kyle Thorpe (Atwater)
Ray Lomas (Central Catholic) d. Patrick Neu (Del Oro)
1-8: Lomas, Fiegener, Brown, Fowler, Thorpe, Albino Orozco (Turlock), Neu, Widmer.
Comment: It’s hardly an upset, but I’m picking Lomas to topple Fiegener in the finals and Brown to roll through consolation. This is one of the toughest weights in the section and I expect a lot of great matches here.
Keaton Subjeck (Oak Ridge) d. Jesse Downs (Bella Vista)
Johnathon Costa (Escalon) d. Frankie Trent (Oakdale)
Dylan Kainrath (Del Oro) d. Peter Cardinale (Rio Americano)
Peter Santos (Oakmont) d. Oscar Flores (Cosumnes Oaks)
1-8: Santos, Subjeck, Costa, Kainrath, Devon Nooner, Flores, Colin Anderson (Lodi), Cardinale.
Comment: This weight is tough to call. Costa and Kainrath could be bracket busters and the last few tickets to state are anyone’s guess. It should be interesting.
Nick Troquato (Ponderosa) d. Reggie Bland (Central Catholic)
Cameron Tate (Center) d. Skyler Gonzales (Rocklin)
Anthony Melo (Hilmar) d. Bailey Dryden (Oakdale)
Chris Lai (Vacaville) d. Adrian Vizcaino (Central Valley)
1-8: Lai, Troquato, Zachary Claiborne (Oak Ridge), Tate, Melo, Vizcaino, Joey Banks (Elk Grove), Dryden.
Comment: Claiborne and Banks are going to end a lot of seasons during their romp through the consolation bracket. This finale should be exciting and could go either way. This is a deep weight with plenty of big matches across the bracket.
Scott Votino (Elk Grove) d. Matt Cooper (Kimball)
Trevor Smith (Ripon) d. Amrit Singh (West)
Dean Duivenvoorden (Gregori) d. Ryan Talley (Placer)
Jeremy Sweany (Vacaville) d. Luke Brewer (Bret Hart)
1-8: Sweany, Smith, Votino, Duivenvoorden, Singh, Brewer, Hondo Arpoika (Oakdale), Mark Papish (Rodriguez).
Comment: The seven that move on will be a force at state. If Duivenvoorden is healthy, he is a tough semifinal for Sweany. Smith was sixth at state last year and could excite in a semi with Votino.
Ricardo Garcia (Turlock) d. Cody Simerly (Weston Ranch)
Jordan Sepeda (Natomas) d. Noah Shelgren (Calaveras)
Josh Winters (Will C Wood) d. Dominic Freesha (Escalon)
Jake Minshew (Casa Roble) d. Zack Fallentine (Oakdale)
1-8: Sepeda, Minshew, Fallentine, Winters, Garcia, Shelgren, Zach Crane (Vacaville), Simerly.
Comment: Someone fell asleep while putting this bracket one together. No. 2 (Minshew) and 3 (Fallentine) in the section won their divisional, but are slated to face off in the quarterfinals. The blunder will make a mess of the bottom bracket, where Crane is also featured.
Jeff Camilli (Ponderosa) d. Jacob Proul (Oak Ridge)
Jaharee Taylor (Elk Grove) d. Eric Barragan (Oakdale)
Tyler Hecht (Franklin) d. Nathan Pearlman (Kimball)
Sam Alnassiri (Sheldon) d. Carlos Gutierrez (Buhach Colony)
1-8: Camilli, Alnassiri, Hecht, Taylor, Dominic Balmer (Woodcreek), Pearlman, Barragan, Gutierrez
Comment: Division-IA reigns supreme here and I have them nabbing spots in the semifinals and each of the top four medals. This weight is always good for an upset.