STOCKTON — Ripon heavyweight Tristan Smith is going to the CIF State Wrestling Championships.
As a result of going 3-0 Friday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Wrestling Championships at the Stockton Arena, the Indians junior can finish no lower than sixth today, and the top six advance to the state championships in Bakersfield.
“I expected him to go and he expected to go,” Ripon coach Glen White said. “It was the getting to this point that was the nerve-racking part.
“He wrestled really smart today, stayed in good position, waited for his opportunities and capitalized on them.”
Smith tallied three pins – his first in 59 seconds, the second in the second round and the third in the third period.
His third bout was against Darrion Taylor from Rosemont. The two battled through the first two rounds before Smith got Taylor flat on his stomach in the third period and rolled him for the pin.
“In my last match I knew I had him when he got on his belly,” Smith said. “He was pretty good at staying on his base but once a heavyweight gets you on your stomach it is hard to get up.”
Smith has a goal on mind: to outdo his brother, Trevor. The elder Smith placed twice — sixth and third — at the state meet
“This feels like I finally accomplished something,” Tristan said.
Alex Loaiza (126) of Sierra was the only other area wrestler to survive the first day. He advanced through the consolation bracket, splitting his first two matches before winning the next two. His coach, Alex Nuanez, said Loaiza is just the second Sierra wrestler to ever make it this far.
“This feels good,” Loaiza said of advancing to the second day. “I put in a lot of hard work to get here.
“That last match was a tough one but this is my last year so I dug deep in my heart.”
Timberwolves teammate Branden Rullan (113) split his first two matches as well, won his third and was ahead in his fourth before getting caught late to drop an 8-7 decision. A junior, Rullan is looking forward to a different outcome next year.
“This feels all right,” Rullan said. “But I should have made it to state. I will promise you this: Next year I will be standing in the winner’s circle here.”
East Union freshman Jaysen Reindel was also eliminated in the last round wrestled Friday, finishing the day 2-2.
“This feels good, but I would like to have done more this year,” Reindel said. “But you do what you can.”
Reindel’s coach and father A. J. Reindel was pleased with his son’s performance.
“He is proud of himself,” Coach Reindel said. “I said coming into this I would be ecstatic if he went 2-2 and that is what he did. To be a freshman at this weight class and go 2-2 here after the year he had beating all the seniors he did is incredible.
“His last match was winnable – he beat the kid last week – but it is tough when you wrestle someone you have already beat because they have a little bit of drive.”
Qualifying for the Masters but not advancing to today were, from Ripon, Donny Fontillas (113), Gabe Barnett (152) and Dyllan Heald (160); from Lathrop, Alex Garcia (120) and Cristian Garcia (126) and from Weston Ranch, Mark Carganilla (195).
Aysia Cortez (126) from Venture/Excel Academy went 2-1 in the Girls State Wrestling Championships Friday at the Visalia Convention Center.
Cortez pinned her first and third opponents but got pinned in her second bout. She continues competition today.
Weston Ranch’s Mia Hill (101) wrestled Friday but did not advance.