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Ripons Smith reaches state semifinals
Ripon Highs Travis Smith turns Larry Cutbirth of Etiwanda onto his back en route to a pinfall victory and a berth to the CIF State Championships quarterfinal round. - photo by Ike Dodson

FRESNO - Wins don’t come easy at the California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Championships, especially in pivotal championship round matches with state medals on the line.

Or so it seemed.

Ripon High junior Trevor Smith cruised through all three of Friday’s championship rounds, manhandling his quarterfinal opponent 18-5 for a guaranteed top-6 finish and at least a tie for the best state medal in school history.

Today he will wrestle returning state champion Nikko Reyes of Clovis West in the tourney semifinals for shot at state gold.

Smith is Ripon’s first state semifinalist since Martin Beeler reached the round in 2006. Beeler, who ultimately fell to sixth place, has his school record in serious jeopardy of being broken.

“I would be extremely happy with a sixth-place finish at state, but our goal is to top that record,” Ripon coach Glen White said after Smith’s final match of the day.

Smith, who won a Sac-Joaquin Section Masters championship a week ago, opened his tournament with a 10-0 rout of North Coast No. 3 seed Ricardo Sandoval of Healdsburg in his first match. A round later he ran into lanky standout Larry Cutbirth of Etiwanda (No. 3 Southern Section) and overcame a 2-2 third period deadlock with five consecutive points and a pin 5 minutes and 47 seconds into the match

The fall advanced Smith to the championship quarterfinals, where he met Brody Goens of Chino Hills. Smith landed a 6-2 first-round lead and only got better as his repeated takedowns and turns for near-fall left him 13 points ahead in the final 45 seconds of the bout.

“I think after I built my lead at the end of the first round it became a real turning point in the match,” Smith said. “I knew that unless he was really tough on the ground that I was going to win, and it turned out he wasn’t.”

Smith is currently ranked No. 4 in the state by The California Wrestling Newsletter. He will prepare for Reyes when the tournaments semifinals begin at 9:30 a.m. today.

Catch Monday’s edition of the Manteca Bulletin for details on Smith’s run to a state medal.