2012 BULLETIN ALL-AREA BOYS WRESTLING TEAM
• DONELL SIMMS, WESTON RANCH: Simms completed his varsity careers with back-to-back VOL championships and earned a berth into the Masters tournament for the second consecutive season.
• ANDREW AQUINO, LATHROP: Aquino was the leader of an up-and-coming Lathrop program that made tremendous progress over a four-year period. Aquino earned a berth into day 2 of Masters.
• TREVOR DANIEL, RIPON: Daniels was a key component in the Indians bringing home their first-ever Section championship. He continued his season through day 2 of Masters, narrowly missing a berth into the CIF State Championships.
• CHARLIE ALVITRE, MANTECA: Alvitre was the last area VOL wrestler standing, going into Day 2 of Masters after collecting a league championship title and came one victory short of advancing to the CIF State Championships.
— Jagada Chambers
Throughout Ripon High’s 2011-12 wrestling season, several components fell into place at the right time.
All the pieces to the puzzle found a way to connect, and the biggest piece to that puzzle was in place early on.
The Indians put together arguably the best season in school history, and The Bulletin’s All-Area Boys Wrestler of the Year played a prominent role in Ripon High’s season-long success.
Trevor Smith continued his individual season into the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships after the Indians secured the first Sac-Joaquin Section Division V team title in the program’s history. For a standout who secured the 182-pound section title, the team championship brought back to Ripon may hold as much merit.
“To put the season together that we did this year is way up there on my list of accomplishments,” Smith said. “My freshman year we were barely beating some of these guys and then this season we were kicking the crap out of them. We beat Escalon, which was a big accomplishment and everyone thought it was a fluke. Then we come out of a tough set-up with Bret Harte and it comes down to the last match with Escalon.
“We put the nail in the coffin.”
The amount of success Smith garnered this season did not come by accident. The lanky, lean, imposing junior has pulled his game to new levels since his early seasons for Ripon. Before there were murmurs around the mats about the strong tall kid no one can beat, there was an unsure up-and-comer who just wanted to win.
“I can remember going to my first tournament and taking fourth place,” Smith recalled. “My brother (Travis Smith, The Bulletin’s 2011 Wrestler of the Year) took first and I was just mad at him for it. The winning doesn’t come easy. The losing is what makes you work hard.”
Smith put together one of the more impressive runs to state in recent area history. After entering the SJS Masters Tournament as the No. 1 seed, Smith grinded through an ultra-competitive 182-pound bracket.
He edged out one opponent in overtime on the first day, battled to a 1-0 victory in Day 2 and overcame a 4-3 deficit in the finals for a 9-4 win.
Before the accolades of an impressive section title run could set in, Smith was back on the mat preparing for his CIF state debut.
“Once you get into the postseason and as you go on it always gets tougher,” Smith explained. “You’re never going to get that guy that’s just a fish — especially once you get to state. At that point, nobody squeaks through at all. It becomes all about pushing and trying to keep going, because every single week its gets tougher and tougher.”
Smith was in cruise control during his state debut, winning his first three matches for a perfect 3-0 first day. The blistering opening assured Smith at least a spot alongside Martin Beeler’s sixth-place state finish in 2006. Smith entered the final day with only one overtime loss and 54 wins, but his final few wins would elude him.
“My semifinal match I didn’t even get to the third round which was my plan, he pinned me in the first round,” Smith said. “After that my head was out of it, I ran into a kid who was wrestling kind of dirty and then that got in my head, he pinned me and now I’m messed up because I just got pinned in the first round.
“Then I get a kid I beat handily the first day and my head is so far out of it,” Smith admits. “And I am so exhausted from the two days of hard wrestling that I’m just out of it.”
Smith’s legacy is far from over, likely coming into his senior year as one of the section’s top contender. Smith will make the natural progression up a weight class, but will have more than enough motivation after the 3-3 finish at state.
“It all fell apart for me,” Smith said. “It has never been that bad; I have never had it fall apart for me like that. I will definitely come in motivated; I just do not plan on losing next year at all.”