ATWATER – The third time was a charm.
When East Union’s Trinidad Diaz was dispatched to the consolation round Friday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championships by Central Valley’s Ruben Valenzuela, it was the second time this season Diaz had been leading Valenzuela only to lose.
On Saturday in the 160-pound consolation championship at Atwater High, there would not be a third time.
Diaz never trailed and dominated Valenzuela from start to finish, winning by major decision 11-2 for the bronze medal.
“Yesterday was the second time he has beaten me,” Diaz said. “Both times I was up and he caught me.
“This feels pretty good. I had to go out and wrestle smarter this time and I got the job done.”
Lancers teammate Joe Luna (138) also finished third in dramatic fashion, using a Cooper/Spladle hold to get a pin over Buhach Colony’s Kyle Downs in just 22 seconds.
“I had an idea of what he would do,” Luna said. “I wrestled him before.
“He had my leg and I saw the Cooper right there so I just took it.”
Manteca’s Dominic Neuharth (195) went 3-2 and finished fourth.
“It feels pretty good to be moving on,” Neuharth said. “I’ve always looked up to my coaches and they always saw something in me and told me they knew I had it in me to do big things.
“Now that I am pushing forward from Divisionals, I can see myself accomplishing bigger things.”
Sierra’s Myson Hosmer (170) is glad that he advanced with a sixth-place finish.
“This feels great to be going on to Masters,” Hosmer said.
Weston Ranch’s Ron Mendoza (195) is looking to improve on his sixth-place finish.
“I’m going to try my best at Masters,” Mendoza said. “I’m a little disappointed with today but I am going to work on getting stronger.”
The Top 8 finishers advance to the two-day SJS Masters Championships at Delta College on Friday.
In addition to those wrestlers already mentioned, advancing will be Manteca’s Diego Rodriguez (113, fifth); Sierra’s Joshua Faustino (seventh, 285); East Union’s Tyler Diaz (seventh, 126) and East Union’s Joe Patton (eighth, 132).
In the SJS Division V Championships at Calaveras High School, Ripon’s Andrew Huynh (113) punched his ticket to the Masters with a second-place finish behind a pair of pins and a decision.
Girls South Regionals
CERES – Led by freshman 133-pound phenom Katelyn Cardoza, Ripon High finished third at Central Valley High, just seven points out of second place.
Seeded fourth, Cardoza defeated the No. 1 seed in the semifinals and the third-ranked wrestler in the finals.
Also placing in the Top 8 from Ripon and advancing to the two-day Masters Championships in Stockton at Lincoln High on Friday were Melissa Perez (137, third); Marissa Hernandez (fifth, 108); Alyssa Oliver (fifth, 118); Riley Rangel (fifth, 145); Kaylee Medeiros (152, fifth) and Ashley Espinoza (126, eighth).
“I’m so proud of these young ladies,” Indians coach Eric Barriga said. “They have accomplished so many firsts this year.
“We were just a few lost opportunities to finish second without fielding a fully rostered team.”
Sierra finished ninth and was paced by two-time champion Alexa Garcia (162) who finished first. Teammate Camille Jarmon (113) was fourth with Ezra Moral (103) and Citali Chavez (172) finishing sixth.
“She didn't give up an offensive point the entire tournament,” Timberwolves coach Alex Nuanez said of Garcia. “She is the only regional two-time champion in Sierra history.
“Ezra (Moral) and Cami (Jarmon) wrestled very well and beat some good wrestlers to put them in a position to move on. Citlali (Chavez) is coming into her own at 170 and wrestling well.
Manteca’s Azucena Rodriguez (103) was fourth and Taina Colon (118) was seventh and East Union’s Sarah Atkins (139) was eighth.