Defying the Odds

I have previously posted the names of the Southern Section wrestlers who have qualified for the state championships. But, I wanted to focus on the unseeded wrestlers that defied the odds and punched their ticket to the state tournament through skill, grit and determination:

  • 101 pounds
    • Unity Cordova of Corona was ranked 8th in the final JB rankings of the season but did not get a nod from the seeding committee. After falling to Rayna Prasad of Santa Monica in the second round she battled all the way back and earned her way to state by besting 10th ranked Briana Garcia of Downey in the blood round. Miss Cordova finished 5th.
  • 106 pounds
    • Unranked and unseeded Prethy Enriquez of Kennedy made it all the way to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion and number one in ranking and seeding, Leah Gaitan of Yucaipa. Miss Enriquez would punch her ticket in the blood round besting Francia Casas by a score of 6-2. She finished the tournament in 6th place.
    • The eighth spot at 106 pounds went to Coralia Montalvo of Warren who was ranked 12th by Jon Briggs. She made it to the round of 16 where she lost to the seven seed and the eventual 7th place Victoria Rodriguez of Chino. She beat Nevaeh Lua of Shadow Hills by fall in the blood round guaranteeing her a trip to Bakersfield.
  • 111 pounds
    • Unranked and unseeded Tehya Ledesma of Hillcrest fell to number 3 seed and eventual runner up Alexis Medina of Northview in the second round. And then went on to collect five victories in a row. Her blood round win was against Rebecca Felix by way of fall, Miss Ledesma would finish 7th.
  • 116 pounds
    • Unranked and unseeded Xandra Edward of Foothill made it to the round of 16 where she lost to number 2 seed and eventual champion, Monica Garcia of Norte Vista. She would then go on to win three matches in a row, guaranteeing her spot at state with an 11-10 victory over Michaela Howe of Ventura. Miss Edward injury defaulted to 8th place.
  • 121 pounds
    • Herminia Estrada of El Monte came in both unranked and unseeded and yet made it to the quarter finals where she would lose to 4 seed and eventual 4th place Hailey Chapman of Rim of the World by way of a fall. She would them proceed to battle her way back into the consolation semifinals. Her blood round victory came against 12th ranked Katherine Cuellar of Downey, with a score of 6 to 4. Miss Estrada finished 5th at her weight.
  • 126 pounds
    • The eventual 5th place winner and 7th ranked, Nelly Mendoza of Rowland came into the tournament unseeded, but that did not stope her from making it to the quarterfinals where she came up short against the number 3 seed and eventual 3rf place winner, Nile Jernigan of Cerritos who bested her with a score of 7-3. Miss Mendoza would drop into the blood round where she would defeat Ventura’s Erica Hernandez by way of a fall.
    • Also at 126, Jeannie Gonzalez of Paramount was both unranked and unseeded when the tournament started, she too would make it into the quarter finals where she would meet 4 seed and eventual 4th place winner, Samantha Snow of Los Alamitos. She would lose that match 8-4. In her blood round match, she would beat Devora Delgadillo of Garden Grove by wat of a fall. Miss Gonzalez would injury default to the 8th place.
  • 131 pounds
    • Jolynne Dizon of Nogales, though ranked 7th did not receive a seed. She would fall in the second round to Deija Hodges of Foothill. She would then go on to win an impressive 6 matches in a row landing her in the consolation semifinals. She would earn her trip to state with a victory over Mady Dow of Walnut by way of a fall. Miss Dizon would take home 6th place.
    • Another 131-pounder, 11th ranked, Shani Tyson of Valencia in Valencia, also lost in the second round but she did it against 4 seed and eventual 4th place winner, Tiera Jimerson of Northview. She then went on a 5-match winning streak and punched her ticket to state along the way in a match against 8 seed Lea Mauhar of Carter by way of a fall. Miss Tyson would finish 7th.
    • The last unseeded wrestler at 131 is Sitlaly Sanchez of Yucaipa, who was also unranked, Miss Sanchez was paired off against Number 1 seed and eventual champion, Cheyenne Bowman of Rowland in the first round. She would lose that match via a 47 second pin. She would then collect 5 victories in a row, earning her way to state with her blood round victory over 12th ranked Unique Ontiveros of Pacifica in Oxnard by way of a pin. Miss Sanchez would finish 8th.
  • 137 pounds
    • One of the two best performances by an unseeded and unranked wrestler came from Anna Gutierrez of Antelope Valley who punched her ticket to state by making it all the way to the semifinals where she met the number 1 seed and eventual champion Aine Drury of Westminster. She was defeated in that match via a 14 second fall. She would eventually come in third place collecting victories against 5 seed, Leilani Rodriguez of Beaumont; 4 seed Laila Contreras of Redlands East Valley; 3 seed Sadie Forman of Upland and 6 seed Ana Rivas of Hillcrest.
    • Also at 137, 9th ranked Makayla Ybarra of Cypress would make it to the quarterfinals where her run toward the championship would be put to an end by 2 seed and eventual finalist Kiersten Muse of Corona Del Mar by way of a fall. She would drop into the blood round where she would best Jazmine Leivas of Lakewood with a pin in the first minute of the second round. Miss Ybarra would finish 7th.
    • The final 137-pounder I want to take note of is unranked Arianna Aguilar – Coachella Valley who fell in the round of 16 to 6 seed and eventual 4th place winner Ana Rivas of Hillcrest by a score of 3-0. Miss Aguilar would then win 3 matches in a row qualifying for state along the way with a win over Celeste Molina with a score of 8-4. She ultimately finished in 8th place.
  • 143 pounds
    • Stephanie Zambrano of Montclair came into the section championships unseeded and unranked and yet she made it to the quarterfinals where she came against third seed Ava Lassiter of Aliso Niguel, who would defeat her via a pin. This would drop her into the blood round where she would best 8th ranked Becky Koehnlein of Los Alamitos by a score of 3-1. Miss Zambrano would finish 7th.
    • Also, at 143, 11th ranked Gracie Kirazian of Long Beach Wilson, would lose in the first round of the tournament but would then come back with 5 victories in a row. Her blood round victory against 5 seed Abby Jolley of El Modena would guarantee her spot at the State championships. Miss Kirazian finished 8th.
  • At 150 pounds
    • Diana Ventura of Citrus Valley was unseeded and unranked and yet she found herself in the semifinals and a guaranteed spot at Rabobank Arena, after 2 seed Tiki Jaime of San Dimas defaulted from their quarterfinals match. Her run toward the championship would end when 3 seed and eventual champion Melanie Bacher of Norte Vista pinned her. Miss Ventura would finish 6th in her weight class.
    • Another 150 pounder Gabrielle Jose of Camarillo Made it to the round of 16 where she lost by an 8-6 decision to 6 seed Mariyah Casados of Martin Luther King. Miss Jose would then collect 3 victories in a row, one of them against Esperanza Barretto via a 9-4 decision ensuring her season would have one more tournament in it. She would finish 7th at 150.
    • Jasmin Tapia of Santa Paula, like the previous two 150-pound wrestlers was also unranked and unseeded. She made it to the round of 16 where she faced off against the 5 seed and eventual 3rd place winner, Cheyanne Williams of Roosevelt. Miss Tapia would lose the encounter by way of a fall. She would then go on to win 3 matches in a row, the last of which would punch her ticket to state. She to would have met 2 seed Tiki Jaime of San Dimas. Unfortunately, Miss Jaime would have to injury default out of this match as well. Miss Tapia would finish the tournament in 8th place.
  • 160 pounds
    • The second of the two best performances by an unseeded and unranked wrestler came from Vivian Frausto of Shadow Hills, who guaranteed herself a trip to state by making it all the way to the semifinals, where she met the number one seed and eventual champion Katja Osteen of Chaminade College Prep and who beat Miss Frausto by way of a 45 second fall. Undiscouraged, she then won her next to matches taking third at her weight. Along the way she collected 2 victories from 4th seed, Jodie Hartlein of Etiwanda; and did the same from 5th seed Gabriella Espinoza of Paloma Valley.
  • 170 pounds
    • Melanie Aguilar of Glen A Wilson was ranked 9th by Jon Briggs but came into the section championships unseeded. Made it to the quarterfinals and then lost to 2 seed and the eventual champion America Lopez of Valencia in Valencia by way of a pin. Her loss in the quarterfinals dropped her directly into the blood round where she faced Danielle Baca of Etiwanda and bested her by way of a fall. Miss Aguilar would finish the tournament in 5th.
    • Also, at 170, Justine Matson of Serrano also made it to the quarterfinals where she met the 1 seed Amara Devericks of Corona. She would lose that meeting by way of a 51 second fall. However, she would then bounce back with a victory in the blood round against Daniella Dardon-Morales via a pin guaranteeing herself a spot at state. Miss Matson would finish in 7th place.
    • The last 170-pounder, Jaeleen Robledo of Don Lugo lost in the first round of the tournament by a 7-0 decision, when she was paired off with the number 4 seed Sophie Garcia of La Canada. She then went on to win 5 matches in a row. One of which, her 2-0 victory against 6 seed Kelly LaCost of Mission Viejo, punched her ticket to state. Miss Robledo finished in 8th place at her weight.
  • 189 pounds
    • Unseeded Veronica Palmer of Bonita lost against 3 seed and eventual Champion, Joanna Hendricks of Beaumont, in the round of 16 via a 50 second fall. However, she would go on to win 3 straight matches in a row one of them 8 seed Kaycee Fitero of Cerritos which guaranteed her passage to the State championships. Miss Palmer finished in 8th place.
  • 235 pounds
    • 11th ranked, Rebeca Camacho of Cerritos, made it to the Semifinals where she faced off against the 1 seed and eventual champion, Sierra Adams-Gregory of Lakewood and lost by way of a 37 second pin. Miss Camacho was guaranteed a spot in the state finals by the time she had lost her first match, but she continued with two more victories to earn her the third-place finish. Along the way she collected victories from 4 seed Alexandria McCulley of Hillcrest; 5 seed Daniela Galvez of Redlands East Valley; 6 seed Isela Mendez of Northview; and 3 seed Mayra Franco of Santa Ana.
    • Also at 235 pounds, Julia Richey of Newbury Park made it to the round of sixteen where she lost to the 6 seed Isela Mendez of Northview via a fall. She would then go on to win 3 matches in a row. One of them would be in the blood round where she would go against 8 seed Kassandra Ayard of Paloma Valley and best her in an 8-2 decision. Miss Richey would finish 7th and be guaranteed a trip to Bakersfield.
    • Finally, also at 235 pounds, Sophia Estrada of John Glenn made it to the round of 16 where she was defeated by Rebeca Camacho of Cerritos, who I mentioned earlier, by way of a fall. Miss Estrada would then go on to win three straight matches, one of them against 7 seed Adamariz Badillo of Paramount by way of a first period fall in the blood round. She would finish the tournament in 8th place and with the knowledge she had one more tournament to compete in.

Once again congratulations to all the placers but a special congratulations to the wrestlers I discussed because they came out of nowhere, faced adversity, didn’t lose their composure and got the job done.

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