Best High School Girls Wrestling Programs in California

Updated 6/7/2019

In 2011, when the first official CIF girls wrestling state championships took place, 154 schools participated. In 2019, with the increase from 25 to 32 wrestlers per weight class, a total of 263 schools competed (an increase of 43 schools over last year). Since that first championship tournament, 541 different schools have sent at least one wrestler to represent them. This year, 50 schools that had not sent a single wrestler to the tournament since 2011 were represented by at least one! Programs have come and gone but a few have continued to thrive year after year.

Inevitably, at the end of each season the question gets asked, which are the best high school girls wrestling programs in California? This is not a question that is answered as easily as one might think. What are the criteria that should be used to decide? Does the number of individual champions trump the number of team championships? Does a team with acclaimed consistent coaching out-rank one from a school that has supported girls wrestling year after year but has been unable to find staff that will stay longer than a season or two?  And, is a program with a single wrestler that places at state better than a one that sends 6 wrestlers that do not place? Some coaches have even commented that the number of boys sent to their respective state championships should be included when deciding, in effect throwing the girls back into the fold that they have tried to separate themselves from for so long.

As difficult as the question may be to answer, I have decided to make an attempt at doing just that. In the year’s best list, I have taken 2 factors into consideration and given them point values. The first is the number of wrestlers sent to state. The second is the final top-8 placings of wrestlers, giving a higher value to higher placings.

I have also included an All-time best program list. The method I used to decide who goes on that list is to simply take the points accumulated by a program in each year and add them up. There are 3 points of contention I expect to hear:

  1. The fact that I only go back to 2011 in my rankings, when the first CIF-sanctioned state championship was held, there may be some who believe a certain program is not being recognized because I did not go back far enough in time. To those who feel that way, I apologize and can only say that I wish getting hold of records from earlier dates was as easy as getting them since the time CIF recognized the sport.
  2. There will be those who feel the programs at the top of the list are there because they dominated the sport when the competition was not as developed as it now is and it will be difficult to catch up to them. My response to that is, a program cannot rest on its laurels it must continue to work, even if it no longer dominates the state championships, every wrestler it sends to state cements its standing atop the list (and sending wrestlers to state is no longer a cakewalk). As for a program being unable to catch-up, I believe this sport is here to stay, I think there is plenty of time for the All-time list to see some changes (pun intended).
  3. Some will wonder why some schools are not in the top 30 when they have had a dominant wrestler, for example Gabby Garcia (Valencia of Placentia)— a 4-time state champion (2013-2016). Unfortunately, even though Miss Garcia is a legend in her own right, a single wrestler cannot constitute a top program. Schools can build a successful program out of having a single dominant wrestler but the program, to be considered a top program, in my opinion, needs to continue to produce results beyond that single wrestler.

As I said at the opening, there have been 491 different schools that have competed at state since 2011, for the sake brevity I will only list the top-30 in both the year and the all-time list but I will give as much context and justification as possible to each listing. I hope you enjoy this list and see it as my humble effort to continue to celebrate and record the history of this great sport. If someone disagrees with my lists or methods please feel free to contact me, I will be more than happy to discuss differing viewpoints but the bottom line is that these ranking are a product of what I consider the most important factors in rating a successful program and they may be very different from other people’s.

Section codes are as follow:

  • Central Coast Section, CCS
  • Central Section, CS
  • Los Angeles City Section, LACS
  • North Coast Section, NCS
  • Sac-Joaquin Section, SJS
  • San Diego Section, SDS
  • Southern Section, SS

Top-30 All-time Best High School Girls Wrestling Programs in California (as of 2019)

In the table below, along with the school’s all-time ranking, I have also included their all-time ranking prior to the end of the 2018-2019 season, the total number of wrestlers they have sent to the state championships, as well as the total number of placers the school has had since 2011.

RankSchoolSectionAll-time Ranking Previous SeasonTotal Wrestlers to Have CompetedTotal Placers (including Champions)Total Top-3 Placers (including Champions)Total Champions
4West CovinaSS3376105
5James LoganNCS4351762
7San FernandoLACS1745751
9Jesse BethelSJS626261
11Pioneer ValleyCS934621
13Del OroSJS12301043
18Santa AnaSS1428631
19Terra NovaCCS1528820
20Newark MemorialNCS2024432
21Steele CanyonSDS2126510
22Santa PaulaSS2224600
24Bella VistaSJS3510863
25San DimasSS2817620
29Santa MonicaSS3211552

Top-30 Best High School Girls Programs in California of the 2018-2019 Season

In the table below, I have listed the top-30 programs out of the 263 schools that participated in the state championships of the 2018-2019 wrestling season. I have also included the programs’ all-time ranking as of the end of the season.

Something that might be noticed, my formulation does not guarantee a top-spot by simply having a champion, though it does help. The best way to insure a high ranking in the list is to send a large delegation and to get as many placers as possible.

RankSchoolSectionAll-time Ranking After 2018-2019 SeasonCompeting WrestlersChampionsTop-3 Placers (including Champions)Placers (including Champions)
1San FernandoLACS713023
6Norte VistaSS101 (tied)3122
7Monroe, JamesLACS75 (tied)4012
10Arroyo-NNCS132 (tied)2112
10McClatchySJS94 (tied)2112
12LibertyNCS44 (tied)4011
12Newark MemorialNCS204011
12Silver CreekCCS40 (tied)2012
16Orland (N)SJS143 (tied)3111
16CerritosSS97 (tied)3002
16Mt. WhitneyCS88 (tied)2012
16La Costa CanyonSDS132 (tied)2012
20ClovisCS223 (tied)2012
20WestminsterSS90 (tied)2012
20Bella VistaSJS242112
24FremontCCS231 (tied)4001
24FolsomSJS70 (tied)2012
24YucaipaSS231 (tied)2111
24RowlandSS78 (tied)2111
28Del OroSJS13 (tied)4002
28DurhamSJS252 (tied)4001
28AyalaSS97 (tied)2011
28NorcoSS252 (tied)2002
28EscalonSJS155 (tied)2011
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