Wrestling: Team takes second place at West Hills

On the strength of first place finishes by freshman Gabriel Ballesteros (Mesa, AZ HS) and sophomore Tyree Cox (Lancaster HS), the Cerritos College wrestling team placed second at the West Hills Tournament on Saturday. Ballesteros won the 125-pound weight division, while Cox swept through at 184 pounds for the Falcons, who also had four third place finishers and six who came in fourth place. On the day, Cerritos compiled 126 team points and trailed only Sierra College, who had 140.5 points. The team will now compete in the Santa Ana Tournament on Saturday.

For Ballesteros, he entered as the #1-seed and opened with a pin over Kyle Doughty of Santa Rosa College in 6:08, followed by a thrilling 7-6 victory against Brian Santana of Chabot College. A pin in 3:22 against Yubini Barerra of Chabot in the semi-finals sent him into the championships, where a reversal in overtime secured an 8-6 decision against Silverio Esparza of West Hills College Lemoor in the finals.

As for Cox, another top seed, he received a bye in the first round and then posted a 10-3 decision over Tyler Wood of Sierra College. In the semi-finals, Cox earned a technical fall 16-0 win against Justice Cortez of West Hills College Lemoor before recording a 5-2 decision against Quentin Becker of Sierra College for the championship.

At 141 pounds, a pair of Falcons faced each other in the third place match, with Joshua Ewing (Mesa, AZ HS) defeating freshman Michael Behnke (Arlington HS), 8-6 in overtime. Ewing worked his way into the third place match through the consolation round, while Behnke was defeated in the semi-finals by eventual champion Michael Ruiz of West Hills Lemoor. The same scenario played out at 157 pounds, with freshman Yuuki Murai (West Torrance HS) defeating sophomore Dylan Garriott (North Torrance HS), 7-4 for third place. Both won their first match, but were defeated in the quarter-finals before winning three straight matches to meet up in the third place match.

The third pair of Cerritos wrestlers to square off for third place came at 197 pounds, where freshman Tyler Smith (Marina HS) was credited with a win over sophomore George Knight (Corona HS). Smith was in the semi-finals before losing, while Knight lost his first match and then won four straight to meet up with SMith.

Also placing third in the tournament was freshman Dylan Clarke (Burnt Hills, NY HS), who was pinned in the semi-finals by eventual champion Robin Callas of Sierra. But Clarke came back and won two straight matches, including an 11-7 decision against Romen Ornea of Victor Valley College for third place.