Wrestling: Eight qualify for state; team places second

The Falcon wrestling team took second place at the SoCal Regional Championships
The Falcon wrestling team took second place at the SoCal Regional Championships

Complete Brackets

Team Scores

Without five starters expected to help them improve on their second place finish at the CCCAA State Championships this season, the Cerritos College wrestling team has been forced to move forward with a different lineup. The Falcons saw their three-year run as Southern California Champions come to an end on Saturday, as their 149 team points were only good enough to put them in second place behind Mt. San Antonio College and their 193.5 team points. Cerritos has qualified eight wrestlers to next weekend's CCCAA State Championships, which will take place at San Joaquin Delta College.

Injuries ended the season for returning All-Americans Aaron Negrete (Calvary Chapel HS) at 149 pounds and 184-pound Bryant Vasquez (Fountain Valley HS), along with state placer Kennith Kirk (Elsinore HS) at 165 pounds, as well as 197-pound Ethan Bakker (Los Alamitos HS). Add 285-pound returning All-American David Zavala (Lakewood HS), who is choosing to focus solely on football.

Despite all those factors, Cerritos still saw three of their wrestlers win Southern California championships, along with one second place, one third place and one fourth place.

Sophomore Wyatt Gerl (Calvary Chapel HS), who came in fifth place at the state championships at 149 pounds last season, came in first place at 157 pounds. Joining him as a SoCal champion was sophomore 165-pount Blake Vasquez (Fountain Valley HS), a returning All-American, as well as returning 197-pound state champion David Van Weems (Corona Centennial HS). Joining them next weekend will be freshman 125-pound Messiah Owens (Gahr HS), who came in fifth place, runner-up Joshua Brown (Esperanza HS) at 133 pounds, freshman Nick Camacho (Paramount HS), who came in fourth place at 141 pounds, freshman Zack Gonzalez (Lakewood HS), a third place finisher at 174 pounds and 184-pound Angel Verduzco (El Dorado HS), who placed fourth.

At 157 pounds, top-seeded Gerl received a pair of byes before a 14-2 major decision over Jose Paez of West Hills sent him into the finals, where to recorded a 5-3 win over #2-seeded James Schmidt of Rio Hondo College. Another top seed for the Falcons, Vasquez pinned Rio Hondo's Anthony Espinoza in 1:38 before a 12-0 major decision against Josh Koning of Moorpark sent him to the finals. In that championship match. Vasquez escaped with a 7-6 win over Matthew Mejia of Mt. San Antonio.

Van Weems was also a top seed who received a first round bye. His first action resulted in a 10-3 win over Noah Lossing of Cuesta, followed by a pin of David Chavaria of Mt. SAC in 5:03 to reach the finals. He was awarded the title when his opponent, Zavion Roberson of Bakersfield College forfeited. At 133 pounds, Brown posted a pair of wins, including a pin, to reach the finals. In his match against Pedro Corona of Bakersfield, Brown was forced to injury default, which earned him second place.