Wrestling: Team sits in third place after first day

Falcons in third place after the first day of the state wrestling championships
Falcons in third place after the first day of the state wrestling championships

Already missing a pair of returning All-Americans, the Cerritos College wrestling team is still in third place after the first day of the CCCAA State Championships. Taking place at San Joaquin Delta College, the Falcons have compiled 54.5 team points and hold slim leads over fourth place Sacramento City College (51.5 team points), fifth place Bakersfield College (48) and sixth place Palomar College (45.5). They trail only defending state champion Fresno City College, who has already amassed 98.5 team points, while Southwest Conference rival Mt. San Antonio College is in second place with 80.5 points. The second day of the championships will take place on Saturday, with the first of two sessions getting underway at 10:00 a.m.

125 Pounds - The lone Cerritos wrestler to be eliminated from the tournament, freshman Messiah Owens (Gahr HS) started the day by getting pinned by Brandon Mendoza of Modesto College in 6:58, and saw his season come to a conclusion when he was pinned in 3:22 by Isaac Guerrero of Palomar. In fact, Owens led Guerrero, 7-2 in the second period before he was turned and then pinned.

133 Pounds - The first of four Falcons who have advanced to the semifinals, freshman Joshua Brown (Esperanza HS) received a bye in the first round. In his only action of the day, he opened up a big lead against Jeremy Newman of Sierra College before hanging on for an 11-5 decision. He will now take on Fresno City College's Isaiah Perez, who's ranked #1 in the state.

141 Pounds - After opening the day with a pin over Brennan Gilligan of Shasta College in 6:05, freshman Nick Camacho (Paramount HS) was defeated, 12-6 by Fresno City's Abraham Del Toro, the #3-seeded wrestler at the weight class. Dropping into the consolation round, Camacho remained alive with a hard fought 4-3 win over Skyline College's David Oretga that included a third period takedown to secure the win. Camacho will take on San Joaquin Delta's Brandon Rullan with a chance to advance in the consolation round. A loss and Camacho will compete for eighth place, while he needs to win three times to earn a third place finish.

157 Pounds - Ranked #1 in the tournament in the weight class, sophomore Wyatt Gerl (Calvary Chapel HS) posted a 12-4 major decision over William Schwertscharf of Modesto Junior College to advance to the semifinals. In the first period, Gerl recorded a trio of near falls, including a four-pointer to take an 11-2 lead after the first three minutes. He will square off against Fresno City's Conrad Lopez with a chance to reach the state championship match. Gerl came in fifth place at 149 pounds as a freshman.

165 Pounds - The third of four Falcons to advance to the semifinals, returning All-American Blake Vasquez (Fountain Valley HS) earned an 11-1 major decision over Moorpark's Josh Koning in his only match of the day. Vasquez opened a 6-1 lead in the first period and cruised to the win. On Saturday, the Southern California champion will take on SoCal third place finisher Apollo Santos of Mt. San Antonio College, with a win advancing him to the state championship match.

174 Pounds - In his first match of the day, freshman Zack Gonzalez (Lakewood HS) pinned Jonathan Campos of Lassen College in 1:33. However, that was followed by an 18-2 technical fall loss to top-seeded Anthony Cress of Chabot College. In the consolation round, Gonzalez responded with a pin in 1:58 over Michael Passaglin of Sierra College and will take on Miguel Ruiz of Fresno City College in his first match on Saturday.

184 Pounds - The fourth Falcon avoid elimination on the first day, freshman Angel Verduzco (El Dorado HS) started strong with a 13-5 major decision over Jackson Blankenship of Lassen College. That was followed with a close 6-4 loss to Northern California champion Tevin Bailey of Lassen College. In an elimination match, Verduzco took a 4-3 lead in the second period against Hugo Placante of Skyline and turned a tight 6-3 lead in the third period with a late takedown and four-point near fall for a 12-4 victory. He will now take on Sacramento City's Isaac Sillas in his first match on Saturday.

194 Pounds - Defending state champion David Van Weems (Corona Centennial HS) barely broke a sweat in his lone match of the day. Seeded #1, Van Weems received a bye in the first round and then handed Joseph Salt of Skyline College a 7-2 defeat to advance to the semifinals. He will take on Marcus Macias of Fresno City in his semifinal match, and is two wins away from being just the fifth two-time state champion in Falcon history.

Photos by John Sachs