Six East County wrestlers impress at state wrestling meet

Granite Hills High School senior Collin Guffey realized a dream by winning this year’s 165-pound state wrestling championship.

The high school wrestling season has wrapped up for mat men and mat women in Califor­nia following the 51st annual state championship for boys and 13th annual state championship for girls Feb. 29 to March 2 at Bakersfield’s Mechanics Arena.

Poway won the boys state team title – the fifth in Titan history — to halt a seven-year run by Buchanan High School while Walnut captured its first girls team championship.

Poway set new state records for most state place-winners (12) and highest team score (290.5 points).

“I’m really proud of these guys and our coaches,” Poway coach John Meyers said. “Not a lot of people see what goes on behind the scenes. No one sees what these kids have gone through — the discipline and dedication.”

The San Diego Section quali­fied 56 wrestlers for the boys tournament, including 12 from East County (10 from Granite Hills), and 42 wrestlers for the girls tournament (seven from East County — two each from Granite Hills and Santana).

The section’s final tally sheet featured 14 boys place-winners and 12 girls place-winners — six total from East County (four girls and two boys).

East County place-winners in the boys field included senior 165-pound champion Collin Guffey and senior 113-pounder Abram Cline (third place) from Granite Hills. East County girls place-finishers included Monte Vista’s Olivia Davis (140 pounds, second place), Gran­ite Hills’ Lucia Ledezma (140 pounds, fourth place) and Kyli Stanley (130 pounds, eighth place) and Santana’s Amber Spencer (145 pounds, eighth place).

Buoyed by the two state med­alists in the boys field, the Ea­gles (100.5 points) placed eighth as a team.

“It was a great tournament for our team,” Granite Hills coach Jesse Sheard underscored. “All of our boys and girls wrestled very hard. Placing eighth as a team was a huge accomplish­ment. Obviously, some didn’t get the results they wanted or achieve the goals they set, but every single one of them fought every match and never gave up. They all made me very proud.

“This senior group is a very special group to me. They were the ones who bought into what we were doing and trusted us. They laid the foundation for the future of Granite Hills wres­tling. I love them all, wish them nothing but the best, and am really going to miss them.”

Alpine’s Guffey, the reign­ing poster boy for East County wrestling, finished 5-0 at the state meet to record a rare undefeated season at 51-0. He opened the three-day tourna­ment with a 19-6 major decision over Rim of the World’s Roman Loya before pinning South’s Ju­nior Bojorquez in 1:33 in the Round of 16.

The San Diego Section Divi­sion II and Masters champion pinned Pitman’s Brodie John­son in 1:07 in the quarterfinals before topping Palm Desert’s David Alonso by an 8-0 ma­jor decision in the semifinals to continue to cut through the weight class.

Guffey, whose father and un­cle both wrestled for Valhalla High School, remained domi­nant with a 3-0 shutout win over St. John Bosco’s Joseph Antonio in the championship round.

Alonso went on to place third in the field while Johnson placed eighth.

The bracket started out with a Round of 64.

“Collin winning state was just an amazing experience,” Sheard said. “That kid has put in so much work and dedication to this sport, it was great to see it pay off for him. I’m saying it here now, he will be an NCAA champion. Last time we had a state champion was Aaron Gaeir in 1987.”

The long 36-year wait to put Granite Hills back on the state championship map was certain­ly rewarded in Guffey’s case following a runner-up finish at last year’s state tournament that served as self-motivation this season.

Guffey’s 51-0 record includes 39 pins.

“Collin has worked so hard to make this dream a reality,” Sheard elaborated. “His dedica­tion and love for the sport goes unmatched. Collin has been a huge part of our program’s suc­cess. He trusted the process, coaches, and bought into what we were building. Always set­ting the standard and doing ex­tra to make sure his goals get achieved.

“He always was a good role model and leader for the young­er kids. I’m excited to see the success he has at Stanford. I couldn’t be prouder of this young man. These last four years have been a wild ride but nothing short of amazing. It’s been an honor to coach this kid.”

But Guffey wasn’t the only Eagle to shine in Bakersfield.

Cline also had a “great tour­nament,” according to Sheard.

Cline opened the tournament in the Round of 32 with a com­manding 16-0 technical fall against Cypress’ Jimmy Rome­ro, then recorded a 9-0 major decision over De la Salle’s Caleb Tatad.

Things got excruciatingly tight for everyone left in the field.

Cline tip-toed past Merced’s Elijah Valencia by a slim 1-0 score in the quarterfinals. The Granite grappler met a familiar foe in the semifinals, Poway’s Edwin Sierra, who had previ­ously shaded him by a 1-0 score in the section’s Division I finals and 4-1 at Masters.

Sierra won the rematch 2-1 to advance to the championship bout against Buchanan’s Rock­lin Zinkin while Cline dropped to the consolation semifinals. Cline hunkered down to turn defeat into victory with a 2-0 decision over Clovis’ Thunder Lewis to assure himself of a medal.

Cline advanced to the third-place match where he doubled up Del Oro’s Siraj Sidhu by a 4-2 score.

Lewis finished sixth in the weight class while Valencia was eighth.

“Watching him (Cline) grow the last couple years has been a fun journey,” the Granite Hills mat boss said. “No mat­ter the situation you can always count on him to grind it out. He’s taken some tough losses in the semis the last two years but both times he didn’t let his emotions get the best of him. Instead, he used it as motiva­tion to get third. That’s not a character trait you see much of these days.”

Poway had three state cham­pions: G. Elias Navida (132 pounds), Angelo Posada (175 pounds) and Robert Platt (215 pounds).

Rancho Bernardo finished 40th in the team standings while Division III section Braw­ley finished a distant 63rd.

Ledezma, a freshman, proved to be the wild card in her girls backet.

“She was unranked going in, but definitely made a statement and put everyone on notice,” Sheard said. “The next three years with her is going to be fun.”

Kyli Stanley placed eighth. “She had a rough first-round match but fought through the consolations to place,” Sheard said. “She definitely showed a lot of heart.”

Section girls state champi­ons included Poway’s Alejandra Valdiviezo (120 pounds) and Brawley’s Delarie Juarez (145 pounds).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here