Santa Maria High School has the top girls wrestling program in the Central Section.
The Saints claimed the team championship at the CIF-CS Masters Meet on Saturday at East Bakersfield High.
The Saints took the team title with 107 points, edging second-place Bakersfield Ridgeview, which finished with 102 points. Bakersfield Foothill was third with 98 points.
Three other Central Coast schools finished in the top 10. Pioneer Valley was sixth with 73 points and Nipomo was seventh with 55 points. Righetti finished tied for ninth with 51 points, matching Porterville Monache.
“It feels pretty good, especially since we've won league and CIF in the last two weeks,” Santa Maria coach Jose Torres said. "We’ve been working for it, the girls were working hard. We weren't really foreseeing this happening this year, we thought it'd be a possibility next season. But the girls have definitely exceeded the expectations that we had for them.”
The Saints had to squeak out the win after a number of Saint wrestlers went down with injuries.
"It was pretty close, mainly because of two or three injuries. There were two or three matches that didn’t go our way also," Torres said. "We were able to pull it out at the end.”
The Saints will also send two wrestlers to the CIF State Meet, 131-pounder Jennifer Lopez and 189-pounder Mariana Tello.
"Those two girls are really hard workers," Torres said. "We'll be losing Mariana because she is a senior, but we'll have another year with Jennifer."
Torres said Lopez and Tello pretty much embody the entire attitude of the team.
"It was just determination and hard work, there is some talent, but the determination paid off," Torres said. "We've been telling them to keep working and it's going to pay off.”
Torres said he started working with the program about six years ago and he had three girls to work with. This year the Saints had 30 members on the girls wrestling team.
"We've been working to get to where we want them," Torres said. "Hopefully next year we'll be able to qualify more of these girls next year for Masters."
The Masters level of competition is among all the schools and wrestlers in the CIF Central Section, no matter the division or region. There were 45 scoring teams at the event, with Santa Maria beating them all.
Torres said having the support of his administration has been crucial in building the program up to this point.
"Our athletic director, Brian Wallace, has been huge for us, with all the support he shows us," Torres added.
Sandoval second at CIF-SS Masters
Santa Ynez High senior Richie Sandoval finished second at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet Saturday at Sonora High School.
Sandoval went 2-1 on the day, winning his 120 pound quarterfinal match by major decision and his semifinal match by decision before losing 3-1 in the championship match.
Sandoval's second place finish earned him a spot in the CIF State Championship Tournament.