Nipomo keeps charging hard, but Pioneer Valley still reigns as the top girls wrestling team in the area.
The three-time CIF Southern Section Northern Regional champion won at the Central Coast Girls Wrestling Association Championships Saturday with 221 points. Nipomo finished second at 198. Pioneer Valley hosted the meet at its gymnasium.
"Last year they beat us by, like, 100 points," said Nipomo coach Justin Magdaleno.
"Pioneer Valley is our hill, and we keep getting closer to climbing it. We lost some matches today that we won in our dual meet against them (39-36 Pioneer Valley win.)
"That one came down to the last match. We were down 36-6 at one point."
Magdaleno coached Pioneer Valley when the Panthers won an unofficial state championship the year before the CIF recognized girls wrestling as a CIF sport.
The Panthers have won the Northern Regional title every year the meet has been contested. They have hosted it every year, and they will again, next Saturday at 9 a.m.
As for the CCGWA meet, Pioneer Valley coach Kevin Ilac seemed happy enough with how his respective teams performed. His "A" team wrestlers won nine individual championships, and Pioneer Valley's B team finished third in the 14-team field with 97 points. The top four wrestlers in each weight class medaled..
"I thought we wrestled much better today than we did at the quad meet two weeks ago," said Ilac.
Ilac said there is no official girls wrestling league in the area yet, although the number of girls wrestling leagues in the CIF Southern Section is up to five from the three there were last year.
"Some PAC 8 League and Los Padres League schools (the schools' league memberships in other sports) were at the quad meet," said Ilac.
Five No. 2 seeds won CCGWA titles for Pioneer Valley. One of those No. 2 seeds, senior Cherry Inay, battled through an injury to her right knee to get the job done,
Inay got hurt in the third round of her 116-pound title match against top-seeded Jennifer Ballesteros of Santa Maria. The referee stopped the action briefly then Inay said she could still go.
Inay eventually pinned Ballesteros at the 1:36 mark of the third round.
"I felt a little pop, but I had to continue," said Inay.
"The knee's fine. I'll be able to go (in the Northern Regional). I used the bar move to get the pin. It's the most common one I use."
Top-seeded Jacky Milan of Nipomo also battled through an injury to win a championship Saturday, at 170 pounds.
With a 2-0 lead and her right leg obviously hurting, Milan gave up one escape, and then another with two seconds left as Dani Rivas of Pioneer Valley forced overtime by tying the match at 2-2. Milan scored a two-point takedown early in overtime to win the match.
MIlan limped away afterward.
Alexis Garcia of Nipomo (23-0) and Lesly Hernandez of Cabrillo (18-0) all stayed unbeaten for the year by winning championships, Garcia at 235 pounds, the heaviest weight, and Hernnadez at 101, the lightest.
Garcia, a senior, and Hernandez, a junior, are both third-year wrestlers. They were both top-seeded Saturday.
Hernandez won three matches to get her title and racked up pins in all three. Garcia had to work just 40 seconds to win her championship. It took her that long to pin teammate Lyndsy Mendoza.
Those two were the only wrestlers at 235 pounds.
"I made it to the state meet last year, but I didn't get past the first day," said Garcia. "My goal this year is to make it to the second day. I"m where I want to be right now."
Hernandez also has a goal to get to the second day of a big meet. "I finished fourth at the (CIF Southern Section) Masters meet last year, but I didn't get past the first day," she said. The Masters meet is the CIF-SS state qualifier.
The Cabrillo junior racked up pins in all three of her matches, and stopped J.C. Rollins of Nipomo at 1:11 of the title match.
"I used the cradle move to get the pin the first two matches," she said. "That's my favorite move. In the last match, I used a half nelson to get the pin."
Santa Maria's "A" team, with 80 points, and Pioneer Valley's "C" squad, with 76, rounded out the top five Saturday.
Lower weights champions included Hernandez, Abril Sanchez of Nipomo (106), and Carolina Molina (111), Inay, Emily Ramirez (121), Mya Velasquez (126) and Molina Bourbon (131), all of Pioneer Valley.
Upper weights champions included Jennifer Espinoza (137 pounds), Ashley Salinas (143), Michelle Gonzales (150) and Arlene Martinez (160) of Pioneer Valley, Milan, Marlen Carillo of Lompoc (189) and Garcia.
For a complete list of team standings and medalists, see the Scorecard page.