In its first (and last) home dual match of the season - its first dual match of the year actually - the Santa Maria girls wrestling team (1-0) scored an impressive win Wednesday night.
On a night in which the Saints honored their four seniors on Santa Maria's Senior Night, Santa Maria defeated Santa Paula 57-21 at the Saints' Wilson Gym in a match between two teams that have been showing well at the CIF Southern Section Northern Regional.
"This was a big win for us," said Steve Hart who, in his first year at Santa Maria is the coach for the school's girls and boys wrestling squads.
"Santa Paula has a great team." The Cardinals are 2-1 in duals this year.
The season is young for the Saints. "We wrestled in a tournament here last weekend, and we wrestled tonight," said Hart. "That's it."
Participation in the Santa Maria program has taken off since its inception several years ago, and the Saints had a full complement of varsity wrestlers Wednesday night, The Cardinals did not field a wrestler in three weight classes and took a forfeit loss in each of those.
Adriana Sanchez (101 pounds), Isela Velasquez (116), Ana Cruz (121), Destiny Garcia (126), Oralia Velasco (160) and Laura Negrette (235) all won by pin for the Saints.
Velasquez, Cruz and Garcia, consecutively, took a combined 2:22 to finish the job in their matches. Velasquez (29 seconds) and Garcia (42) were both done in under a minute. Velasquez notched the quickest pin of the match.
Santa Maria's Andrea Gutierrez, at 131 pounds, won the only match that went to overtime Wednesday night. She rallied for a 4-2 win on a two-point takedown in the first extra period.
Gutierrez said she has been able to build some momentum after wrestling just twice last year.
"I'm ahead of where I was at this point last year," Gutierrez said. "I'm happy with where I'm at. I have a lot of room for improvement, but I'm more confident."
In the first match of the night, Sanchez fell behind 2-0 in the second period after a scoreless first. She went ahead 3-2 with a three-point near fall later in the period then got a pin 17 seconds into the third period.
"I'm a little ahead of where I was at this point last year," Sanchez said. "It's coming along little by little."
Three of Santa Paula's four wins came via pin. Kimberlin Caudillo (111) then Natalie Rodriguez (143) and Alainah Campos (150), in successive matches, notched those for the Cardinals.
Santa Maria qualified 12 wrestlers out of the CIF Southern Section Northern Regional to the Southern Section Masters Meet last year. Two Saints just missed advancing out of that meet to the state meet.
The Saints will not be wrestling in the Southern Section Northern Regional anymore. That is because they are not in the Southern Section anymore. Santa Maria, along with most of the area sports program, moved to the Central Section earlier this year.
Santa Maria will wrestle at the Righetti Quad Meet next Thursday.
San Luis Obispo Tournament
Clovis East 48, St. Joseph 29
Naomi Medina scored 14 points, and the Timberwolves beat the Knights (1-5) in a tournament game at San Luis Obispo High School.
Corey Fowler led St. Joseph with nine points.
St. Joseph will play Cupertino at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in another tournament game at San Luis Obispo High.