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After winning a CIF title last season, Righetti boys wrestling team appears to be stronger for 2020

After winning a CIF title last season, Righetti boys wrestling team appears to be stronger for 2020

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Righetti's boys wrestling team celebrated its first year in the CIF Central Section by winning the 2019 Central Section Division 2 championship.

The Warriors lost some key members from that team to graduation. However, veteran Righetti coach Andrew Domingues hardly seemed in a down mood about his team's prospects Saturday.

In fact, "I think we're a much better team this year," Domingues said.

"We have a lot of guys back who have more experience under their belts."

As Domingues spoke, host Righetti was squeezing out a 244.5-244 win over second-place Fresno Central to win the 14-team, second annual Old Dutch Tournament at Righetti's Warrior Gym.

The tournament is named in honor of former long-time Righetti wrestling coach Dutch Van Patten.

"Last year we were really strong at the upper weights," said Domingues. "This year we're strongest at the lower weights, but we're really balanced."

The Warriors bore their coach's confidence out Saturday. Righetti edged a tough Central squad for the team championship, and eight Warriors made it into championship matches.

Six of them won, and five of the Righetti champions were at the lower weights.

Righetti freshman Jeremy Oani distinguished himself as a youth wrestler, and it didn't take him long to earn his first tournament championship as a high school wrestler.

At the Warriors' second appearance of the year, Oani rode five early points to a 7-3 win in the 103-pound championship match.

The other Righetti winners were Dominic Mendez at 113 pounds, Tyson Escobedo at 126, Aaron Ibarra at 138, Jasun Bautista at 145 and Joshua Brown at 285.

Brown delivered the championship to the Warriors by stopping Brockman Morris at 2:37 of the 285-pound title match.

"Not at all," Brown said when he was asked if he knew beforehand that the team title was riding on his match.

It was, and Brown delivered.

Escobedo won in a dominating 15-0 decision. Mendez won by major decision. Ibarra and Bautista both won by decision.

Mendez was a mainstay for the Righetti wrestling team last season. He was one of three state qualifiers. Benny Banduenga, another state qualifier, graduated.

Matthew Rodriguez, another Warrior who qualified for the state meet last season, is on the team this year.

He wrestled Saturday, but had to forfeit his 152-pound match against Central's Abneybir Sekhon because of an injury.

Adrian Stout made it to the Central Section Masters Meet last year, and he wrestled Saturday. Another local wrestler, Nipomo senior Jesse Garza, defeated Stout 5-1 in the 195-pound title match.

"Stout knocked me out of the Masters on the first day last year," said Garza.

Righetti will wrestle at a prominent tournament, the Zinkin Tournament at Clovis Buchanan High School, Dec. 20.  

California Wrestling Classic

The Nipomo Titans had a strong showing at Saturday's California Wrestling Classic.

Justin Burdick won at 183 pounds and Jesse Garza won at 196.

The Titans' Jonathan Gallardo finished fourth at 121 and Austin Musick was fourth at 146.

Samuel Riquelme finished fifth at 114 pounds, making five of six Nipomo wrestlers to place at the event.

Kenny Cress Fave 5 Collection

As 2020 draws closer, we are taking a look back at our top stories of 2019.  In this collection reporter Kenny Cress chooses the top five stories that he wrote during the year.  Follow more of Kenny's work on SantaMariaTimes.com, and sign up for a News+ membership to support the work of local journalists in your community. 

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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