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Righetti wrestlers ride depth to CIF Central Section Division II championship

Righetti wrestlers ride depth to CIF Central Section Division II championship

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From the start of the season, Righetti's wrestlers and their coaches liked the team's depth. 

That depth was enough to give the Warriors the first CIF Central Section divisional championship for a Santa Maria Valley team since most of the area athletic programs moved there from the Southern Section, effective in the 2018-19 school year.

Eleven of the 14 Righetti wrestlers advanced out of the Division II meet, which took place last weekend at Lemoore High School, to the sectional Masters Meet and the Warriors won the CIF Central Section Division II boys wrestling title.

Righetti edged second-place Kingsburg 249 points to 240. Pioneer Valley finished third with 207 points.

Righetti freshman Dominic Mendez won the 106-pound championship at the divisional meet and his senior teammate, Benny Banduenga, won at 152 pounds.

"We knew we had a chance," to win a sectional championship, said Mendez. "We have a really good team this year." Righetti won the inaugural Mountain League title before taking the sectional Division II crown.

"We had really good team bonding," said Banduenga.

Righetti assistant coach Todd Noel said, "It wasn't just the guys who won championships who helped us win the championship. Guys who lost once and then (rallied from that to get some wins) played a big part. We had a lot of guys who did that."

Banduenga owns championships from two different sections. He won at the Southern Section Masters meet last year.

The Central Section Masters Meet is slated for Thursday and Friday at Lemoore. The top 10 in each weight class will advance to the state meet. 

All of Righetti's upper weights wrestlers moved on to the Masters Meet. Banduenga, Adan Solis (second at 160 pounds at the sectionals), Ronald Kim (third at 170), John McCormack (fourth at 182), Adrian Stout (third at 195), Julian Vea (sixth at 220) and Josh Brown (third at 285) all moved on.

Righetti lower weights wrestlers who advanced included Mendez, Aaron Ibarra (fourth at 126 pounds at the sectional meet), Jasun Bautista (fourth at 138 pounds) and Matthew Rodriguez (sixth at 145). Noel said an injury hampered Rodriguez at the sectional meet, but that he was ready for the Masters meet.

Banduenga said the sectional meet "was definitely harder this year. There were a lot of good wrestlers there."

Pioneer Valley's Oskar Ruiz won the 182-pound title at the sectional meet.

Eight Righetti girls wrestlers advance to Masters Meet

Kameah Tell won the championship at 116 pounds at the Division II sectional meet at Lemoore, and seven other Warriors moved on to the Masters Meet.

Righetti's Perla Sanchez (106 pounds), Gabby Rincon (111), Natalie Haro (122), Leila Vallijo (128), Kianna Barr (143), Haili Gehrt (162) and Shanyce Valadez (189) all advanced.

The Central Section Girls Masters Meet is slated for Friday and Saturday at Lemoore.

Host of Nipomo wrestlers advance to Masters Meet

Seven Nipomo boys and seven Nipomo girls moved on from the sectional meet to the Masters.

Four Nipomo boys, including Francisco Alcantar, Justin Burdick, Johnathan Gallardo and Jesse Garza, won weight class championships. Jayson Davis finished third in his weight class. Luis-Diego Riquelme finished fourth. Joey Garza finished fifth and went to the Masters Meet as an alternate.

Leila Martin won a championship at the sectional girls meet, and six of her teammates advanced.

Shelis Canton, with a second-place finish, Savanah Ruiz (third), Krystal Diaz (fifth), Sam Wolff (seventh), Josie Wellington (seventh) and Sophia Ybarra (eighth) all advanced.  

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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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