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Rob Sherrill Notebook: Valencia leads 12 Golden State weekend champions
By Rob Sherrill, WIN High School Columnist
Losing is never fun, but the best way to put it behind you is to get back on the mat and work for a different result.
Moving up a weight class from the one at which he finished a disappointing third in the California state tournament last month, sophomore Zahid Valencia of Bellflower St. John Bosco was one three California wrestlers — and one of two from his school — to win titles in the USA Wrestling Junior Folkstyle Nationals at Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Wrestling at 120 pounds, Valencia scored a technical fall, two major decisions and a decision before edging three-time Oregon champion Ronnie Bresser of Klamath Falls Henley, 3-2 in the final. Bresser, who won the Oregon state meet at that weight, advanced to the finals with technical falls in all four of his matches.
Meanwhile, Valencia’s teammate, freshman phenom Aaron Pico, was a scoring machine in winning the 138-pound title. The state champion had a semifinal pin and scored 20 or more points in all five of his other matches — 113 in all — in racking up three technical falls, the last one in the final over Logan Ryan of Bettendorf, Iowa, and
back-to-back major decisions of 20-9 over Oklahoma champion Jonce Blaylock of Tulsa Berryhill and 21-11 over three-time Minnesota champion Kyle Gliva of Inver Grove Heights Simley.
Two other California state qualifiers won at Cedar Falls: Christopher Lacayo (106) of Corona Santiago in the Junior Division and Armand Molina (126) of Firebaugh in the Cadet Division.
At Virginia Beach, Va., and the National High School Coaches Association national tournament, a pair of two-time state place-winners, Javier Gasca (132) of Kingsburg and Kyle Perreault (160) of Fresno Clovis East, were NHSCA senior champions.
Twice third in state, Gasca opened with three pins and was tested only once, by two-time state champion Dennis Gustafson of Woodbridge (Va.) Forest Park, 5-4 in the semifinals. Perreault, also third in state this year, slipped past Calvin Ochs of Hoxie (Kan.), 3-1 after dominating the rest of his bracket. Perreault had a pin, two technical falls and two major decisions prior to the final. California finished second in the team standings, 191-165 behind New Jersey.
The Golden State also claimed three champions in the Flonationals, April 5-7, in Indiana University, Pa. Christian Pagdilao (145) of Corona Santiago beat a pair of ranked opponents, Grant Leeth of Kearney (Mo.), 4-3 in the overtime tie-breaker in the quarterfinals and Jack Clark of Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh School, 3-1 in the final. The state’s two upper-weight champions, juniors Derrick Jones (220) of Bloomington and Nick Nevills (285) of team state champion Clovis, also won easily. Both pinned their first three opponents.