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By Zach Cavanagh
The San Clemente wrestling program qualified two boys and three girls out of last weekend’s CIF-SS Masters Meets for the CIF State Wrestling Championships this weekend in Bakersfield.
Garrett Boyd (boys, 145 pounds), Vance Fabrasilio (boys, 160 pounds), Eden Hernandez (girls, 116 pounds), Berlyn Davis (girls, 126 pounds) and Lily Mercado (girls, 235 pounds) all punched their tickets to the state meet at Mechanics Bank Arena this Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 24-26.
Both the boys and girls programs finished third as a team at the CIF-SS Eastern Division Individual Championships on Feb. 12, with the boys qualifying eight wrestlers to the Masters and the girls qualifying seven wrestlers.
At the boys CIF-SS Masters at Sonora High School on Saturday, Feb. 19, Boyd and Fabrasilio qualified for state with top-nine performances.
At 145 pounds, Boyd won his first two matches by decisions, 7-4 and 8-4, to advance to the quarterfinals, where Boyd was defeated by fall in 5:44. Boyd was then up and down in the consolation bracket with a 6-4 decision win followed by a 11-1 major decision loss, but by then, Boyd had already done enough to qualify for state. Boyd was then given the seventh-place match by forfeit, 4-3, to finish his tournament 4-2 overall.
At 160 pounds, Fabrasilio had a slightly longer road after losing his opening match by decision, 9-3. Fabrasilio then posted four straight decisive victories in the consolation bracket. Fabrasilio won by a technical fall (16-0 in 2:56), by decision (8-6), by major decision (8-0) and by fall in 1:26. Fabrasilio lost his fifth consolation match by injury default at 3:08, but like Boyd, he had already done enough work to qualify for state. Fabrasilio was given the seventh-place match by injury default.
Benjamin Hernandez (132 pounds), Dominic Morales (138 pounds), Cole Robertson (195 pounds) and Fernando Llanos (220 pounds) each won matches at Masters but did not reach a qualifying place.
At the girls CIF-SS Masters at Marina High School on Saturday, Feb. 19, Hernandez, Davis and Mercado all reached the state meet with top-eight qualifying runs.
At 116 pounds, Eden Hernandez had the best finish out of all the San Clemente wrestlers across the program. Hernandez won her first three matches by fall in 2:32, by decision (4-2) and by fall in the quarterfinals in 5:03. Hernandez was beaten by technical fall in the championship semifinals (19-2 in 5:15), but bounced back in the consolation semifinals with a fall in 4:40. The third-place match did not last long, as Hernandez lost by fall in 41 seconds, but she earned fourth place and a trip to state.
At 126 pounds, Davis won her first match by fall in 3:09 but lost her second match by fall in 1:52 to head to the consolation bracket. Davis then won her next three matches in the consolation rounds by fall in 3:28, by fall in 4:57 and by decision (9-4). Davis lost in the fifth consolation round by fall in 46 seconds, but had done enough to qualify for state. Davis earned the seventh-place match by an injury default in 47 seconds.
At 235 pounds, Mercado advanced to the quarterfinals by winning her first two matches by fall in 0:57 and 2:33. Mercado was defeated by fall in the quarterfinals in 1:52, but was strong early in the consolation rounds. Mercado won by decision (8-3) and then by fall in 40 seconds to advance to the consolation semifinals. Mercado lost by decision (6-0) but had done enough by that point to qualify for state. Mercado lost the fifth-place match by fall in 2:27 to take sixth place.
Keyla Ajoleza (131 pounds), Diana Bonilla-Gutierrez (150 pounds) and Brianna Rodriguez (160 pounds) each won matches at Masters but did not qualify for state.
The CIF State Wrestling Championships begin at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield on Thursday, Feb. 24. The girls championships open the day at 9 a.m., with the boys starting at 1 p.m.
On Friday, the consolations begin at 9 a.m., with quarterfinals scheduled for 3:45 p.m. On Saturday, consolations begin at 9 a.m. again, with semifinals at 11 a.m. The CIF State Championship Finals begin at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.
The CIF State Wrestling Championships will be broadcast live online by the NFHS Network. To view the broadcast, go to nfhsnetwork.com/associations/cif.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.