CCCAA wrestling fans should be ready to partake in another exciting weekend as the Santa Ana tournament could give us a sneak peek of what the future holds at the state tournament. Only a few wrestlers are heavy favorites in their respective weight classes, while the rest of the brackets will have many athletes fighting for control. When it comes to the team standings, it is uncertain who will win the tournament. Both Sacramento City and Cerritos College are the front-runners, with Mt. Sac, Sacramento City, and Bakersfield getting closer with each passing week.
The predicted winner at this weight class looks to be Jonathan Prata (Cerritos College). Only a freshman, Prata is ranked No. 1 in the state via the California Community College wrestling website. Currently undefeated on the season, Prata won the West Hills tournament last weekend by upsetting 2018 CCCAA state runner-up Mario Moreno (Fresno City) 11-7 in the semifinal round. A likely candidate to meet up with Prata is another Falcon wrestler in Jose Lozano. Lozano had a great weekend at West Hills as he returned from a second-round loss to win six consecutive matches and earn the third-place medal. Along the way, Lozano earned a hard-fought 4-2 win over Jacob Hiller (Sacramento City) in the consolation semifinal round. Hiller has been consistent for the Panthers as he was third at the Sacramento City tournament and fifth at West Hills.
2018 CCCAA All-American Erik Marquez (Palomar College) is back looking to win an individual title after placing fourth last year at 141-pounds in this event. He should be challenged by Cerritos College sophomore Andres Gonzales. Gonzales was second at the West Hills tournament after injury defaulting in the championship match. Gonzales is back on the wrestling mats for the Falcons after having suffered a season-ending injury last year at the CCCAA State Dual Meet Championship match. A wrestler ready to move on the state rankings is Angel Rosales (Bakersfield College) who was seventh at the Sacramento City tournament at 141-pounds and fourth at West Hills at 133.
Sophomore Raul Ortiz (Sacramento City) should be the favorite to win this event for the first time in bis career. Two weeks ago, he was triumphant in winning the Sacramento City tournament by outscoring the opposition 32-1. With a championship title at the West Hills invitational, Ortiz’s presence will be looming in the minds of the competition this weekend. Freshman Darrien Javier (Mt. San Antonio College) has placed himself in a good position after capturing the third-place medal at the West Hills tournament. Only a freshman, Javier is a former two-time state qualifier for Temescal Canyon High. Bradley Chirino (Mt. San Antonio College) is also a freshman and the potential number three seed in the tournament. He went 6-2 at the West Hills tournament and finished in fifth place after losing to Javier via injury default. Cole Kachmar (Sacramento City) was fourth at the Sacramento City tournament two weeks ago and finished top 12 at the West Hills tournament. He has the potential to be a place winner this weekend.
West Hills third-place medalist Christian Espinoza (Rio Hondo) looks to be a lock for an individual title at Santa Ana. He will be challenged by a pair of Cerritos College wrestlers in Vante Moore and Isaiah Mora. Both athletes were established wrestlers during their high school days as both competed at the CIF state tournament. Moore won the fifth-place medal at the West Hills tournament after winning via injury default versus Mora. Mora met Espinoza in the consolation semifinal match and was pinned in the third period of their match. Ismael Cruz (Rio Hondo) will be a contender to win a medal after finishing top 8 at the West Hills tournament.
The 157-Pound weight class should be a one-man show run by 2018 CCCAA All-American Larry Rodriguez (Cerritos College). Still undefeated on the season, Rodriguez was triumphant last weekend in claiming the West Hills tournament by defeating Bakersfield College Adrian Gonzales 8-5. Gonzales had a great weekend at West Hills as he displayed great composure by outlasting the competition despite going 0-2 at the Sacramento City tournament two weeks ago. Hunter LaRue (Sacramento City) was seventh at the West Hills tournament and should be in the mix of grapplers that could place top four in this event.
The 165-pound weight class will be loaded with talent this weekend. Leading the way should be 2018 CCCAA All-American Mace Anderson of Palomar College. A gifted athlete, Anderson will attempt to win the event for the first time in his career after placing fourth last year. Wetzel Hill (Mt. San Antonio) shocked the audience in attendance at West Hills as he did the unthinkable and defeated the consensus No. 2 seed Manny Curry (Sacramento City) 15-3 in the semifinal round. Curry, who was a 2018 CCCAA state place winner after placing seventh, will be ready to wrestle Hill once again and get the upper hand this time around. Freshman Jacob Hansen (Moorpark College) showed great displayed last weekend as he defeated 2018 CCCAA state qualifier Emmanuel Zepeda (East LA College) 6-3 in a dual-meet match. Zepeda was seventh at this event last year but will try and step on to the podium this weekend for this first time.
After placing second at both the Sacramento City and West Hills tournament, Sacramento City College wrestler Chase Miles should be the census top-rated grappler to win the tournament. His style of wrestling makes him a dangerous individual to face. Two other wrestlers that placed at the West Hills tournament and should contend for medals are Cobe Hatcher (Cerritos College) and Carlos Mejia (Mt. San Antonio College). Both athletes met in the consolation semifinal round with Hatcher getting the 8-2 win. Scott Hokit (Bakersfield) is a tough freshman who has placed at every tournament he has entered. He injury defaulted last weekend at the West Hills tournament so we will see if he is ready to compete this weekend. Others in the weight class include a pair of Sacramento City wrestlers in Liam Leckie and Ricky Mello.
Three outstanding wrestlers anchor a rather broad field in this weight class. Heading the list is 2018 CCCAA state place winner Nick Kimball (Palomar College). A seasoned veteran, Kimball was a 2018 Southern Region and helped the Comets to place top 10 at the state tournament. A contender to advance to the championship final and met-up with Kimball is Armando Gonzales (Cerritos College). Unseeded at the West Hills tournament, Gonzales battle his way throughout the consolation bracket to finish fourth. A third wrestler that can’t be counted out is Melad Ayyoub (Mt. San Antonio) who last week was fifth at the West Hills tournament. Jarrod Nunez (Cerritos College) is a 2018 CCCAA state qualifier who placed sixth last week at West Hills after losing in the semifinal round and then injury defaulting the rest of the tournament.
The 197-pound weight class is a three-way field between wrestlers who were successful last weekend in placing at the West Hills tournament. Leading the way should be Jordan Annis (Bakersfield) who was fourth at West Hills. He will attempt and win this weight class and make it back-to-back titles for Bakersfield as last year Adrian Godinez won it by defeating Anthony Stenchske (Cuesta) 5-4. A wrestler who will give him a challenge is Cerritos College wrestler Hamzah Al-Saudi who was fifth at West Hills after losing to Annis 9-6 in the consolation semifinal round. A third wrestler that could battle his way into the finals is 2018 CCCAA state qualifier Andy Voong (Rio Hondo). Voong wrestled Al-Saudi and lost to him a close 9-7 match in the fifth-place bout. Keep an eye on Breck Jeffus (Cuesta) as he will look forward to having a good weekend.