It was a successful event this past weekend in Bakersfield, as the CIF state tournament made history by becoming the first state to hold the boys and girls state finals under one roof side-by-side. All wrestling fans in attendance had a good time over the three days stay as they saw much action by wrestlers ranked nationally with high accolades. The following is a recap of first-time occurrences that occurred at the tournament.
San Fernando Girls Win State
The San Fernando High girl’s wrestling team made history this past weekend as they became the first Los Angeles Section team to win a team state title in the sport of wrestling. The Tigers, who qualified 13 wrestlers for the three-day tournament, finished 12 points ahead of Central Coast power Menlo-Atherton in the team standings, 104-92. San Fernando also won the City Section dual-meet title and the City section team championship. At the conclusion of the three-day event in Bakersfield, San Fernando had three medalists in Viviana Garcia (106) fourth, Gianna Anaya (143) second, and Adelina Parra (170) second.
Adrian Bonilla Becomes Filmore’s First State Qualifier
Adrian Bonilla made history for Filmore High as he became the first wrestler to participate at the CIF state tournament. After winning league, Bonilla placed fifth at his divisional tournament to advanced to the section tournament. A competition that is called the “Snake Pit” due to the toughness of the event with over 400 participating schools. After losing in the quarterfinal round, Bonilla punched his ticket to state by defeating his next opponent (5-2) before settling for eighth place. At the state tournament, Bonilla defeated his first opponent before falling via a fall to the eventual state champion Ryan Reyes of Gilroy in 1 minute, 5 seconds of their match. He concluded his state action competition by dropping his last match to Kaden West of Oak Ridge in 31 seconds.
Servite Places Four at State
It was a great season for Coach Alan Clinton and staff as the Friars of Servite High made history by placing four wrestlers at the CIF state tournament; the most in school’s history. A year ago, Servite advanced two wrestlers to state. This season, they won the Southern Section Masters Meet tournament and advanced eight wrestlers to the big dance. Many people doubted the Friars by saying they were not competitive enough to compete with the best in the state. However, the coaching staff proved the doubters wrong by placing four wrestlers and finishing in 11th place in the event. Place winners for the Friars included Josh Medina (132) seventh, Teddy Okada (138) eighth, Valor Buck (152) eighth, and Tristen Wilson (195) fourth. Medina, Buck, and Wilson will return next season for the Friars.
Jonovan Smith Becomes First State Finalist for Birmingham
In 1999, Birmingham Head Coach James Medeiros won a CIF state title at 145-pounds for American High. Twenty-years later, his athlete Jonovan Smith made history for the Patriots by advancing to the finals of the state tournament at 182-pounds. In a highly emotional and competitive championship match, Smith was defeated by St. John Bosco junior Nathan Hass, 2-1. It was the second time Smith lost a narrow decision to Hass this season. Despite the defeat, Smith became the first Patriot wrestler to place twice at the CIF state tournament and the third L.A Section wrestler to earn a medal in consecutive years.
Jennifer Soto Becomes Orland’s First Girl State Champion
Competing in the 111-pound weight class for the Orland Trojans, freshman Jennifer Soto, made quick work of all five opponents she faced as she won a state title by pinning Mikayla Vega, a senior from Escalon, in 1 minute, 39 seconds to capture Orland’s first wrestling title in the CIF girl’s era. Emily Rinehart won a pair of titles for Orland in the early 2000s, before girls wrestling became a CIF-sanctioned sport in 2011. Soto concluded the 2018-19 season with a 47-1 record by recording the first takedown in all the matches she competed. Prior to entering Orland High, Soto was a silver medal winner at the Pan-American U15 Games in Mexico.