LA HABRA, CA. – A wave of St. John Bosco wrestlers dominated the mats on Saturday afternoon at Sonora High in La Habra, California. On the line was the opportunity to advance to the always tough CIF California state tournament.
The Braves won six individual titles and they sent a total of seven wrestlers to the Southern Section Masters Meet. The tournament is considered by many of its peers as the toughest qualifier not just in California but in the country.
Individual champions for the Braves included Maximus Martinez (120), Timothy Levine (126), Nicco Ruiz (132), Sonny Santiago (152), Cael Valencia (160), and Nathan Haas at 182-pounds to overshadow the competition with 247 pounds and a total of eight state qualifiers to the big dance. Trinity league rivals Servite High finished as the runners-up with 132 points. Third place was Calvary Chapel 137, followed by Northview 100 and Palm Desert 98 to round up the top five teams in the tournament.
"Our team this year is unbelievable," Head Coach Jeff Anderson said. "The effort these guys put in every single day, every single week. We never quit. It’s amazing. I love the team. It’s part of my whole drive."
The Braves season included a Trinity League Championship, the Central Division title, and now the Southern Section Masters Meet.
Highlights of the tournament for the Braves was watching freshman Maximus Martinez (120) win his first section title by ultimate defeating Cal State Bakersfield recruit Richard Sandoval-Castro (Santa Ynez) 3-1 with the winning takedown coming in the third period.
Martinez was unseeded in the event despite being a CIF champion. He cruised to the finals by pinning # 2 seed Adrian Limon (Northview) and # 3 seed Fernando Barreto (Rowland) 3-2 in the semifinal round.
Another freshman champion for the Braves was Nicco Ruiz (132). As the No. 3 seed in the tournament, Ruiz pinned his first two opponents before dispatching Gabriel Schumm (Citrus Hills) 7-0 in the quarterfinal round. After receiving a forfeit in the semifinal round, Ruiz faced off with state champion Aaron Nagao (Esperanza) in the finals. An injury caused Aaron to default in the 2:17 mark of the match.
Valencia and Haas repeated as Masters champions as they dominated their finals opponent with ease. Next up for the Braves is the CIF state tournament at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California.