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By Casey Christie / The Californian
BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
Coleman Hammond's 152-pound quarterfinal match at Friday's CIF State Wrestling meet was a microcosm of his day. It started kind of slow and then started methodically gaining momentum until ending with a crescendo.
After a couple of solid, but not overwhelming, wins to begin the tournament, Hammond punched his ticket to the semifinals with a virtuoso performance, pinning Tyler Rardon of Livermore at 4:59 of their quarterfinal bout.
Hammond led Rardon just 2-0 after the first period. But he quickly extended that lead to 10-0 before catching his challenger in a "arm-bar and a half" that led to the pin.
"I really turned it up that second and third period," Hammond said. "I wrestled a little slow the first period but I got some momentum and just started piling it on. It feels good."
Hammond was one of five BHS wrestlers to reach the quarterfinals. However, only he and Bryce Martin (170 pounds) will be competing in today's semifinals at Rabobank Arena.
Martin downed Harla Kistler of Riverside-King, 9-3.
The Drillers Kyle Pope (182) pounds and Hunter Hodges (160 pounds) each lost one-point decisions in the quarterfinals while Andrew Fierro fell 5-0 to State ranked No. 1 Victor Lopez of Poway.
Pope's setback was arguably the most heartbreaking of the three as he led 6-5 before Nick Troquato of Shingle Springs-Ponderosa got takedown with eight seconds left in their quarterfinal match.
Pope had Troquato up in the air and then lost his balance leading to a scramble at the edge of the mat. Just prior to both of them going out of bounds Troquato was able to to temporary get control and in turn score the match-winning points.
"You get here and every match is going to be tough, you know that" BHS assistant coach Steve Varner said. "You have to wrestle all the way through. Some times you get the breaks and sometimes you don't"
BHS, which began the day with nine wrestlers, has only its five quarterfinalist still in medal contention.
The Drillers ended Friday in seventh place with 57.5 points.
Two-time defending state champion Clovis High is in first place with 114 points. Poway is in second place with 80.5 points, followed by Clovis-Buchanan 68.5, Vacaville 66, and Corona Santiago 59.5.
Wasco is tied for 11th with 40 points and Frontier is in 13th with 39 points.
BHS' chances at moving up in the standings before the tournament ends will depend heavily on all of its remaining competitors but especially Hammond and Martin, who both will be shooting for their first state title.
Hammond feels he hasn't reached his potential so far during the meet.
"I wrestled well but it's not quite there, the way I should be wrestling right now. I was a little disappointed in my first two matches but both kids are quality kids. I just want to get the level up each round. Start wrestling better. Thinking smarter. Just trying to wrestle a solid match, solid tournament."
Both Hammond and Martin are now guaranteed at least a top six finish.
Martin went 3-0 overall on Friday, winning 17-4 and 20-4 before defeating Kistler.
"It's feels great getting the weight of placing off my shoulders," Martin said. "Now I can go and try to win it."