BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer email@example.com
Last year was a long time ago, as far as Foothill senior Nick Marquez is concerned, and he's wrestling like it.
Marquez, a qualifier for the CIF State Wrestling Championships as a sophomore but a tough-luck loser at the Yosemite Divisional last year, got back on the road to state with a dominant performance at 120 pounds in the Southeast Yosemite League championships.
"I have to give everything I've got; it's my last year now," Marquez said after pinning East's Issak Jacinto in the 120-pound final. "I have to leave everything on the mat and have no regrets."
Marquez said he's over last year, when he led a consolation match against Madera's Miguel Ruiz at the Yosemite Divisional when Ruiz caught him in a cradle and pinned him, ending his season two weeks before the state tournament.
"It doesn't bother me as much as before," Marquez said.
"My goal this year is to place at state, so I've got to keep going."
Marquez gets another shot at the Yosemite Divisional next weekend at Madera South, as do 11 other Trojans who finished in the top three of their weight class.
Foothill won its third straight SEYL team championship, scoring 233.5 points to second-place East's 178.
"It's good for the program, especially because we won with JV and varsity," Trojans coach Brad Hull said.
"It's become a tradition, and we kind of expect them to perform well. You don't want to be the team to lose it."
Hull figures several of his wrestlers have a chance to make it out of the Yosemite Divisional and into the Central Section Masters the following Saturday at Visalia-Mount Whitney, including Fern Perez (106), Marco Velasquez (113), Brandon Palafox (145) and Oscar Corona (152), all of whom won by either technical fall or pin in their league championship. Pedro Lora pulled off a five-point move in the final seconds to beat North's Rodney Horton in the 170-pound final, and Chris Guillen won at 220 to give the Trojans seven champions in the 14 weight classes.
They'll have to finish in the top eight next week to keep their seasons alive.
"Next week, that's the one that will drive me crazy," Hull said. "We're right there in so many weights, but it's a nerve-racking week. It's always in the back of your mind, that something could happen like it happened to Nick last year."
Marquez was the meet's outstanding lowerweight wrestler; Tehachapi 182-pounder Dillon Harroun won the award for the upperweights.
Three other Warriors won championships in their first year in the league: Klayton Duxbury (132), Jacob Gamble (138) and Zachary Allen (160).
Other individual champions were East's Adam Bracamonte at 126, North's Kevin Mello at 195 and North's Mark Guerrero at heavyweight.