BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer email@example.com
106: Carlos Herrera, Bakersfield, pinned Calloway Morphis, Frontier, 5:17
113: Sean Nickell, Bakersfield, dec. Jason Cisterna, Frontier, 12-11
120: Arik Onsurez, Bakersfield, dec. Etienne Armijo, Centennial, 6-1
126: Vincent Gomez, Frontier, pinned Melvin Amaya, Bakersfield, 1:29
132: Izaiah Ozuna, Frontier, dec. Antonio Gutierrez, Bakersfield 10-5
138: Johnny Santore, Liberty, dec. D.J. Cotter, Stockdale, 12-8
145: A.J. Fierro, Bakersfield, pinned Levi White, Centennial, 1:25
152: Coleman Hammond, Bakersfield, pinned Ray Saldana, Stockdale, 3:05
160: Hunter Hodges, Bakersfield, dec. Kyle Shepherd, Frontier, 8-2
170: Bryce Martin, Bakersfield, maj. dec. MIke Komin, Frontier, 18-4
182: Kyle Pope, Bakersfield, maj. dec. Carlos Montejo, Frontier, 14-6
195: Josh Bailey, Frontier, dec. Nick Kidd, Bakersfield, 8-3
220: Augie Alcantar, Frontier, pinned Troy Song, Stockdale, 0:56
HWT: Shaq Garrett, Bakersfield, pinned Cody Watts, Independence, 0:14
UPDATED, 4:52 p.m.: Well, that was quick. At 220 pounds, Frontier's Augie Alcantar — you might know him as The Californian's Defensive Player of the Year in football — pins Stockdale's Ryan Song in 56 seconds. Takedown, half-nelson, pin. Boom. Alcantar barely broke a sweat, and he'll go down as the 220-pound league champ.
And there's Shaq Garret of Bakersfield, breaking that quickest-pin record. 14 seconds over Independence's Cody Watts. Garret comes up with a fist pump, and this thing got over in a hurry. That's that. BHS wins nine finals and presumably the team championship.
UPDATED, 4:48 p.m.: Frontier's Josh Bailey needs about 50 seconds to take down Bakersfield's Nick Kidd in the 195-pound final, the third-to-last of the afternoon. Bailey is ranked No. 7 in the state; Kidd is No. 32 and will hope to qualify in a couple of weeks. Bailey gets a quick tilt in in the final 15 seconds and gets a two-count. That's 4-0 after a period for Bailey, who won the first meeting between these two, 11-2.
Bailey down for the second. He's out and now has Kidd's leg. He's working his way around, and now secures the reversal for a 6-0 lead. Kidd escapes into the final minute. 6-1. Bailey working for another takedown in the final seconds, and it's awarded — then quickly waved off. Still 6-1 headed to the third.
Kidd down for the third, and Bailey will give him neutral for a point. 6-2 now. Be-a-utiful double leg shot from Bailey for an early takedown and an 8-2 lead. Kidd gets an escape and his first near-takedown of the match, but the wrestlers go out of bounds first. Still 8-3, into the final 30 seconds. Kidd in on a shot in the final seconds, but he can't finish before the buzzer. It'll end as an 8-3 decision for 195-pound champion Josh Bailey.
UPDATED, 4:39 p.m.: State No. 4 Kyle Pope, last year's 182-pound state runner-up, takes on Frontier's Carlos Montejo in the league final here. Two first-period takedowns sandwich a Montejo escape, and the Drillers' dominance continues. It's 4-1 Pope after a period. BHS has won seven of the 10 finals contested so far, with Pope well on his way here and Shaq Garret seeded first at heavyweight.
Montejo escape to start the second, but Pope takes him down again for a 6-2 lead. He lets Montejo go, and now gets him again. Another Montejo escape, and the Titan will keep Pope from scoring again. It's 8-4 after two periods. Montejo has done well limiting the damage, all things considered.
Pope chooses neutral. He'll continue to work from his feet here. Nice high single near the edge, and he pulls Montejo in to get his two points before they go out of bounds. 10-4, now 10-5 after the escape. A couple more takedowns, the last with just 5 seconds left, make it 14-6 and give Pope a major decision.
UPDATED, 4:28 p.m.: Bakersfield junior Bryce Martin, who sprouted about six inches and put on 40-some pounds since last year, is ranked No. 1 in the Central Section at 170 pounds. He's taking on Frontier's Mike Komin in the league final here. Single-leg dumped for a takedown and a 2-0 lead for Martin. Komin gets an escape off a restart, but Martin gets another takedown. Another escape, but then a nice ankle pick for a third takedown. Martin leads 6-2 after a period. He's got the feet of a lightweight but the strength of the rest of these 170-pounders, and his quickness is a big advantage.
Komin down for the second. He'll work for an escape and is trying to elude Martin as best he can, but there's another takedown. Some back points, too, for an 11-3 lead. That's how the period will end.
Third period, Martin chooses neutral. Gets another takedown. Stall warning on Komin, so now he's up for the escape. Another Martin takedown. A few seconds to go. He turns Komin now. Could be a late pin. Nope, time will run out first, with Martin just a point shy of a tech fall. It's an 18-4 final.
UPDATED, 4:20 p.m.: The 160-pound final is an intriguing rematch from last week's SWYL duals, when Bakersfield's Hunter Hodges beat the higher-ranked Kyle Shepherd from Frontier. This looks like history repeating itself so far, with Hodges scoring two takedowns and a nearfall for a 6-1 lead after a period. There was a near takedown for Shepherd in there, or at least a scramble situation, but it was eventually called a stalemate. Coming into this match, Hodges is ranked No. 12 and Shepherd No. 13.
Second period, Shepherd is down. He works to his feet but can't disentangle from Hodges. Off of a restart, Hodges tries to turn Shepherd, but only a one count. Now Shepherd up and out, but with only about 15 seconds left in the period. It's 6-2 Hodges. And there's a quick shot from Shepherd and a wild one that allows Hodges to get a cheap takedown in the final seconds. He nearly turned the stunned Shepherd too, but the clock ran out after just a one count. It's 8-2 Hodges.
Neutral for the third. Hodges the more aggressive wrestler, but no takedowns in the first minute. Quite a few scramble situations. Now into the final 30 seconds. Hodges in on a shot, but Shepherd continues to fight him off. Shepherd now working his way around, but time will run out. Hodges wins it, 8-2. A bit closer than last week, but not by much.
UPDATED, 4:12 p.m.: Bakersfield senior Coleman Hammond, ranked No. 2 in the state at 152, will take on Stockdale's Ray Saldana in the leage final. Hammond has a quick takedown, now tilts Saldana for three back points. Another tilt works for two more before the end of the period. No pin, but a commanding 7-0 lead for Hammond.
Second period, Saldana wants neutral. Really no good option there. Hammond proves it by taking him down in about 20 seconds. It's 9-0, and now a blood stoppage. Hammond has a cut on his forehead. They'll stop that and wrap it up, and here we go. Hammond working from top. Breaks Saldana down, and here comes the half. Textbook. Pin comes at 3:05 for the No. 2 guy in state. He'll have his eyes on Bella Vista's Shayne Tucker in three weeks, you can count on that.
UPDATED, 4:06 p.m.: Bakersfield's A.J. Fierro, a top-10 wrestler in the state, is taking on Centennial's Levi White in the 145-pound final. White is able to avoid the nimble Fierro for about 45 seconds, but a beautiful shot gives Fierro a 2-0 lead at that point. He tries a couple of tilts but no nearfall, but this one turns into a half-nelson. Fierro sucks White in, and that should be that. There's the pin, at 1:25. Fierro is your SWYL champion at 145.
UPDATED, 4:03 p.m.: In the only final that doesn't involve Bakersfield or Frontier, it's top seed D.J. Cotter of Stockdale with an early takedown. Now he has Liberty's Johnny Santore on his back and is collection nearfall. 4-0. Restart, and Santore escapes. 4-1. Now it's a Santore headlock to Cotter's back! Cotter fights back to his belly, but that was a five-point move, and Santore now leads 6-4. Quick turnaround. Final 30 seconds of the period, and Santore has an arm locked. Stalemate called, though. Final 15 seconds. Cotter around, and he gets the reversal late. Santore to his feet but no escape before the buzzer. Eventful first period ends 6-6.
Cotter chooses neutral for the second period. Nice shot, but Santore hooks his leg around and is preventing the takedown for the moment. Still struggling, and now Cotter loses his balance. Nice scramble by Santore for the takedown and an 8-6 lead. Cotter hit for stalling with about 25 seconds left, and that seems to ignite him. He pops up into a granby and gets his second late reversal in as many periods. That ties us up, 8-8, headed to the third.
Santore takes top? Strange choice in a tie match when he's already given up two reversals, but there you have it. And it's going to pay off, at least for the moment, because Cotter just got hit for stalling again on bottom. That's a penalty point for Santore and a 9-8 lead. Stalemate called, and we'll restart with 58 seconds. Santore gets his legs in and continues to ride well. Now a tilt and back points coming. Clearly, Santore knew exactly what he was doing when he chose top, and the three back points are going to give him a 12-8 victory. Liberty earns itself a championship.
UPDATED, 3:54 p.m.: A near-takedown for Frontier's Izaiah Ozuna, the top seed at 132 pounds, of Bakersfield's Antonio Gutierrez, but Gutierrez hangs onto Ozuna's ankle and eventually fights back to his feet. Nice defense. Now about a minute in — and a lightning-quick trip from Ozuna puts Gutierrez square to his back! Exceptional quickness there, and Ozuna is getting nearfal. Gutierrez fights out of bounds before the pin, but he's down 5-0. Escape Gutierrez, but Ozuna finishes a shot just before the buzzer to extend a big lead to 7-1.
Second period, Ozuna chooses down. Gutierrez's only shot at getting back in it might be back points. Ozuna to his feet but taken back down. Now trying a switch and he turns it into a stand-up. Escape for an 8-1 lead. Nice shot by Gutierrez now. He's driving and finishes. 8-3. Nice takedown. Now Ozuna to his feet, and Gutierrez is hit for stalling for holding on. But he doesn't give up the escape. Still 8-3, late second period now. Ooh. Ozuna reached back and caught Gutierrez's head there and nearly rolled him over to his back, but time runs out. 8-3 after two.
Gutierrez wants neutral in the third. Got a front headlock tight, and he's spinning, spinning for a takedown. Suddenly, this is a close match at 8-5. Gutierrez trying to turn Ozuna now, but Ozuna fights it off and sits up. A minute left. Stalemate called at 48 seconds. Ozuna to his feet off the restart, brought back down by Gutierrez. 30 seconds now. Gutierrez needs a turn, and he lost his center of balance trying for it. Ozuna reverses and leads 10-5. Order restored here. Final 10 seconds, Gutierrez working for a reverse, but he won't get it in time. Wouldn't have mattered anyway. Frontier's Ozuna wins, 10-5.
UPDATED, 3:45 p.m.: Now for Frontier's star, Vincent Gomez, who's ranked No. 1 in the state at 126 pounds. He's wrestling Bakersfield's Melvin Amaya. We're scoreless 30 seconds in, as Amaya fights off a Gomez shot near the edge of the circle. Now a nice deep fireman's shot from Gomez. He has to work for it but eventually gets the takedown. Brief turn to Amaya's back, but only for a one-count. Now the half-nelson is locked up good and tight, and there it is. Amaya stood no chance once Vince had that locked up. Pin comes at 1:29, and Gomez remains unbeaten against California competition.
UPDATED, 3:42 p.m.: in the 120-pound final, it's another Driller, Arik Onsurez, against Centennial's Etienne Armijo. Onsurez, the top seed, is off quickly with a takedown. He lets Armijo go, but now he's got another takedown near the edge of the circle. 4-1 after a period.
Second period now, and Onsurez asks for neutral. Another takedown for a 6-1 lead. Armijo to his feet, but Onsurez brings him back to the mat. He's riding well here, though there have been no turns. Now Armijo will try for a switch, but Onsurez follows him around and they go out of bounds. The second period ends with Onsurez ahead 6-1.
Now Armijo asks for neutral. Seems odd, but I don't think he liked being under Onsurez much. Nice shot by Armijo here, but they're at the edge of the circle, and Onsurez fights it off long enough to get an out of bounds call. Either way, Armijo wrestling a lot tougher from his feet in this third period. Time running out, still 6-1. Nice single-leg from Armijo, and he switches to a double, but Onsurez has sprawled out and defended well. That'll be that. 6-1 Onsurez the final.
UPDATED, 3:34 p.m.: A good one at 113 pounds between Bakersfield's Sean Nickell and Frontier's Jason Cisterna, the top seed. Nickell had a takedown early, but Cisterna reversed and tilted Nickell for three nearfall points in the first. But Nickell got another takedown and his own nearfall in the second to pull within 7-6. Now in the third, he takes down Cisterna for an 8-7 lead. Escape for Cisterna evens the match at 8-8. Into the final minute. Good one. Nickell working for another takedown, and it's called. Too quickly called, maybe. They still look in neutral to me, but the points were given. Now a reversal to Frontier to tie it, and I still think they've been in neutral this whole time. Regardless, it's 10-10. Now Nickell reverses again! Cisterna is out late, but that's all she wrote, and Nickell will hold on, 12-11. Wow, fast and furious action there.
Frontier coach Kirk Moore is livid about that takedown call. He's saying the referee waived it off after awarding it, and the ref is saying that never happened. Moore is not happy. Anyway, it'll go in the books as a 12-11 victory for Nickell and BHS.
UPDATED, 3:21 p.m.: We've reached the finals at the Southwest Yosemite League wrestling championships, the first of four postseason steps for these guys that will culminate with the CIF State Championships March 1-2 in Rabobank Arena.
I've listed all 14 championship matches above, but we're already under way with the 106-pound final. Carlos Herrera of Bakersfield has done a nice job wrestling aggressively against Frontier's Calloway Morphis and has an 8-0 lead through two periods.
The team score, by the way, is as close as it's been at a league tournament for Bakersfield in years. The Drillers hold just a 236-227 lead over Frontier — though BHS is disputing that. It does seem strange that the margin is that small considering BHS has three more wrestlers in finals and has wrestlers in all 14 weights; Frontier is missing a heavyweight.
Anyway, Herrera has added an escape and a takedown in the third period and now leads 11-0. He's taken Morphis to his back in a cradle, and there's the pin, at 5:17. So a good start for Bakersfield here at the SWYL finals.