What a start

A complete recap of Day One from Mid-Cals
The 600 or so wrestlers competing arrive at 7am Friday. Several hundred of their supporters start filling the bleachers at Gilroy High a few hours later.

A packed house at the 25th annual Mid-Cals. More than 50 teams represented. Nearly 10 hours of competition.

And no one seemed to be enjoying it more than the Gilroy High wrestlers, many of whom arrived with bleach-blonde hair, ready to compete at home as a team for the first time all year.

“I think – and I think a lot of our other wrestlers think – this tournament is more important than CCS or Five Counties or Reno or any of them,” said GHS sophomore Rudy Maldonaldo after his first Mid-Cals appearance.

“It’s your hometown and you got the crowd cheering for you … it means a lot to us.”

So how did the hometown boys do?

The bad news is that Gilroy trails the state’s third-ranked team, Elk Grove, by a sizable amount (140.5-96) in the overall standings. The good news is that the Mustangs trail no one else.

By advancing all but two of its 13 wrestlers to the second and final day of competition, Gilroy sits in second place – ahead of Shasta (79), Clovis East (72.5) and Buchanan (71.5).

“Eleven out of the 13 is about as well as we were hoping to do,” GHS head coach Armando Gonzalez said.

Here’s a weight-by-weight breakdown of the Mustangs’ first-day performance, along with a preview of today’s action, which begins at 9:30 in the morning – with the semis set for around noon and the finals for around 5:30pm.

ANALYSIS:

103: Nicolo Naranjo, who would’ve been the consensus favorite to win, had to sit out due to bronchitis. Three of the top four seeds moved on to the semis. Sergio Valdez (South SF) is the favorite.

112: Tim Ibanez split his first two matches before staying alive in the consolation bracket with a commanding 19-2 win. A matchup between No. 1 Ty Costa (Turlock) and No. 2 Andre Phillips (Elk Grove) likely looms.

119: Rudy Maldonaldo lost his first match in a tight 9-7 decision, but bounced back with two victories. Maldonaldo has a good chance of placing, starting with a match against Buchanan’s Sid Gutierrez, who he’s already beaten once this year. Ripon’s T.J. Owens is the favorite overall.

125: Joseph Serrano won his first two, but fell just short of the semis with a heartbreaking OT loss to Andrew Hill’s Kristion Martino. The fifth seed is still likely to place. Bellarmine’s Daniel Summers is expected to take the title.

130: As expected, Adin Dueñas finished up a perfect 3-0 with two pins and one major decision. “Tomorrow the real wrestling starts,” the junior said with a grin. If he beats No. 4 Garth Simonis (Foothill), Dueñas will face either No. 2 Troy Larsen (Clovis East) or Joey Wilson (Half Moon Bay) under the spotlight.

135: Here’s another shocker: Top-seeded Armando Gonzalez breezed through at 3-0 with a tech and a pair of pins. In the semis, he’ll face Silver Creek’s Michael Rico, who he hasn’t wrestled since the two were little kids. With a win, he’ll meet either No. 2 Jovanny Velarde (Buchanan) or No. 3 Lenny Marandino (Shasta).

140: Austin Gubrud posted a win, a loss and then came back with an exciting 5-3 win over Tyler Woods (Buchanan). “I have no idea who I face next,” he said. “I’m just glad I made it to the second day.” Next up for Gubrud is a tough match against fourth-seeded Danny Castaneda (Los Banos), who was upset in the quarters. Shasta’s Eric Brooks is the favorite.

145: Joseph Delgado won his first match, but then had the misfortunate of facing state champion Lewis Gonzalez (Turlock), who’s the overwhelming favorite in this class. After losing that one, he dropped a second match and was eliminated from the tournament.

152: Like Delgado, Mike Ayers was put out of the tourney after taking his first match and then dropping two in a row. No. 1 Austin Cronan (Turlock) and No. 2 J.D. Thrall (Elk Grove) looked headed for a finals’ showdown.

160: Here we see the third and final GHS semifinalist. Top-seeded Hunter Collins received a bye, won one on his own and then blasted Shasta’s Austin Myers, 19-2. If the freshman takes cares of Andrew Balch (Buchanan), he’s likely to face Dan Montanez (Monta Vista) for the second time in a week. Collins beat the current CCS No. 1 at last weekend’s Overfelt Tournament. “I’ve always liked wrestling in the big matches,” he said.

171: Luis Albarran seemed frustrated with his 2-1 performance. “I lost a match I should’ve won,” the sophomore said. “I made a stupid mistake and ended up on my back.” Nevertheless, he’ll move on to the second day, where he’ll start out with Marshall Whelen of Half Moon Bay. Elk Grove’s Michael Drake, No. 1 in California, is the heavy favorite.

189: Andres Barragan won his first two matches, but was upset by Turlock’s Anthony Castillo. The soph still has a solid chance of placing. Another Elk Grove Drake (top-seeded John) is expected to get a challenge from either No. 2 Brent Walter (Saratoga) or No. 3 Zak Parrish (Buchanan).

215: The last two weight classes provided pleasant surprises for the Mustangs. Daniel Gamez (2-1) was ectastic at moving on to the second day. “The unthinkable happened,” said the junior while standing next to heavyweight Luis Chavez. “The Gilroy 215 and the heavyweight made it to the second day at Mid-Cals.” Tom Haines (Oakridge) is the favorite, but Hollister’s Ryan Dunn might be tough if he gets to the finals.

HW: As so aptly described, Chavez did indeed survive to see Saturday. He split his first two before beating Shasta’s Bubba VanDiver, 4-1. So Gilroy’s two heaviest wrestlers are moving on. “It’s been awhile since that’s happened,” GHS assistant Mike Koester said. Undefeated Tommy James of Independence (22-0) is a near shoe-in for the title.

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