Freshman Niko Villarreal didn’t wait long to etch his name into
the Gilroy High wrestling history books.
Freshman Niko Villarreal didn’t wait long to etch his name into the Gilroy High wrestling history books.
Roughly one month into his freshman campaign the 130-pound grappler became just the second ninth grader in program history to win a championship at the prestigious Doc Buchanan Invitational.
Jesse Delgado, state champion in 2009, among other accolades, was the first to accomplish the Doc B title as a freshman.
“He had a great, great tournament,” GHS wrestling head coach Greg Varela said. “It’s a stacked weight class.”
Villarreal outlasted Clovis High’s Juan Salas for an 8-5 decision victory in the finals.
“He was very composed and wrestled like a veteran,” Varela said.
The Mustangs, currently ranked No. 5 in the state, took six wrestlers to the 34th annual tournament held over the weekend at Clovis High School and finished fifth out of 76 teams.
“We aren’t where we need to be yet, but we are at a good spot at this point in the season,” Varela said.
Willie Fox narrowly missed a finals berth at 135, losing a 3-2 decision in the semifinals. However, Fox, ranked No. 6 in the state, defeated No. 3 Shane Tate of Oakdale High for third place – the second time in the tourney Fox upended the event’s returning champ.
Blake Kastl took third at 140 pounds and Leif Dominguez finished sixth at 103. Freshman Paul Fox, returning to the mat after getting the night off against Alisal last Tuesday, placed seventh in his first Doc B.
It was a busy weekend all around the state for GHS as the remainder of the Mustangs team participated in the Apple Cider Classic in Watsonville and surprised even Varela to capture first place.
“I was hoping for a top 10, top five finish, but they ended up winning it,” Varela said. “I’m very happy.”
Freshman Victor Olmos (119) and junior Aaron Gonzales (130) picked up top honors in their respective weight classes. Heavyweight Jose Lara grabbed second place, Felix Gonzalez (171), Jesus Carmenza (112) and Julian Carbajal (152) each garnered third place, while Daniel Barboza (125) and Lupe Jimenez (145) nabbed a podium spot with fifth-place showings.
Also in action over the weekend, section and state champ Jasmine Yanez, who finished third at the Napa Valley Girls Wrestling Classic.
“We were spread out all over the state this weekend,” Varela said. “I like that. It’s like infecting the state with Gilroy wrestling.”