A Tri-County Athletic League dual meet featuring two of the Central Coast Section’s top-three teams ensued Wednesday night as the No.1-ranked Gilroy High wrestling squad visited No. 3 Palma. The Mustangs improved to 3-0 in League duals with a 45-27 win, two days before the start of the 32nd annual Mid-Cal Classic at GHS.
That’s right, the Mid-Cals are here again. And soon, representatives from about 70 teams will roar into town for the two-day tournament, which begins Fridat morning and never fails to deliver top-notch wrestling. Among the list of participators are top-10 CCS-ranked teams: Palma, Palo Alto (No. 4), Serra (No. 5), Christopher (No. 8), Aptos (No. 9) and Archbishop Riorden (No. 10.) Also in the field is No. 17 in the state, Selma, and its nationally ranked, three-time state champion Alex Cisneros, who is also a defending Mid-Cal champ.
“It should be a tough tournament,” GHS head coach Greg Varela said. “Should be fun.”
The Mid-Cals often serve as the kick-start to the Mustangs’ second half of the season, with league finals, CCS and state all on the horizon.
The Mustangs are currently No. 4 in the state, according to ccsrank.com. Though GHS had five individual champions at last years tournament, Selma upstaged the Mustangs, 321-288. Gilroy had finished runner-up in each of the previous three Mid-Cals. Cisneros’ presence at the tournament could set up an intriguing rematch between him and Gilroy’s Niko Villarreal. The two crossed paths at the Doc Buchanan Invitational earlier this month. Cisneros (No. 1 in the state at 132 pounds) defeated Villarreal (No.3 in the state at 138 pounds) in four overtimes. Seeds won’t be released until late tonight, however, one match that seems inevitable is that of GHS’s Willie Fox (No. 1 in the state at 145 pounds) and Joey Lavallee, a top-ranked wrestler out of Reno.
Check back Friday morning for the seeding list. Notes: Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. both days. The third-/fourth- and fifth-/sixth-place matches begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, followed by the finals at 5.
• The Christopher High wrestling team made quick and easy work of visiting Monte Vista Christian on Wednesday night, pushing its Monterey Bay League dual record to 3-0 with a 70-6 triumph.
• The Christopher High boys varsity soccer team lost 6-0 to Pajaro Valley on Wednesday night in Watsonville.
Francisco Ambriz scored three times, Andy Gutierrez twice and Isaac Chavez once for the Grizzlies. The Cougars are back at it Friday at first-place Watsonville at 3:30 p.m.
• The Gilroy High boys varsity basketball team led 3-0 after Jonathan Lester hit a 3-pointer on the Mustangs’ first possession against visiting Palma on Wednesday night. The advantage didn’t last long. And despite eight different Mustangs registering at least two points, the home team couldn’t keep pace with the Chieftains in a 70-51 loss that leaves GHS (5-10 overall, 0-4 TCAL) still searching for its first Tri-County Athletic League win.
Palma (8-8 overall, 4-1 TCAL), grabbed a 17-9 lead after the first quarter, and propelled by a 5 of 8, first-half 3-point shooting performance by Jack Tardieu, staked to a 41-26 halftime cushion. Tardieu finished with 20 points.
A similar gap separated the two teams after the third period with Palma up 55-39 and was no less than 18 points the rest of the way.
Tommy Cox led all GHS scorers with 14 points – 11 in the first half. Charles Walker finished with 14 points, Brendan Holler and Christian Goldstein each had seven, Travis Moulden had five and Lester, David Gonzalez and Stefan Mercer had three each.
Noah Allen posted a game-high 21 points and Jack Powers had 14 for Palma, which is one game back of San Benito (14-3, 5-0 TCAL) for first place. The Balers overcame a 21-2 first-half deficit to stun Salinas 39-36 on Wednesday night. San Benito handed Palma its lone league defeat earlier in the month.
The Mustangs head to Salinas to face Alisal (5-11 overall, 0-4) at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
ALISAL, ALTO, ANDREW HILL, APTOS, ATWATER, BRANHAM, BUHACH,CARMEL, CASTRO VALLEY, CENTRAL CATHOLIC, CENTRAL, CHRISTOPHER,CLOVIS EAST, CUPERTINO, DINUBA, DOS PALOS, EL CAMINO, ENOCHS,EVERGREEN VALLEY, FREMONT, GALILEO, GEORGE WASHINGTON, GILROY,GONZALES, GUNN, HALF MOON BAY, HARBOR, JAMES LICK, JUNIPERO SERRA,LEIGH, LIBERTY, LOS BANOS, LYNNBROOK, MADERA SOUTH, MADERA,MENLO-ATHERTON, MONTA VISTA, MONTEREY, NORTH MONTEREY COUNTY, NORTHSALINAS, OAKLAND TECH, OCEANA, OVERFELT, PAJARO VALLEY, PALMA, PALOALTO, PASO ROBLES, PIONEER, PITMAN, RENO, RIORDAN, SACRED HEARTPREP, SALINAS, SAN BENITO, SAN LORENZO, SANTA TERESA, SARATOGA,SELMA, SEQUOIA, SILVER CREEK, SOBRATO, SOLEDAD, SOQUEL, SOUTH SANFRANCISCO, TERRA NOVA, TURLOCK, VALLEY CHRISTIAN, WESTMONT, WESTONRANCH.