After finishing runner-up last season, Megan Nebesnick vowed to make it back to the Central Coast Section finals. She wasn’t going to stop at just returning, either. Winning a section title was part of it, too.
Though it didn’t happen the way she would’ve preferred, the Gilroy High junior had her arm raised as the 189-pound champion Saturday night at Oak Grove High School in San Jose.
Nebesnick’s scheduled opponent, Ivanna Torres of Everett Alvarez, injury defaulted out of the match before it even began. Nevertheless, a championship is a championship – and Nebesnick earned every bit of it.
“It’s really all I wanted,” Nebesnick said of her new title. “Now I can just get ready for state where my goal is to place.”
Ranked as the section’s No. 1 165-pounder throughout the season, Nebesnick decided to jump up a weight class after a solid performance at a tournament earlier in the season. She went on to post a 10-1 record, including two tournament victories and a dominant semifinals showing earlier Saturday. Nebesnick needed just 34 seconds to pin Alex Mariano of Terra Nova and advance to the evening’s main event.
“I practiced her hard all week. She was ready to go,” GHS coach Marty Serrano said. “She was pumped up for this weekend.”
By the time the finals were underway, word already trickled down to Nebesnick that Torres, who had been nursing an injured knee heading into the tournament, was going to forfeit, Serrano said. Even still, Nebesnick, with her head gear strapped tight, paced back and forth in a dark corner of the Oak Grove gym, feeding her adrenaline.
“You never know if it’s a head game,” she said. “You always want to be ready just in case.”
And as Serrano put it, “It’s only official when they raise your arm.”
It’s official now.
Teammate Jennifer Garcia rebounded from a loss in the 126-pound quarterfinals, winning three straight matches to claim third place. Garcia pinned Katie Blackburn (Milpitas) in the third period. It was a rematch of the first bout of the two-day tournament. Garcia won that one 8-7.
“I was just focusing on what I needed to do and show everyone the hard work I put in all season,” Garcia said of her bronze medal match. “We were both really tired. It’s the third period and you are just exhausted – anything can happen. I knew I had to do it for my school, my coaches and myself. It happened and it was a great feeling.”
The CIF State Championship meet is Feb. 24-25 at Lemoore High School.
“Last year was my first time there and now I know what it’s going to be like,” Nebesnick said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
A record 165 athletes from 39 schools particpated in the weekend’s third annual CCS Girls Championships.
98: Nhi Doan (Andrew Hill) over Alejandra Franco (Alvarez), Dec 2-1
103: Cadence Lee (Gunn) over Kayla Walker (Leigh), Dec 9-2
108: Amy Fearnside (Live Oak) over Sabreena Shelton (Santa Teresa), Pin 2:49
114: Cady Chessin (Los Gatos) over Michelle Olmos (Lincoln-SJ), Pin 5:29
118: Emily Ducote (Los Gatos) over Rachelle Proa (Salinas), OT 6-4
122: Sarena Olmos (Lincoln-SJ) over Carmona Maraya (Watsonville), Maj 17-8
126: Kendra Wiley (Menlo-Atherton) over Shelby Baker (Scotts Valley), Pin 2:53
132: Sierra Dockery (Terra Nova) over Kirstie Knudson (N Salinas), Pin 1:44
138: Anna Naylor (Lynbrook) over Lerissa Gutierrez (James Lick), Pin 2:16
146: Ivy Ouyang (Lowell) over Grace Kim (Salinas), Pin 5:40
154: Janice Nettles (Pacific Grove) over Valeria Duenas (N Salinas), Maj 15-4
165: Crystal Soto (Overfelt) over Jessica Yip (South San Francisco), Pin 4:50
189: Megan Nebesnick (Gilroy) over Ivanna Torres (Alvarez), (MFF).
235: Alana O`Neill (Terra Nova), over Athena McGoff (San Benito), Pin 0:24