Bakersfield, here they come. Gilroy will be well represented with seven locals entered into the grueling, two-day, battle of wills that is the CIF State Wrestling Championship tournament today and Saturday at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
One week removed from helping the GHS wrestling team to its 10th consecutive Central Coast Section title, six Mustangs – Jesse Vasquez (106 pounds), Victor Olmos (120), Paul Fox (126), Nikko Villarreal (132), Willie Fox (145) and Jose Lara (285) – have it in mind to keep GHS, ranked No. 6 in California, among the perennial state powers.
Villarreal, Paul Fox and Willie Fox are coming off of individual section championships.
Villarreal took third at state as a freshman. Paul Fox placed eighth last year.
The Mustangs finished in seventh last season and sixth the previous two years after a program-best showing second place in 2008.
Christopher’s Jimmie Lopez, the 106-pound CCS champion, makes his state debut as well. Lopez is the first CHS wrestler to make it to the state stage.
Defending team-champion Clovis High (ranked No. 1) has 11 wrestlers ranked in the top-10 and is again the favorite. Bakersfield High, last season’s runner-up and the 2010 champion, is ranked No. 2 entering the weekend. Poway, which won it in 2009, is No. 3.
Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. today. Four championship rounds and four consolation rounds will take place on Day 1.
Saturday’s slate again starts at 9 a.m. with the semifinals set to get underway at 9:30 a.m.
Third, fifth and seventh place matches are set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday night’s finals are at 7:15 p.m.
Visit gilroydispatch.com for updates throughout the tournament. Follow sports editor Josh Weaver on Twitter for up-to-the-minute results.