Prep Wrestling: Mustangs dominate MBL Finals

Christopher's Alex Garcia wins his 162-pound finals match to place first against Chico during the Mid-California Classic Jan. 24.

GILROY—It’s often said that all good things must come to an end. That adage obviously doesn’t apply to the Gilroy High wrestling team.
The Mustangs produced another tour de force in winning their 13th consecutive league championship on Saturday in the Monterey Bay League Finals at Christopher High. The victory was due in part to Gilroy having an individual winner in 10 of the 14 weight classes, with all but one coming via pinfall.
And if you think the Mustangs are getting bored with success, think again. The MBL has consistently been the strongest wrestling league in the Central Coast Section, a fact that Gilroy coach Greg Varela doesn’t take lightly.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Varela said. “Absolutely, we’re excited to win league again. Trust me, if we lost, we’d be very upset.”
The top six placers from each weight class advance to this weekend’s Central Coast Section Championships. Gilroy winners included Noe Garcia (220 pounds), Matt Penyacsek (195), Tony Andrade (182), Mark Penyacsek (170), Victor Daza (138), Alex Felix (132), Jesse Vasquez (126), Gavin Melandaz (120), Joe Delgado (113) and Nick Aguilar (106).
Christopher also did well, as senior Alex Garcia ran roughshod in the 160-pound division to win his first league title. For Garcia, winning league was a long time coming. The last two years the Christopher senior had to battle a pair of tough Gilroy wrestlers who went on to win state titles—Paul Fox (2014) and Nikko Villarreal (2012-14).
Garcia had a forfeit win in the semifinals before rolling to a 27-11, technical fall victory over Kevin Ruiz of Alvarez in the title match.
“It’s a great feeling knowing you worked hard to win the toughest tournaments,” Garcia said. “The last couple of years I’ve been behind a state champion, and this year I’m the top dog.”
The ultra-confident Garcia said wrestling well is more important than racking up wins.
“I can win every match, but if I’m not happy with the way I wrestled, then it’s not satisfying,” Garcia said.
Christopher’s Anthony Gomez won the third-place match in the 195-pound division with a 3-0 win over Jose Gomez of Alisal. Cougars coach Alecxis Lara said his team had a solid day.
“We are in the toughest league, so any Top 5 finish here is a good showing for us,” he said. “Alex was dominant, he pinned everyone and showed he’s ready for CCS and state.”
In perhaps the best match of the day, the Cougars’ Jacob Myers lost a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to Palma’s Dominic Fratangelo in the 152-pound final.
“That was an emotional one, but Jacob wrestled well and we’re excited to see what he does in CCS,” Lara said. “I also liked what I saw out of Riley (Siason). He lost to the No. 1 guy in CCS (Gilroy’s Aguilar) who’s also ranked fourth in the state.”
Gilroy’s Mark Penyacsek had a tournament to remember. After losing his spot in a challenge match to teammate Noe Garcia at 220 pounds, Penyacsek opted to go down three weight classes to compete for his third league championship.
Penyacsek said he dropped 20 pounds in four days to make weight for the MBL Finals. Not surprisingly, Penyachek said he didn’t feel his best for Saturday’s finals, but still won rather easily. He pinned D’arrtanya Solis of Salinas halfway through the second period.
“I definitely felt weaker at 170 (compared to 220),” Penyacsek said. “I had never cut that much weight before and it was a bit of a shock.”
So how did Penyachek manage to drop 20 pounds in four days?
“Eat a lot less and work out a lot more,” he said.
Penyacsek said it was a thrill to watch his brother, Matt, who also won his third league title. Mark Penyacsek said there’s a big difference wrestling in the 170-pound division, because the lighter wrestlers have more agility.
When asked if he had concerns about facing wrestlers with more quickness, Penyacsk replied, “No, speed has never been held me back.”
Things couldn’t have gone any better for the Mustangs, who are a heavy favorite to win their 13th consecutive CCS championship this weekend.
“The kids looked great today—they were dialed in,” Varela said. “I’m really proud of these kids because we’ve been riddled with injuries all year. But the injuries have really brought the team together and made them even hungrier. It’s always good to have a little bit of adversity and the team has responded the right way and taken care of business.”

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