Marching right along

Adin Dueñas tries to sweep the leg of his opponent, Dustin Rocha

Gonzalez into semis as four GHS wrestlers still very alive at
State Finals
Bakersfield – They weren’t league and section champions for nothing.

After a successful day on the mats in Bakersfield on Friday, the five Gilroy High grapplers who made it to the State Wrestling Championships have earned a total of 36.0 points, good enough for 12th place out of the 50 teams competing.

What’s more, the Mustangs are primed to return home with some top finishers as four of the five are still alive. While Armando Gonzalez is unbeaten in three matches so far and is poised to make a run to the final match in the 135-pound division, three more GHS wrestlers need only win their first match this morning to secure a Top-8 showing amongst the best of the best in the state.

“We feel like, even though we lost three of those matches, our sense of aggressiveness hasn’t let up,” said Gilroy head coach Armando Gonzalez on the 2-1 record that three of the four Mustangs in contention share. “They’re still wrestling tough to extend their seasons and they will come back tomorrow and wrestle even harder.”

Given their performance, there’s no reason to believe otherwise.

The younger Armando Gonzalez had one of the best performances of his career, winning all three of his Friday matches to move into today’s semifinals. After pinning Anthony Garcia of Alhambra in the third period of his first match, Gonzales went to work on Dallin Willis from Golden Sierra. Gonzales was relentless with his offense against Willis and jumped out to a 8-0 lead after the first round. The remainder of the match saw Gonzalez in complete control and he went on to win 11-1.

“Armando is having the biggest tournament of his year,” said his father and coach. “He’s really opening up his offense. He’s shooting, attacking. He’s looking dominant out here. And, he has really paid his dues and deserves to be in contention.”

Gonzalez will square off against Chris Drouin of Chaparral in his first match today in a matchup between two wrestlers with similar styles.

Freshman Hunter Collins’ performance on Friday was almost as impressive. Wrestling at 160 pounds, Collins went 2-1 and will compete for a top finish at State this morning in his first year of high school competition.

Collins fought his way to a pin against Jay Regner of Fallbrook in his first match before meeting up with Santiago’s Garrott Coelho, a match he won convincingly at 11-6.

Adin Dueñas also looked strong in his second match of the day. The junior and his opponent, Dustin Rocha of Lemoore, battled to a stalemate through most of the opening round. But with less than half a minute to go, Dueñas nearly pinned Rocha, who is ranked sixth in the state, after going after him with a quick attack. Dueñas missed out on the pin but went on to take the match in an 11-1 major decision.

“This was a big match,” Dueñas said. “I lost to him earlier this season, so coach just told me to stay in the match and focus. So I just wrestled my match and came out on top.

“At a state meet, anything can happen,” added Dueñas, who fell in the quarterfinal round at the hands of Tony Ruiz of Loara by way of a 3-1 decision and now faces the tough challenge of wrestling his way back in a very competitive weight class.

Nicolo Naranjo, wrestling at 103 pounds for the Mustangs, got off to a great start on Friday on his way to a 3-1 mark. Naranjo first took care of Carlsbad’s James Sullivan with a second-period pin. He followed that up with an equally snappy pin over Angel Garcia to earn a trip to the quarterfinals, where he was defeated 6-3 by Oakdale’s Trevor Machado after a hard-fought match.

“Nico’s match was very competitive and it’s not like he let us down by not winning that match,” said coach Gonzalez. “He has absolutely wrestled to his potential. I’m confident that Nico’s going to come back tomorrow and medal.

“My question to Nico was, ‘How high are you going to medal?’ But, overall, we’re very confident going into tomorrow.”

Austin Gubrud, a fourth place finisher at last week’s Central Coast Section finals, didn’t fare as well as his more highly regarded teammates. Gubrud, who Gonzalez called the “turnaround story” of the season for his surprising trip to State, lost his first two matches in Bakersfield. After a loss to Santa Fe’s Willie Garcia, he was sent to the consolation bracket, where he fell 9-2 to Alex Corona of Monache.

The history

Gilroy High placers (1-8 finishes) at the modern State Wrestling Championship (first year – 1973; year, wrestler, placing):

Year Wrestler Place

1982 Rudy Prales 4

1985 Victor Cobos 3, Mike Gilroy 5

1986 Victor Cobos 5

1987 Kordell Baker 2

1988 Kordell Baker 1

1991 Luke Corona 7

1992 Luke Corona 3, Sergio Mar 3

1993 Sergio Mar 4, Isaac Alvarez 5, Noel Grover 8

1994 Matt Corona 4

1997 Max Harris 8

2000 Brandon Bautista 8

2001 Brandon Bautista 7

2003 John Gurich 4, Mark Zabala 6

2004 John Gurich 4

2005 Armando Gonzalez 3, Nicolo Naranjo 4, Adin Dueñas 7, Hunter Collins 8

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