Story by John Salzer
WHITTIER, Calif. - Santa Ana College will be represented by four wrestlers in the upcoming CCCAA State tournament after the conclusion of the Southern Regionals. Led by Luis Vargas at 157 pounds who won his weight class, the others joining him will be returning state placer Joshua Fuentes - Norikiyo at 141 pounds, Oliver Rivero at 133 pounds, and Luis Cervantes at 165 pounds. Vargas joins Fuentes-Norikiyo as a returning state qualifier since placing 7th at the 2010 CCCAA state championships for Santa Ana College.
The day started off with Samuel Galdamez-Valle (125), Joshua Fuentes - Norikiyo (141), Christian Hernandez (149), and Mario Moz (285) competing in the first round of their weight classes. Fuentes-Norikiyo was the only successful Dons wrestler in the first round after winning his match by fall. Galdamez-Valle would lose a close decision match by a score of 4-2, while Christian Hernandez failed to capitalize on a late rally after trailing his opponent 13-4 going into the 3rd period, ultimately losing 17-14. Moz would lose by fall after a failed takedown attempt in the first period.
The second round saw action for all seven wrestlers, beginning with those in the championship quarter finals. After being sidelined by injury in October, Oliver Rivero (133) would make his return to the mat in style by a technical fall 17-2 over his opponent from Rio Hondo. Fuentes-Norikiyo would drop down to the consolation bracket after losing by fall to Aaron Diaz of Mt. San Antonio, whom he had met once during the season. Luis Vargas (157) wasted no time in his quest for the state tournament ticket by pinning his opponent 51 seconds into the match. Luis Cervantes (165) started his quarter final match by giving two takedowns while earning two escapes at the same. A lateral throw resulted in Cervantes able to get the win by fall at 2'03" of the first period. In the consolation bracket, the three Dons who dropped down were unable to advance any further. Christian Hernandez would lose by technical fall 20-4, Mario Moz would lose a close match by a score of 6-3, and Sam Galdamez-Valle lost by fall in the third period of what would be his last match for Santa Ana College wrestling.
The third and fourth rounds saw Fuentes-Norikiyo winning by fall both times, advancing to the consolation semi-finals. For the semi-finals round, Luis Vargas was the only Santa Ana wrestler to advance to the finals after winning by majority decision 16-2 over Jessy Diaz of Palomar. Oliver Rivero would lose by 3-1 to Raul Ortiz of Palomar after giving up a 2 point reversal in the third period of the match. Luis Cervantes would also drop to consolation by fall after losing to Kenneth Kirk of Cerritos in the second period.
For the consolation semi finals round, Oliver Rivero punched his ticket to the state championships by 15-0 technical fall over Jose Espinoza of Cerritos, and advancing to the 3rd place match as well. Josh Fuentes-Norikiyo would advance to the 3rd place match and the state championships after his consolation semi finals opponent Nick Camacho defaulted due to injury. Luis Cervantes would lose by fall to Ian Vazquez of Mt San Antonio and would wrestle for 5th place.
For the placing round, Luis Vargas topped off his regionals tournament by fall in 1'15" in the first period over Miguel Gallardo of Mt San Antonio, giving Santa Ana College wrestling its first regional champion since 2013. Oliver Rivero would finish the tournament in 3rd place after his opponent Ethan Diaz of Mt San Antonio would default by injury. Joshua Fuentes - Norikiyo would wrestle Aaron Diaz of Mt SAC once again to try and avenge his loss from earlier in the day, but could not mount a late comeback and would lose 11-5. Luis Cervantes would earn the last state championships spot for Santa Ana by defeating Kevin Mello of Bakersfield by a score of 5-3 and finishing 5th. The team overall would place 6th while Palomar College would win the South title.
Santa Ana College wrestling will be competing at the CCCAA State Championships that will take place at Cerritos College December 7-8.