The second official San Diego Section girls wrestling championship tournament took place last Saturday at Steele Canyon High School. New this year were berths that determined state qualifiers.
The first- and second-place finishers in each of 14 weight classes qualified to compete in the girls state championship tournament Feb. 22-23 in Lemoore.
South County was well represented with three weight champions and seven state qualifiers.
Hilltop’s Kayla Ochoa captured the 100-pound division with a 1:00 pin over Kearny’s Kaira Garcia while Bonita Vista’s Desiree Palomata defeated Steele Canyon’s Danielle Schneider by a 13-8 overtime decision to claim the 120-pound title.
Also for Hilltop, Alysia Baker pinned Mar Vista’s Vanessa White in 1:02 to win the 191-pound class.
Second-place finishers from Metro Conference schools also included Bonita Vista’s Destiny Palomata (105), Otay Ranch’s Melissa Valenzuela (116) and Mar Vista’s Veronica Acosta (124).
Third-place finishers included Bonita Vista’s Brittany Lopez (110), Sweetwater’s Elsa Davalos (124), Hilltop’s Janeth Ibanez (128), Bonita Vista’s Denise Palomata (134), Chula Vista’s Karen Samaniego (140), San Ysidro’s Viviannah Malfavor (167) and San Ysidro’s Jazmin Quintanilla (191).
San Ysidro’s Sharon Becerra (105) finished fourth.
Steele Canyon won the team title with 200 points. The Cougars qualified seven wrestlers to the state tournament.
San Pasqual was second with 107.5 points, followed by Mt. Miguel in third place with 80 points. Bonita Vista finished fourth with 72 points, followed by Hilltop in fifth place with 60 points. San Ysidro was seventh with 36 points and Mar Vista was ninth with 32 points.
Both White and Acosta expressed their excitement at qualifying for the state meet.
“I showed up to practice every day and worked hard to try to put 100 percent in it,” White said.
“It’s an accomplishment,” Acosta said. “I wanted to prove that girls could do the same sport that guys can. It feels awesome.”
Steele Canyon will be represented by seven wrestlers at this weekend’s tourney in Lemoore, including section champions Clarissa Gutierrez (110), Apolonia Pina (116), Alexandra Gonzalez (124), Marki Simmons (134) and Maria Valencia (148). Second-place section finishers included Danielle Schneider (120) and Pamela Feldman (128).
The Cougars topped the field with 200 points to win the girls section team title.
Other East County state qualifiers include Monte Vista’s Gabriel Fleming (first, 140) and Mt. Miguel’s Talisha Dozier (second, 134), Michelle Greenlaw (second, 140) and Leimai Tausaga (first, 237).
Tausaga, a freshman, pinned both her opponents at the Feb. 9 Steele Canyon event. She recorded a 17-second pin in the semifinals and pinned San Pasqual’s Melissa Gleason in 1:04 in the championship bout.
“It was exciting,” Tausaga explained.
Last year’s girls state tournament featured 314 student-athletes from 10 sections across the state. The top six place-winners will earn medals at this year’s event.