South County mat women blaze trail to state with elite CIF finishes


Olympian High School earned a place in history as the first team champion at last Saturday’s inaugural San Diego Section Division I girls wrestling championship tournament at San Ysidro High School.

The San Diego Section’s inaugural girls Masters state-qualifying tournament is set to take place Friday, Feb. 14, at Steele Canyon High School with a field full of South County hopefuls.

The 112-person field was set following last Saturday’s history-making Division I and Division II championship tournaments.

Previously, only one CIF qualifying event was held to display the robust growth of girls wrestling within the section.

Friday’s Masters tournament is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

The top three place-finishers in each weight class advance to the state championship tournament Feb. 27-29 in Bakersfield.

Pin to win
Nine South County mat women captured individual weight class championships at last weekend’s division finals.

The roll call of local CIF champions included Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire (113 pounds) and Angelina Leal (237), San Ysidro’s Sandy Luevano (103), Alexa Rosales (123) and Desirae Ferguson (128) and Eastlake’s Brooke Klomp (162) at the Division I finals and Hilltop’s Valerie Gurule-Metzig (108) and Nahdia Barrientos (133) and Mar Vista’s Anya Rodriguez (128) at the Division II finals.

Overall, the Metro Conference logged 14 finalists between the two divisional tournaments and 30 Masters qualifiers (top four place-finishers in the two tourneys).

The numbers do not lie about the talent assembled in South County wrestling rooms.

Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire became at two-time CIF champion after winning last Saturday’s Division I individual gold medal.


Soaring Eagles
In a tour de force performance at San Ysidro High School, Olympian made history by capturing the inaugural Division I team title with 209 points to easily best the 143 points posted by runner-up Steele Canyon.

The Lady Eagles’ treasure trove included 13 place-finishers, eight Masters qualifiers, three finalists and two individual champions.

DeGuire, a senior, and Leal, a sophomore, won weight class titles at opposite ends of the spectrum for Olympian.

DeGuire went 4-0 on the day with four pins, including three in the first period, to extend her record to 31-3.

She pinned Mira Mesa’s Tavania Tran in 2:47 in the championship match. Her other pin times included 33 seconds, 1:29 and 58 seconds (in the semifinals against Eastlake’s Isabella Lamadrid).

DeGuire remains the Metro’s queen of the mat after winning her second consecutive individual CIF championship en route to earning the MVP lower weight award at the Division I finals.

With two CIF individual gold medals, she becomes the most decorated Olympian wrestler ever (boy or girl) in school history.

Division I outstanding wrestlers, from left, Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire (lower weight), Rancho Buena Vista’s Cassandra Betancourt (upper weight) and Rancho Bernardo’s Annabel He (middle weight).
Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire has become the school’s most decorated wrrestler with two CIF championships. Photo by Phillip Brents

“Both coach Levi Harbin and I are incredibly proud of the team,” OHS head coach Chandra Peterson said. “We brought a full lineup that had just a few seniors and a few juniors, but mostly sophomores and freshman. Everyone did their part and we were so excited to have eight girls advance to Masters with two alternates.

“These girls have put their hearts, souls, sweat and tears into this season. It has been such an amazing experience watching all of the girls on the team grow and become better wrestlers —and even better humans.

“We are hopeful we will be sending multiple girls to the state tournament. Yesenia is a two-time state qualifier. So if she makes it again this year, this will be her third year to state and we will be looking to bring some hardware home.”

Olympian 237-pounder Angelina Leal realized her dream of winning a CIF individual and team championship. Photo by Phillip Brents

Leal was perfect in two matches, winning by a 1:56 fall against Steele Canyon’s Kennedi Jones in the semifinals and San Pasqual’s Brianna Reyes in 3:41 in the championship match.

The Lady Eagles had three finalists overall, with Celina Esquer placing second at 139 pounds following a loss by a first-period pin to Rancho Bernardo’s Annabel He, the tourney’s outstanding middle weight wrestler.

Olympian had four third-place finishers: Alyssa-Joy Damaso (108), Alisa Amelina (133), Cerise Alca (145) and Leilani Johnson (172). Makenna Harbin (123) placed fourth as an additional Masters qualifier.

San Ysidro’s Sandy Luevano was among three CIF champions for the Lady Cougars at the inaugural Division I finals. Photo by Phillip Brents

Cougar country
San Ysidro finished fourth in the Division I team standings with 120 points. The Lady Cougars recorded five Masters qualifiers besides leading the conference with three individual champions.

Luevano won all three of her matches, including two by pin. She out-pointed Granite Hills’ Kailey Smith, 7-2, in the championship round.

Rosales finished 4-0 on the mat with three pins and a 12-0 major decision over Bonita Vista’s Blayne Lopez-Griggs in the finals.

Ferguson pinned her way to the championship in dominant fashion with falls of 31 seconds, 1:00 and 1:08. She defeated Westview’s Milana Rose Sims in the championship round.

Amy Pina (145) and Vanessa Arvizu (191) both finished fourth.

Teen Titans
Eastlake finished fifth in the Division I team standings with 101 points as the third South County team among the top five finishers.

The Lady Titans had two finalists and three Masters qualifiers.

Eastlake’s Brooke Klomp won the 162-pound title at the Division I finals. Photo by Phillip Brents

Klomp recorded four first-period pins to win her title, finishing her perfect run through the bracket with a 1:00 fall against San Pasqual’s Dannika Collier.

Sabrin Farha finished second at 152 pounds after dropping a 9-5 decision to Rancho Buena Vista’s Cassandra Betancourt, the tournament’s outstanding upper weight wrestler.

Farha had advanced to the final on the strength of three pins.

Metro champion Madeyln Mones took fourth at 103 pounds.

Also famous
Chula Vista finished eighth in the Division I standings and collected two Masters qualifiers: Stacey Alvarado (third, 152) and Carlye MacPherson (fourth, 108)

Otay Ranch’s Kayla Tolentino (118) joined Bonita Vista’s Lopez-Griggs on the awards podium as a second-place medalist.

Among the 31 participating teams, Otay Ranch finished 11th while Bonita Vista was 22nd.  Sweetwater was 31st.

Hilltop’s well-rewarded contingent at the Division II finals poses with head coach Thomas Juarez.

Lancer Nation
Six South County teams participated in the Division II tournament at Santana High School.

Hilltop finished third with 137 points — 3.5 points behind runner-up Valley Center — while Mar Vista finished eighth with 73 points. Montgomery followed in ninth place with 62 points while Castle Park finished 12th with 39 points.

Mater Dei Catholic (29th) and Southwest (32nd) also participated in the 32-team field.

Hilltop, which finished runner-up to Olympian at the preceding week’s Metro championship tournament, scored eight place-winners and three Masters qualifiers.

Gurule-Metzig pinned her way to the championship with three falls, including a 4:27 pin in the finals against Brawley’s Jaylee Cazares.

Barrientos won her opening two matches by first-period pins, then scored a 3-0 decision over Madison’s Amber Plascencia, who attended Hilltop as a freshman, in the championship match.

Brenecia De La Torre finished third in her 162-pound division to qualify for Masters. She finished 3-1 on the day with two pins.

Mar Vista’s Anya Rodriguez returned to the winners circle. Photo by Phillip Brents

Mariner pride
Rodriguez continued her standing as one of the section’s top wrestlers by pinning all three of her opponents. She topped off her championship performance with a 5:06 fall against Ramona’s Lilly Tunnell in the finals.

Mar Vista teammate Nuonnettra Kanazki finished second at 139 pounds. She recorded pins in her first two matches before being pinned in the championship round in 1:05 by Brawley’s Savannah Gomez.

Honor roll
Fifth-place finishers at both divisional tournaments earned alternate berths to Friday’s Masters meet. They included Otay Ranch’s Alina Carino (103), Eastlake’s Isabella Lamadrid (113), Hilltop’s Isabella Gurule-Metzig (113) and Samantha Velazquez (123), Olympian’s Katherine Martinez (128) and Aunica Vargas (152) and Eastlake’s Ciera Fletcher (191).

Place-finishes were awarded down to sixth place.

Sixth-place finishers at the Division I finals included Olympian’s Crystal Riley (103), Isabella King (118) and Shelby Fadden (191).

Sixth-place finishers at the Division II finals included Montgomery’s April Mendez (108) and Evelynn Coronado (237) and Hilltop’s Kassandra Loredo (139), Camila Rascon (145) and Martinez Rodriguez (191).

Brawley won the Division II team title with a runaway total of 312 points.