Twelve South County mat women punch tickets to Bakersfield

Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire tops the Metro Conference as a three-time state meet qualifier after winning the 113-pound championship title at last Friday’s San Diego Masters tournament. DeGuire, who is ranked eighth in the state, pinned all three of her opponents at the inaugural all-girls Masters event.

With the inaugural San Diego Masters girls state-qualifying tournament held last Friday at Steele Canyon High School and four section boys divisional tournaments taking place on Saturday throughout the San Diego Section, it was a whirlwind weekend for high school wrestlers.

There was plenty for South County mat fans to cheer about.

Ladies first
The Metro Conference recorded three weight class champions at last weekend’s girls Masters tournament: Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire at 113 pounds, Mar Vista’s Anya Rodriguez at 128 pounds and Hilltop’s Nahdia Barrientos at 133 pounds.

Overall, the top three place-finishers in each of the 14 weight classes qualified to compete at the upcoming state championship tournament in Bakersfield.

South County recorded 12 state qualifiers in another bountiful harvest.

Second-place medals went to three South County mat women: San Ysidro’s Alexa Rosales (123) and Desirae Ferguson (128) and Eastlake’s Brooke Klomp (162).

Bronze medals went to six additional locals: Hilltop’s Valerie Gurule-Metzig (108), Otay Ranch’s Kayla Tolentino (118), Mar Vista’s Mary Cincotta (133) and Nuonnettra Kanzaki (139), Eastlake’s Sabrin Farha (152) and Olympian’s Angelina Leal (237).

The 12 state qualifiers from the Metro Conference represents 29 percent of the qualifying field from the section’s inaugural Masters tournament.

This year, two divisional tournaments served as qualifiers for the Masters state-qualifying event.

“Having a Masters tournament shows how much growth women’s wrestling is experiencing because of the support these young ladies are getting from their schools, their families and their coaches,” tournament director Trevor Keifer explained.

Eight wrestlers competed in each weight class at last weekend’s Masters — four each from the Division I and Division II tournaments.

Keifer said the reward was evidenced on the awards stand at Masters, with the top four place-finishers earning medals.

“It’s a testament to the hard work they put in throughout the season,” Keifer said of earning qualifying berths at the section-ending Masters tournament. “They have earned a shot for a chance to compete at the state tournament.”

Mar Vista led the local field with three state qualifiers while Olympian, Hilltop, Eastlake and San Ysidro each had two state qualifiers.

Olympian’s Yesenia DeGuire pinned her finals opponent from Brawley to earn the top spot on the awards stand.

DeGuire became a three-time state qualifier after winning all three of her matches by pin in a power-packed performance.

She pinned Clairemont’s Juliana Villa in 3:17 in the quarterfinals, then recorded a 48-second pin against West Hills’ Chloe Tolentino in the semifinals.

The Olympian mat woman pinned Brawley’s Haylee Garcia in 44 seconds in the championship match to improve to 34-3 with 30 pins on the season.

DeGuire is currently ranked eighth in the state.

Rodriguez became a repeat state qualifier after capturing a 12-7 decision over Ferguson, another returning state qualifier, in the finals while Barrientos out-pointed Madison’s Amber Plascenia, 4-0, to win her weight class championship in a matchup of returning state qualifiers.

Rodriguez recorded pins in her opening two matches against San Pasqual’s Isabella Schultz and Westview’s Milana Sims — while Barrientos (16-1) faced off the tournament with a 54-second pin against Grossmont’s Sarah Stevens before recording a pair of minor decisions.

San Ysidro’s Rosales and Ferguson and Eastlake’s Klomp all finished with 2-1 records.

Ferguson and Klomp, a returning state qualifier, both had two pins.

Rosales had her win streak stopped by Imperial’s Ariah Barragan in the finals after Barragan recorded a 2:22 fall.

Klomp lost by a 25-second pin against Valley Center’s Sierra Mefford.

Hilltop’s state meet qualifiers Nahdia Barrientos and Valerie Gurule-Metzig are flanked by coaches Thomas Juarez and Mike Metzig.

Comeback kids
Hilltop’s Gurule-Metzig, Otay Ranch’s Tolentino Mar Vista’s Cincotta and Kanzaki, Eastlake’s Farha and Olympian’s Leal all won high stakes third-place matches to qualify for the state meet.

Gurule-Metzig (28-6) bounced back from a semifinal loss to Torrey Pines’ Emily Sway by pinning her next two opponents. The Hilltop grappler pinned Olympian’s Alyssa-Joy Damaso in 2:17 in the consolation semifinals before pinning Brawley’s Jaylee Cazares in 2:25 in the bronze medal match.

Tolentino took a similar course to securing her state qualifying berth with pins in her final two matches following a semifinal loss to Ramona’s Berlin Kiddoo. Tolentino pinned San Diego’s Carla Leon in 42 seconds in the consolation semifinals, then pinned Imperial’s Jocelyn Avelar in 2:26 to capture third place.

Cincotta successfully wrestled back after being pinned in her opening match by Helix’s Alyssa Campos by winning her next three matches by pins.

The Mar Vista mat woman started her pinning spree with a 2:16 fall against Olympian’s Alisa Amelina, then added pins of 2:26 and 3:53, respectively, against Steele Canyon’s Brianna Schultz and, in revenge mode, against Campos.

Kanzaki went 3-1 with three pins, defeating El Camino’s Katrina Cullens (2:53) and Valley Center’s Kyrra Young (1:02) by falls in her final two matches.

Farha lost her first match by a 5:04 pin to Montgomery’s Jasmin Ballesteros, a returning state qualifier, but wrestled back with three wins to advance to the state meet.

Farha pinned San Marcos’ Destiny Ware in 4:30 in consolation round one, then recorded a 4-1 decision over Chula Vista’s Stacey Alvarado in the consolation semifinals to get another crack at Ballesteros in the third-place match.

Farha shut out Ballesteros 3-0.

Olympian’s Leal lost by a 1:36 pin against El Cajon Valley’s Valeria Rocha in the semifinals but bounced back with two pins: 2:22 against Clairemont’s Catalina Yanez in the consolation semifinals and 2:23 against San Pasqual’s Brianna Reyes in the bronze medal match.

Gurule-Metzig, Tolentino and Cincotta also notched three pins in the tournament.

Montgomery’s Anahlia Flores (113), Castle Park’s Ayianna Fernandez (145) and Ballesteros (152) all finished fourth in their respective weight classes to fall just short of qualifying for the state tournament.

Flores lost by a medical forfeit in the third-place match to West Hills’ Tolentino while Fernandez lost by a 3:17 pin against Brawley’s Jadyn Jardon.

Fernandez recorded two pins in her four matches.

Top teams
Division II champion Brawley captured the inaugural Masters team title by a wide margin with 161 points. Valley Center finished second with 57 points while San Pasqual was third with 54 points.

Mar Vista finished fourth with 53 points, followed by Division I champion Olympian, Rancho Buena Vista and West Hills in a three-way tie for fifth place with 42 points.

Hilltop (eighth, 40 points), Ramona (ninth, 34 points) and San Ysidro (10th, 32 points) rounded out the top 10 scoring teams.

A total of 10 Metro Conference schools were represented at this year’s Masters tournament.

Eastlake finished 12th with 29 points while Montgomery and Otay Ranch finished in a five-way tie for 21st with 16 points,

Castle Park placed 27th among the 48 participating teams with 124 point. Chula Vista followed in 33rd place while Bonita Vista was tied for 41st place.

The state championship tournament runs Feb. 27-29, allowing the section’s female qualifiers an additional week of practice to prepare for the event of a lifetime.