Placer County wrestlers work overtime on day one at state meet
BAKERSFIELD — Ask any competitor here and they’ll tell you there are no bad wrestlers at the CIF State championships. With the top 40 competitors in 14 weight classes whittled down from nearly 800 high schools in the state, competition is stiff.
Returning state champion Jake Elliott of Oakmont and returning state competitor Adam Wagner of Granite Bay experienced that Friday in round two, each surviving in overtime at Rabobank Arena.
Overtime here is nothing new to Wagner, who won two overtime matches last year when he went 3-2 in the tournament and tied for 12th.
Wagner, ranked ninth in the state at 152 pounds, went to overtime tied 1-1 with No. 10 Dallas Poston of Foothill-Palo Cedro and scored the win with a takedown 45 seconds in.
“The competition down here is so stiff,” Wagner said. “This being my last time down here, I want to bring it.”
It was Wagner’s first bout of the day, as he didn’t have a “pigtail” first-round match and his second-round opponent didn’t make weight. Wagner lost his quarterfinal match to returning state champion and top-ranked Isiah Martinez of Lemoore. He’ll wrestle in the consolation fifth round at 9 a.m. Saturday morning and can finish no lower than 12th for the second year in a row.
Elliott had to work a little longer in his second match. He appeared to have sixth-ranked Kyle Perreault beaten with a takedown 30 seconds into the first overtime, but it wasn’t called, much to the chagrin of not only his corner men but coaches from other schools in the observation area. Elliott finally prevailed 7-4.
He recovered nicely to claim a 10-2 win in his quarterfinal and guarantee himself a medal, the only Placer County grappler to do so thus far. Elliott, ranked No. 2 in the state at 152, will face fourth-ranked Coleman Hammond of Bakersfield for a trip to the final.
“It’s gonna be fun,” Elliott said. “Half the pressure’s off now that I’ve medaled, but I don’t want third or fifth. I have a lot of respect for (Hammond), but I know he’s beatable.”
After leading for much of the first two periods of his 152-pound quarterfinal bout, third-ranked Austin Branum of Del Oro fell in a tough 3-2 decision to Southern Section champion Corey Griego of Sultana. Branum, who was fifth in the state at 145 last year, can still finish as high as third.
The same applies to Wagner and Elliott’s Oakmont teammate Peter Santos (170) who, after easy wins in his first two bouts, lost a tight 5-3 decision to Zach Nevills of defending state team-champion Clovis.