HomeBlocksFront-GridSan Marino Wrestling Quartet Books Trip to CIF State Championships

San Marino Wrestling Quartet Books Trip to CIF State Championships

The CIF Southern Section Wrestling Masters Meet at Palm Springs High School brought the best of the best in the Southland to compete under one roof Feb. 16 with one common goal: a spot at the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.

San Marino senior Ryder Yoshitake and sophomore Mikel David Uyemura were crowned champions in the boys’ competition at the Masters Meet, while sophomores Malia Manibog and Leah Lopez qualified for the state meet with their runner-up and fourth-place finishes, respectively.

“We were oh-so-close to getting [three] Masters champs,” San Marino coach Morris Bird told the Tribune in a text message. “I’m so proud of the way our Titan athletes competed this weekend.”

The CIF State Wrestling Championships begins Feb. 22 at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield. Consolations and quarterfinal rounds start Feb. 23, and semifinals and championship finals begin Feb. 24.

Yoshitake and Uyemura were crowned Masters champions in the Gold Division of the meet.

Yoshitake opened his tournament-winning run in the 144-pound Gold Division with a first-round victory against Trabuco Hills freshman Brock Kenney.

The Titans senior, the top seeded wrestler in the 144-pound bracket, followed that up with a victory over Mayfair senior Elijah Robledo and a 9-2 decision triumph against Fountain Valley senior Nathan Marquez to reach the championship bout.

In the 144-pound finale, Yoshitake defeated Northview senior Viviano Gutierrez in the second period to be crowned Masters champion and qualify for state. He will serve as the No. 9 seed of the 144-pound bracket of the state championships.

Photo courtesy Morris Bird / San Marino senior Ryder Yoshitake (right) captured the Masters crown in the 144-pound Gold Division with a victory over Northview senior Viviano Gutierrez on Feb. 16 at Palm Springs High.

Uyemura defeated Lakeside junior Isaac Rea in the opening round of the 150-pound bracket and moved on to defeat Mayfair junior Turner Yanagisawa. The sophomore booked a spot in the 150-pound championship matchup after defeating Newport Harbor junior Anthony Manno in the semifinal.

Uyemura won the Masters crown by a 3-1 decision against Norwalk senior Sean Otero.

“Mikel David won a close match in the finals against an opponent who beat him at Masters last year,” Bird said. “Same exact score 3-1, and virtually an identical match except we got the takedown to win [it] towards the end this year instead of our opponent.”

The sophomore is the No. 10 seed of the 150-pound bracket of the CIF State championships.

Manibog defeated Savanna junior Normi Garcia in their first-round matchup of the 100-pound Blue Division. The Titans sophomore made quick work of Santa Monica sophomore Arata Sakamoto to advance to the 100-pound semifinal where she met and defeated Northview senior Ryleigh Hayes for a spot in the title bout.

Photo courtesy Morris Bird / Titans sophomore Malia Manibog (second, from left) finished runner-up in the 100-pound Blue Division of the CIF Southern Section Wrestling Masters Meet on Feb. 16.

Manibog went the distance in the championship match, but was ultimately defeated in the third round of the championship match against Bell Gardens senior Katherine Hernandez to finish runner-up.

Lopez stumbled in her opening matchup of the 105-pound Blue Division bracket to Tustin senior Leilah Patel, but won four straight matches to place fourth and qualify for state. The Titans sophomore won consolation matches against Beaumont senior Mia Sharp, Corona Senior freshman Alice Gomez, and Villa Park senior Hailey Laabs before setting up a rematch with Patel for a spot in the third-place match.

This time around, Lopez was triumphant, winning by 8-3 decision over Patel. Esperanza senior Isabel Valenzuela defeated Lopez in the third-place matchup, but a fourth-place finish was good enough for a trip to Bakersfield.

Photo courtesy Morris Bird / San Marino sophomore Leah Lopez (left) qualified for the CIF State Wrestling Championships following a fourth-place finish in the 105-pound bracket at the Masters Meet.

San Marino juniors Julian Solis and Maila Arambula also competed at the Masters Meet. Solis was part of the boys’ 215-pound Blue Division and Arambula competed in the girls’ 155-pound Blue Division.

Solis fell to Chaminade junior Kevin Rodriguez in the opening round of the 215-pound bracket, and lost to Ayala senior Brandon Townsell in the following round.

Arambula dropped into the consolation bracket of the 155-pound Blue Division following a loss to Angel Castro, a 12th grader from Corona Senior. Arambula bounced back with a victory over Masuimi Everitt of Mayfair, but bowed out of the bracket after a loss to Palm Desert senior Angela Milijkovic in the following matchup.

“Maila and Julian didn’t qualify for state but I’m proud of the way they competed,” Bird said. “Maila won a hard-fought match by the skin of her teeth and I was so proud of her grinding that match out.”

First published in the Feb. 22 issue of the San Marino Tribune


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