Girls’ wrestling dynasty in the making
In 2021, no one in the state of California has done girl wrestling like San Diego.
In fact, San Diego is the only section to achieve this.
Despite all the challenges of COVID-19, 41 teams gathered at Santana High School on Saturday for the sectional girls’ wrestling championships. While Brawley won another tag team title, all the girls were the winners.
“I feel so lucky for the girls to have this chance to fight CIF,” said Steele Canyon coach and tournament director Trevor Keifer. “A lot of teams faced a lot of challenges all year, a lot of the girls were disillusioned, but we managed to get there.
For Brawley, winning tag team titles on the girls’ side is becoming as common as the boys. The Wildcats tallied 161 points to win the tag team title over runner-up Mira Mesa, who had 103 points.
“I’m proud of the girls, they’ve had less than a month to prepare,” Brawley coach Ray Leon said. “All the girls here that I know have missed all the team camaraderie.”
The Wildcats’ champions were Arianna Gonzales at 113 pounds and Savannah Gomez at 145.
“It took a long time to figure out a way to do things safely,” said Gomez, a senior who recently qualified for the national team at the Cadet Team Trials in Irvine, Texas.
Gomez, who was second in the state a year ago before the shutdown, needed just 20 seconds to pin the Olympian’s Ayleen Gomez in the final.
While gym time was hard to come by, two senior Valley Center teammates had perfect training partners.
Twin sisters Savanna and Sierra Meffort have won back-to-back mat titles at 162 and 172 pounds.
Savannah, who was third in the state last year, pinned Brawley’s Yisal Arias in 47 seconds, followed by Sierra falling to the Wildcats’ Dylan Jardon at the buzzer in the first period. Sierra did not compete in the state last year after suffering a season-ending arm injury.
“I was so happy for (Savannah) last year, but I had a lot of doubts coming this year,” Sierra said. “I’m so glad we both were able to win.”
Karen Salais of Calexico and Ariah Barragan of Imperial also put in impressive performances.
Salais, who had finished third in the state a year ago in sophomore year, pinned Helena Insko of Mira Mesa in 5:44 to 118. Barragan, state medalist in fifth place last year, pinned Chloe Tolentino from West Hills in 2: 35 to 128.
“I feel really happy to win, but I really wish I had a chance to win at the state,” said Salais.
“I trained hard this year, lifting and working out whenever I could.”
“I would train wherever I could,” Barragan said. “Mostly in my garage, but I also went to Arizona and competed there last year.”
The other champions of the day were Kailey Smith of Granite Hills (103), Birta McCaskill of Mira Mesa (108), Anya Rodriguez of Mar Vista (123), Annabel He of Rancho Bernardo (133), Kyla Pattillow of Mira Mesa (139 ), Vista’s Kayley Garcia (152), Crawford’s Forshay Mallard (191) and Olympian’s Angelina Leal (237).
Farmer is a freelance writer.