The Gunn wrestling team made some school history as Cadence Lee won a girls' state title and three teammates qualified for the boys' state championships following the Central Coast Section finals on Saturday.
Lee improved upon her second-place finish of a year ago by capturing her first title at the third annual CIF Girls Wrestling State Invitational Championships on Saturday at Lemoore High.
Lee won four straight matches, two by pin, and topped off her performance with a 5-3 decision over Angelica Llanes of Arvin in the 103-pound title match. After having two byes, Lee pinned Eva Soto of Pomona in 3:56. She followed that by pinning Harmonie Roberts of Ukiah in 1:52. In the semifinals, Lee posted a 4-0 win over Brittny Hernandez of Charter Oak.
Gunn placed 18th with 35 points as Lee became the school's first state champ in wrestling and the third state champion of all-time. Sophomore Grace Robinson (118) and senior Jessica Sun survived three rounds each before being eliminated. Sun received the Pursuing Victory with Honor Award for the 138-pound division.
Only two other female Gunn athletes have won state titles in any sport (Ruth Graham in cross country in 2001 and Tori Tyler in track and field in 2005).
At Independence High, Gunn brought nine wrestlers to the CCS Championships and all nine won matches. Four Titans earned medals while finishing among the top four -- senior Eric Cramer (second at 126), junior Sean Lydster (second at 195), senior Daniel Papp (third at 120) and junior Stephen Martin (fourth at 182).
Papp went 5-1 with four pins and scored 24 points. Cramer went 4-1 with two pins and also scored 24 points. Lydster went 4-1 with one pin, scoring 22 points, while Martin was 5-2 with two pins and 20 points.
Gunn's other entrants included Ian Cramer (2-2 at 132), Blaze Lee (1-2 at 145), Dino Soto (1-2 at 160), Harsha Mokkarala (1-2 at 220) and Eric Calderon (1-2 at 285).
Having two wrestlers in the finals was a first for the Titans, who wound up finishing sixth in the team standings. Had Lee been able to compete in the boys' CCS meet, Gunn coach Chris Horpel believes his Titans most likely would have finished in the top three in the team standings, tying their highest finish ever in 1973.
"This team is arguably the best wrestling team that Gunn has ever produced," said Horpel. "They proved it by winning the toughest league in the CCS and by placing so high in the CCS Championships without Cadence Lee.
"But, the season is not over. We have the boys' state (championships this weekend) in Bakersfield and we have three qualifiers who are really excited for that meet.
Gunn's state qualifiers are Papp (120), Cramer (126) and Lydster (195). The two-day meet begins Friday at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
"With almost 800 schools wrestling in California and only one division, this is one of the most competitive state meets in the U.S.," said Horpel.
Joining the three Gunn qualifiers at the state meet will be Palo Alto's Gary Hohbach, who finished third at 152 pounds on Saturday after going 5-1. Teammates Erik Anderson (4-2 for fifth at 170) and Andrew Frick (4-2 for fifth at 195) missed out on the trip. The Vikings finished 21st in the team scoring.
"We had a very good championship round 3 on Friday evening; pulled out some very close matches," said Paly coach Dave Duran. "Tough semifinal round Saturday morning. We made a bit of a comeback in the wrestlebacks.
"The highlight of the weekend was Gary Hohbach's overtime win (sudden victory) in the third-place match. He set a goal for himself to become a state qualifier after a disappointing league finals last season. Our coaching staff is always extremely satisfied when our wrestlers reach their goals. It is a long road to get there."
Hohbach was one of four Paly seniors at CCS. The others were Alex Taussig 0-2 at 220), Jordan Smith (0-2 at 113) and Anderson.
Other Paly entrants includes James Giaccia (1-2 at 106), Eric Oshima (1-2 at 138) and Jordan Gans (2-2 at 160).
"In what has been a challenging season for us, having three section placers and a state qualifier -- not bad," said Duran. "Most schools in the section would take these results every year."
Menlo-Atherton was led by Josh Buttram (3-2 at 195) while Austin Wilson was 1-2 at 126, Sam Stroud was 1-2 at 152, Donald LaHaye was 1-2 at 170 and James Smith was 0-2 at 160.
At Independence High
Team leaders -- 1, Gilroy 210; 2, Palma 142.5; 3, Alisal 125; 4, St Francis 110; 5, Mitty 108.5; 6, Gunn 106; 7, Riordan 102.5; 8, Saratoga 89; 9, Serra 87.5; 10 (tie), Serra and Monta Vista 81; 12, Live Oak 75; 13, Christopher 74; 14, Wilcox 70; 15, Harbor 68; 16, Fremont 66; 17, San Benito 62; 18, Half Moon Bay 59; 19, Monterey 57; 20, Santa Teresa 56.
106 -- Lopez (Christopher) p. A. Nguyen (Silver Creek), 4:59; 3. Covarraubias (King City); 4. Alonzo (Alisal); 5. Diokno (El Camino); 6. M. Nguyen (Wilcox).
113 -- Vasquez (Gilroy) dec. Hernandez (Serra), 8-2; 3. Huerta (Alisal); 4. Lujan-Arias (St. Francis); 5. Caires (Fremont); 6. Le (Wilcox).
120 -- I. Locsin (Live Oak) p. Summers (St. Francis), 0:55; 3. Papp (Gunn); 4. McCann (Monta Vista); 5. Zacarias (Aptos); 6. Mittlestead (Santa Teresa).
126 -- Olmos (Gilroy) maj. dec. E. Cramer (Gunn), 9-1; 3. Guerrero (Bellarmine); 4. Osuna (Alisal); 5. Biagini (Riordan); 6. Anaya (North Monterey County).
132 -- Fox (Gilroy) dec. De La Rosa (Serra), 7-1; 3. Rodriguez (San Benito); 4. Lamacchia (Harbor); 5. Pierce (Oak Grove); 6. Kim (Mills).
138 -- Villarreal (Gilroy) dec. Davis (Riordan) 3-2 (3OT); 3. Garcia (Palma); 4. Jacoby (Lynbrook); 5. Thalin (Santa Teresa); 6. Clark (Aptos).
145 -- Contreras (Riordan) tech. fall Triantos (Mitty), 24-9; 3. Palacios (Palma); 4. Jimenez (Gilroy); 5. Whall (Monta Vista); 6. Kraft (San Lorenzo Valley).
152 -- Battisto (Harbor) p. Sinclair (Pioneer), 5:02; 3. Hohbach (Palo Alto); 4. Petersen (St. Francis); 5. Peralta (Live Oak); 6. Kerkeles (Mitty).
160 -- Quintero (King City) maj. dec. Biral (Pioneer), 12-3; 3. LeFore (Sobrato); 4. Murabito (Saratoga); 5. Penyascek (Gilroy); 6. Mahmoud (Terra Nova)
170 -- Villalobos (Alisal) maj. dec. Lowman (Half Moon Bay), 16-4; 3. Penyacsek (Gilroy); 4. Sarrami (Saratoga); 5. Anderson (Palo Alto); 6. Leahy (Bellarmine).
182 -- Georgiyev (South San Francisco) dec. Golden (Monterey), 7-3; 3. Wei (Saratoga); 4. Martin (Gunn); 5. Bernardo (Oak Grove); 6. Thodos (Serra).
195 -- Ramirez (Mitty) dec. Lydster (Gunn), 7-4; 3. Klockow (Pacific Grove); 4. Garcia (Riordan); 5. Frick (Palo Alto); 6. Flores (Monterey).
220 -- Grant (Saratoga) p. Escoto (Palma), 3:36; 3. Rocha (Overfelt); 4. Francis (Harbor); 5. Finefeuiaki (Wilcox); 6. Sarabia (Half Moon Bay).
285 -- Manzur (Palma) p. Miltenberger (Fremont), 5:59; 3. Granados (Santa Teresa); 4. Balderas (Del Mar); 5. Zeid (Prospect); 6. Mendoza (Mitty).