State wrestling: Windsor’s Perez reaches semifinals

JOHN SACHS / For The Press Democrat Windsor’s Perez Perez controls Oakdale’s Nico Colunga in the Jaguar star’s quarterfinal win Friday to advance to today’s semifinals.

JOHN SACHS / For The Press Democrat
Windsor’s Perez Perez controls Oakdale’s Nico Colunga in the Jaguar star’s quarterfinal win Friday to advance to today’s semifinals.

By PHIL BARBER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Windsor’s Perez Perez had a disappointing end to the North Coast Section wrestling championships a week ago. The top seed at 106 pounds, Perez never really asserted himself in the section title match, and ended up losing 12-6.

Friday at the California Interscholastic Federation state wrestling championships, Perez came out with the fire of someone intent on erasing that bad memory. Perez won all three of his matches at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, earning a spot in the semifinals.

He begins his quest for a state title at 9:30 a.m. this morning when he takes on Adrian Camposano of Central High in Fresno.

Perez is guaranteed at least a sixth-place finish, which makes him the top performer in Windsor school history, surpassing Cody Howe’s seventh-place finish in 2009.

“He’s really excited,” Jaguars coach Rich Carnation said by phone. “Everyone at Windsor is all pumped up. He’s wrestling on fire right now. Last week, he didn’t wrestle a good final match. Sometimes that happens. But he’s wrestling very smart right now, and determined.”

And he seems to be gaining steam. Perez pinned his quarterfinal opponent, Nico Colunga of Oakdale, at the 2:45 mark of the match.

“Those two have wrestled one another for years,” Carnation said. “Nico beat Perez 4-2 in a tournament earlier in the season. For Perez, it was a real sweet victory.”

Perez is not alone in wrestling into the second day in Bakersfield. El Molino’s Taryn Christiansen (at 182 pounds) and Windsor’s Oscar Rios (195) each lost his second match Friday, but recovered to win two matches in the consolation bracket.

Both could still finish as high as third place, and will automatically medal with one victory today.

Christiansen lost 11-6 to Immanuel Barber of Canyon Springs, then won close decisions over Nathan Mesa of Woodlake and Marcus Vargas of Bloomington.

Rios lost to Ripon’s Trevor Smith before bouncing back to defeat Derek Yi of Lowell High in San Francisco on a quick pin, and McKinleyville’s Jason Price in a grueling overtime battle.

“Price is an awesome wrestler,” Carnation said. “He and Oscar have become friends. It’s a shame they had to wrestle each other right before the medal round.”

Meanwhile, three other Empire wrestlers — Healdsburg’s Dominic Merlo (160 pounds), Fort Bragg’s Jacob Clark (182) and Sonoma Valley Aidan Lacy (220) — won two matches before being vanquished. Clark very nearly earned the right to keep wrestling, losing to Joey Banks Jr. of Franklin in San Jose 3-2.

“It was 1-1 with about 35 seconds left,” Fort Bragg coach Bernie Norvell said. “He gave up a takedown, got caught flat footed. But he got an escape, actually got around on the takedown.”

In the end, Clark came up just short. The senior has an offer to wrestle at Oregon, though he is considering other universities. Clark began the season ranked 38th in California in his weight class, and worked his way up to 18th.

“He’s a league champ and he worked his butt off,” Norvell said. “He wanted to wrestle in college, and he knew he’d have to work like this to do it.”

Windsor’s Trevor Silva (138) and Rancho Cotate’s Joey Clay (152) each won one bout before being eliminated.

The depth of competition at the CIF meet was demonstrated by the Empire kids who went 0-2 on Friday.

Windsor’s Logan Fore (126 pounds) and Seth Trunick (132), Rancho Cotate’s Brian Guerrero (113) and Upper Lake’s Travis Coleman (152) were dominant performers this season, but none of them could eke out a win against the state’s best.

Three of those wrestlers fell by the narrowest of margins. Guerrero lost a 4-3 decision to Oakdale’s Trevor Williams in his second match, Fore lost his second contest 6-5 to Temecula Valley’s Joshy Cortez and Trunick lost 12-11 to Merced’s Mark Taijeron in his first match of the day.

Today’s wrestling begins at 9 a.m., with the championship round starting about 7:15 p.m.

You can reach Staff Writer Phil Barber at 521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com.

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