Wrestling: Four Empire girls win NCS championships

By TED SILLANPAA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Casa Grande High’s Erica Mihalca roared to the title at 131 pounds to lead four Empire stars who won North Coast Section girls wrestling tournament titles Saturday.

Thirteen Empire wrestlers in Pittsburg earned spots in the CIF state tournament on Feb. 28 in Visalia.

Rancho Cotate’s Cassidy Rodrigues (11-5) captured the championship at 170 pounds.

Middletown’s Jessie Flynn (29-3) was the champ at 189 pounds, while undefeated Vickie Espinoza triumphed at 235 pounds.

Espinoza (20-0) pinned Petaluma’s Michelle Larsen (21-3) in the all-Empire finale, sending both Empire stars to the state meet.

Michalca (25-3) reached the NCS finals for the fourth time in her prep career.

She pinned Albany’s Erica Sotelo, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, to win the crown. She pinned second-seeded Rebecca Busch of Castro Valley in the semifinals.

“I pinned my way all through the meet, so I really couldn’t ask for a better outcome,” Mihalca said. “I was seeded third, so it was an upset that I won. I’ve beaten those girls before, but not since I was a sophomore.We all bounced around to different weights this season.”

Ukiah’s Harmonie Roberts (31-1) moves on after losing her first match of the season and finishing in second place at 106 pounds.

“Harm just got caught,” said her dad, Shane, who also is Ukiah’s coach, after the loss to James Logan’s Talissa Noriega. “Harmonie had beaten her twice before.”

Empire stars with second-place finishes were: Maria Carrillo’s Randi McMahon (121), Carrillo’s Molly Trejo (143), Kelseyville’s Evelyn Santiago (171), Petaluma’s Larsen (235) and Harmonie Roberts (106).

Third-place and state berths went to Maria Carrillo’s Shaina Dowell (116), Ukiah’s Angelina Canevari (121), Ukiah’s Alyssa Roberts (128) and Rancho’s Olivia Barnett (160).

JAGUARS’ BOYS WIN TITLE

At McKinleyville, Windsor’s boys became the first team ever to win three consecutive NCS Division 2 dual-meet championships by rolling over three opponents.

“Nobody’s ever won three in a row,” said Windsor coach Rich Carnation. “It means a lot to our program to have accomplished that.”

Windsor blasted Analy 63-15 to start, then blitzed Del Norte 70-3. The Jaguars won the championship by knocking off Eureka 54-23.

The Jaguars overwhelmed foes despite losing heavyweight Salvador Carrillo to illness before the Eureka match and while rotating different wrestlers into the lineup.

“We took some varsity reserves, so we had 22 kids at the meet,” Carnation said. “They all wrestled and they all helped us.”

Ukiah finished third in the section dual-meet event, beating Del Norte in the Wildcats’ final match.

Windsor will host the North Bay League boys and girls wrestling tournaments Feb. 22 starting at 10 a.m.

Healdsburg was fourth in Division 3 action in McKinleyville,suffering a 42-33 loss to Willits. Willits’ Justin Thom (138), Sebastian Rolfe (195) and Tyler Vesey (106) were big winners.

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