CIF girls wrestling: Rancho Cotate’s Vickie Espinoza finishes 2nd

By ALLIE COLOSKY

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rancho Cotate junior Vickie Espinoza made it to the CIF state girls wrestling finals on Saturday in Visalia, but she fell to now two-time champ Lakiyah Wagoner of Birmingham High School in Los Angeles.

“It just got to the last 10 seconds of the match and her opponent was able to get the escape,” Cougars head coach Damien Mason said.

Espinoza advanced to Saturday’s final after winning close decisions in her first three matches.

Following a first-round bye, she scored a 2-1 victory over ninth-grader Corey Burton of Oak Hills in the Southern Section.

In the quarterfinals, she got posted a 2-0 win over Stephanie Maldonado, a sophomore from  Clairemont High in San Diego.

In her semifinal match earlier on Saturday, Espinoza decisioned Crystal Gomez, a senior from Channel Islands High in Oxnard.

In the title match against Wagoner, Espinoza held her own for two overtimes before falling to the junior reigning champ 2-1 for the 235-pound state crown.

“She put herself in the best position to win the state title and she just came up 10 seconds short,” Mason added.

Espinoza didn’t encounter any easy matches leading up to the state title bout, said Mason, and she wrestled each opponent in a very smart and strategic way.

“She controlled all of her matches,” he said.

Espinoza won the North Coast Section meet by pinning Michelle Larsen of Petaluma on Feb. 15 and placed seventh and sixth in previous years at the state meet.

“I have all the confidence in her ability to put herself back in the championship,” Mason said, “and she’ll have the opportunity to win that title next year.”

Other Empire state finishers included Ukiah’s Harmonie Roberts, who placed fourth in the 101-pound weight class, and Gabby Agenbroad of Willits, who finished sixth in the 170-pound weight class.

Enochs High School, with one champion and two third-place finishers, took the team title, scoring 81 points, with

Northview High School coming in second place just two points shy. James Logan of Union City was the North Coast Section’s top team with 76 points for third.

Ukiah was 19th with 34 team points. On the strength of Espinoza’s performance, Rancho Cotate totaled 20 points, while Willits had 13 points, Casa Grande 10, Upper Lake 7 and Petaluma 4.

CIF CHAMPIONS

101: Alleida Martinez (Selma)
106: Sariyah Jones (Enochs-Modesto)
111: Gracie Figueroa (Selma)
116: Domique Parrish (Scotts Valley)
121: Ricki Liang (Benicia)
126: Gabby Garcia (Valencia-Placentia)
131: Monica Samaniego (A.B. Miller-Fontana)
137: Marina Briceno (Royal-Simi Valley)
143: Vanessa Tria (James Logan-Union City)
150: Iman Kazem (West-Sacramento)
160: Alyssa LaFrancis (Rancho Buena Vista)
170: Kendall Reusing (La Sierra-Carmichael)
189: Jackie Quinones (Arroyo-San Lorenzo)
235: Lakiyah Wagoner (Birmingham-Los Angeles)