FRESNO — Canyon High School may have been Orange County's most dominant wrestling team throughout the 1986-87 season, but Capistrano Valley made the strongest showing of county teams in the CIF State Tournament, which began Friday in Selland Arena.
The Cougars, who finished fourth in the Southern Section 3-A meet, had one wrestler advance to today's semifinals and two others advance to Friday's quarterfinals to accumulate 24 1/2 team points, good for seventh place on the team list.
Capistrano Valley junior Mike Phillips won three 148-pound matches convincingly and will meet South Bakersfield's Scott Herndon in the semifinals today at 11 a.m.
David Hynan, the Cougars' 157-pounder, won two matches before losing to Antioch's Jason Verduzco, 19-7, in the quarterfinals. Capistrano Valley heavyweight Rex Vollmer won two matches before being pinned by Clovis' Kenny Fontes in the quarterfinals.
Todd Tomazic, a 168-pounder from El Dorado, was the only other county wrestler to win three matches Friday. The defending state champion will meet Poway's Brian Woods this morning, the winner advancing to tonight's 7:30 title match.
Four other county wrestlers--Valencia's Sam Lopez (108), Fountain Valley's Tom Odar (141), Loara's Edy Andros (178) and Savanna's Tom Osendorf (heavyweight)--lost in the quarterfinals. Sixteen of the county's 23 qualifiers made it to the second round.
If Phillips can get by Herndon, he may have another chance at Victor Valley's Dan Henderson, who faces Bella Vista's Dan Hall in the other semifinal. Phillips has lost to Henderson twice this season, in the Five Counties Tournament championship match and in the 3-A semifinals.
Phillips (46-5) reached the semifinals by pinning San Francisco Balboa's David Washington at 3:11; defeating Andrew Hill's Ray Borja, 11-3, in the quarterfinals, and beating Arcata's John Puzz, 16-2, in the quarterfinals.
"I'm definitely at a peak right now," Phillips said. "I wasn't so sure I could get this far, but now I have a chance to make a name for myself in state."
Tomazic (43-2) was expected to advance, but he didn't have an easy road to the semifinals. After a 10-3 opening-round win over Pete Bardillo of the Central Coast Section's Riordan High, Tomazic barely got by Sacramento Encina's Tom Winters, 5-4, and had to come from behind to defeat Tulare's John Tripp, 10-6.
If Tomazic successfully defends his state title, he'll become El Dorado's second two-time state champion. Howard Lawson won state titles in 1980 and '81.
It was a disappointing day for Canyon, which had been the county's top-ranked team throughout the season and set a 4-A record with 176 team points in the Southern Section divisional meet two weeks ago.
Four Comanches qualified for the state meet but only one, 157-pound Chris Jeppson, advanced past the first round. Jeppson defeated Santa Clara's Larry Dlabik, 9-1, in his first match but then lost to Verduzco, who recorded the pin at 5:07.
Twin brothers Brett (122) and Bryon (129) Schultz were eliminated in the first round, as was Greg Monteith (168). Brett Schultz appeared to be in control of his first match, holding a 3-2 lead over Las Plumas' Steve Hilier in the third period, but was called for stalling with two seconds left, and the match went into overtime.
Hilier then demolished Schultz, 15-0, in the three extra one-minute periods.
Canyon Coach Gary Bowden, whose team was ranked seventh in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News Magazine, was hoping for a better showing, but he didn't seem too disappointed.
"This is not a failure," he said. "This is state. I'm not going to say this year is a success or a failure based on this. We still had a fantastic year."