The Santiago wrestling program completed its rise from obscurity, placing second at the Division IV wrestling championships Saturday at Santiago High.
The Cavaliers, who placed 10th at the same meet a year ago, crowned its first Southern Section champion in five years when Carlos Garcia won a 7-3 decision over Norwalk Glenn's David Magote in the 145-pound final.
Joining Garcia at next weekend's Masters competition will be teammate Jimmy Ruvalcaba, who was runner-up in the 119-pound final. Ruvalcaba lost his first match of the season when Elton Sanchez of Azusa held on for a 9-8 victory.
"This is the first time I've had someone from our program qualify since I got here four years ago," Santiago Coach Rocky Gray said. "Last year nobody even qualified from our league."
Glenn won the two-day event with 147 points, followed by the Cavaliers with 133.5. Walnut, which surpassed Palmdale Highland in the final round, was third with 124. Garden Grove was 12th with 56.5 points.
Other county wrestlers who finished among the top three and qualified for the Masters were sixth-seeded John Colvin of Rancho Alamitos who was defeated, 2-0, by Jacob Waasdorp of Quartz Hill in the 215-pound final.
Garden Grove's Robert Rios took third in the 103-pound division with a 6-4 victory over Jared Hinzo of Ridgecrest Burroughs and Luis Renteria of Los Amigos advanced with 14-5 major decision over Nick Sanchez of Lakewood Mayfair in the 140-pound third-place match.