Justin Holt and Chad Troxler of Simi Valley High are neck and neck.
Holt, a senior at 145 pounds, and Troxler, a junior heavyweight, have records of 39-4 and are among 25 regional entries in the Southern Section Masters Meet today at Fountain Valley High.
Holt, who won his first Marmonte League championship this season, placed third in the Division II finals last week at Westlake. Troxler, a two-time league champion, won the Division II title by pinning Jason Deere of Newport Harbor in 3:07.
Both have tied the school record of 39 victories in a season--a mark shared by Mark Smith (1991) and Andy Silvestro (1987).
Which wrestler will head the new list in the record book?
"I told him this year I was going to break the record," said Troxler. "But I have another year to do it."
They're loaded: Ventura and Highland lead area teams with a combined 12 wrestlers in the Masters Meet.
Ventura, which placed second in Division I, has seven--including junior Cristobal Gonzalez, who is 41-0 at 189 pounds. Highland, Division IV dual-meet and individual champion, is led by junior Stuart Young, Division IV champion at 145.
Not again: For the second consecutive season, Jesse Bautista of Rio Mesa, who placed sixth in the state as a sophomore in 1995, has had his season cut short because of injury.
Bautista, 35-1 at 130 pounds, tore ligaments in his right knee on Feb. 17 and was unable to compete in the Division I finals. Bautista, a three-time Channel League champion, defaulted in last season's Division I finals because of a rib injury.
Easy choice: Just one look. That's all it took for Andrea Neipp of Highland High to decide that Brigham Young was the school where she wanted to continue her educational and athletic career.
The 1996 state and Southern Section Division II cross-country champion had been scheduled to take a recruiting trip to Utah after visiting BYU earlier this month, but she decided the visit wasn't necessary.
"When I went [to BYU], I just loved it," she said. "Everything was so perfect, I didn't want to take any more trips. . . . The program is awesome and the atmosphere on campus is incredible."
BYU finished third in the 1996 NCAA women's cross-country championships and six of its top seven runners are expected back from that team.
In addition, national cross-country champion Kristen Gordon of Concord Carondelet High and state Division IV winner Sarah Ellis of La Canada have BYU on their short list of schools.
Rough year: A senior year loaded with promise has turned into a nightmare full of ailments for Canyon distance runner Julie Harris.
After being slowed by injuries and illnesses in cross-country, Harris has missed the last four weeks of school with mononucleosis and is unsure about her status for the upcoming track season.
"It's kind of up in the air," she said. "But I do know that I won't be able to run a full schedule of races. I have to make sure that I don't try to do too much too soon."
As a junior, Harris placed 10th in the 1995 state Division I cross-country championships. She then capped her track season in May by setting a school record of 10 minutes 46.48 seconds in the 3,200 meters to finish sixth in the Southern Section Masters Meet.
"I just want to get back to school," she said. "I'm sick of being at home and doing homework."