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Top-Ranked Eagles Lay Siege to State Finals

February 27, 2001|ERIK HAMILTON

After three months of head-banging, the big show is finally here.

Led by defending state champion Calvary Chapel with 10 qualifiers, the county will be represented by 39 wrestlers in the state finals at the University of the Pacific in Stockton Friday and Saturday.

The Eagles, ranked first in the state, will be led by Masters champions Anthony Rodriquez (112 pounds), Steve Esparza (130), Frank Gill (135), Willie Parks (171) and Conan Williams (189), all seniors, and Mario Estrada, a sophomore who won the 103-pound match.

Other Eagles to advance were John Jackson (125), who took fourth at Masters; Yuri Kalika (152), fourth; Joe Williams (160), third, and Justin Boulais (215), sixth.

Loara's Josh Galvan, who won the 119-pound Masters title, will join brother Orlando, who lost to Rodriquez in Saturday's final but advanced to state. Orlando Galvan is the defending state champion at 103 pounds.

Villa Park will send three to Stockton. Doug Yadon, Orange County's top-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds, took third Saturday. He will be joined by Buck Barger (140) and Nick Diaz (152).

Santa Ana, which had 11 wrestlers in the Masters, qualified three for state: Hugo Guzman (103), Ozvaldo Avalos (160) and Wyatt Howard (189), the Division II champion who finished fifth at Masters.

El Modena Coach Alan Clinton called the Masters a "meat grinder," which was apparently the case with his team. After advancing nine to Masters from the Division I individual championships two weeks ago, the Vanguards ended up with only two heading to Stockton: Ricardo Sepulveda (140), who took sixth, and Daniel Contreras (160), who took seventh.

Others county wrestlers advancing to state are Brian LeMay, the 145-pound champion, and his Capistrano Valley teammate, Gary Ullerich (215); Kennedy's Frank Richmond, the 152-pound champion, and Fernando Garcia (145); Omar Gaitan (119) of Katella; Mike Gabrielson (130) of Los Alamitos; Dane Wimmer (130) and R.J. Clifford (152) of Marina.

Also advancing are Danny Cadwallader (135), who took third for Brethren Christian; Jonathan Keene (140) of Mission Viejo; Brian Chen (140) of University; Brandon Nguyen (112) of Sunny Hills; Jason Murphy (145) of La Habra; Buena Park's Gonzalo Meza (152), who finished third; Dana Hills' Ty Blair (171), who lost to the Eagles' Parks in the final, and Ian McCall (112); Brian Carroll (189) and heavyweight E.J. Chanda of Trabuco Hills, and Nathan Thaler (215) of Estancia.

The state finals start at 9 a.m. Friday, with competition through the quarterfinals and second consolation round. Semifinals start at 10 a.m. Saturday with championship finals scheduled for 7 p.m.


Calvary Chapel was so dominant Saturday that at times there would be two or three matches involving Eagle wrestlers going on at the same time.

So it's understandable why the Eagles always bring a caravan of assistant coaches.

"Yeah, it gets crazy," Calvary Chapel Coach John Azevedo said. "But I'll take a peek and see what's going on on the other mat. It's hard when the mat is across the room though."

Azevedo will be attempting to win his seventh state title at Calvary Chapel.

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