STOCKTON — All eyes were on Darrel Vasquez of Bakersfield High Friday during the state wrestling championships at University of the Pacific, and for good reason. Vasquez, a senior wrestling at 125 pounds, is going for his record fourth consecutive individual state title.
Vasquez, who won at 119 pounds last year, 112 in 2000 and 103 in 1999, got his pursuit of history rolling in impressive fashion in the opening rounds, winning with a pin and two technical falls as he advanced to the semifinals today.
"I'm feeling really good that I got through the first day," Vasquez said. "It's been a mental grind pretty much all year."
Bakersfield leads the team standings with 109.5 points, a commanding 48.5 points ahead of second-place Poway.
Bakersfield, which had 10 wrestlers qualify for the state meet, had eight advance to the semifinals and is almost assured of breaking the state team record of 170 points, set last year by Santa Ana Calvary Chapel.
Two-time defending state champion Calvary Chapel, which had 171-pounder Joe Williams as its only wrestler to make the semifinals, is in sixth place with 33.5 points, which leads Southern Section schools.
Covina Northview had James Clay advance to the 160-pound semifinals and is in seventh place with 32 points. Kirk Davis (189 pounds) and Arturo Basulto (heavyweight) made the semifinals for Arroyo Grande, which is in eighth place with 30 points. Jeremy Mendoza (119) and Jeff Bristol (140) advanced for Temecula Valley, which has 27 points and is 10th.
The surprise of the tournament may have been K.C. Shaw, a 189-pounder from Rancho Cucamonga. Shaw, who finished fifth at the Masters last week and is in his first year as a wrestler, advanced to the semifinals.
Danny Cadwallader of Brethren Christian will wrestle Jeff Moriarty of Poway in the semifinals, but will not get a rematch of his Masters final, in which he defeated Buck Barger of Villa Park. Barger lost, 10-6, to Kirk Fitzpatrick of Union City James Logan in the quarterfinals.
Will German of San Fernando still has hopes of becoming the first City Section wrestler to place twice at the state meet. He lost his first match in the 171-pound bracket, but won three consecutive matches in the consolation bracket and needs two more victories today to place.