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Southland Has 11 in Semifinals

March 06, 2004|Rafer Weigel | Times Staff Writer

BAKERSFIELD — Two City Section and 39 Southern Section wrestlers made it to the quarterfinals of the state tournament at Centennial Garden on Friday. Only 11 made it to the semifinals, which guarantees a finish no lower than sixth place.

Many lost quarterfinal matches in close decisions and some lost on close calls that had coaches crying foul.

Rafael Reynolds of San Fernando had the toughest calls to accept. As each of the three periods came to a close in a 5-3 loss to Bobby Pease of Los Gatos, the 152-pound junior orchestrated takedowns as time expired. Each time he was not awarded points by the officials.

"They cheated [Reynolds] three different times," assistant coach John Paez said. "They even had two referees [who conferred] and they still made those unbelievably bad calls."

Reynolds, and other quarterfinal losers, can still place as high as third in the tournament. The highest any San Fernando wrestler has finished at state was sixth by Joaquin Robledo in 1986.

Paez was not alone in his disdain for the officiating. Jaime Rocha of Santa Maria Righetti was pushed off the mat five times as he tried to escape the grasp of Bret Harte's T.J. Dillishaw in a 4-3 loss at 119 pounds. Righetti Coach Dutch Van Patten said Dillishaw should have been penalized one point for stalling once, if not more.

"There should be a rule that you can't officiate a kid from your section," Van Patten said of the official from the Sac-Joaquin Section, of which Brett Hart is a member. "I just want to see that the kids win on their own. I wouldn't want a Southern Section referee officiating my kids' matches."

The Southern Section is guaranteed a finalist at 160 pounds, where Temecula Valley's Calvin Devault, Fontana Miller's Bobby Green and Yucca Valley's Brian Merrit all won quarterfinals.

Sophomores Justin Paulson of Santa Ana Calvary Chapel and Juan Archuleta of Hesperia Sultana advanced to the semifinals at 103, but Covina Northview's Caleb Flores, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state for the division, lost, 7-6, to freshman Joe Cisneros of Bakersfield.

Defending state champion Brian Moreno of Santa Ana Foothill at 112, Santa Ana Calvary Chapel's Patrick Aleksanyan (135) and David Juaregui (140), Redlands East Valley's Mike O'Hara (152), San Jacinto's Jimmy Stormo (171) and Santa Barbara San Marcos' Alex Mack (275) are the other Southland semifinalists.

Rosemead's Edward McMillan was responsible for the biggest upset when he pinned Brandon Ceremello of Clovis, the state's No. 1-ranked wrestler at 189, in his opening match. McMillan was trailing, 12-6, but reversed Ceremello and pinned him at 5:52. McMillan lost in the quarterfinals.

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