As the 2017-18 prep wrestling season winds down, the Gridley High School wrestling team is starting to hit its stride.
You want to be at your best as the postseason tournament series approaches, and last weekend, the Bulldog grapplers had a chance to go up against some of the best competition in the area at the Corning Invitational.
The Bulldogs finished eighth in the team standings at Corning.
Gridley coach Lance Andes was pleased with what he saw.
“The Corning Invitational is the top tournament in the north section” Andes said. It’s a preview of what the NSCIF is going to look like.”
In addition to the good team showing, the Bulldogs got a number of great individual showings last Saturday at Corning.
At 126 pounds, senior Raiden Montero was fifth. Senior Jace Villapania won the title at 182; Brian Avina also won top honors at 195; and Alex Avina was seventh at 220.
Andes said Montero had a great start to the day, pinning his way to the quarterfinals.
In the quarters, Avina lost a close match by decision.
Battling for third place, Montero lost another hard match to a top-ranked wrestler.
Andes said both wrestlers Montero lost to at Corning are top-ranked wrestlers.
“He’ll see them again in the division tournament, before Masters,” Andes said.
Montero is currently ranked fifth in the Masters standings, and honorable mention in the state rankings.
Meanwhile, Villapania pinned his way to the semifinals at 182.
There, he faced a top-ranked wrestler in the Sac Joaquin section eking out a win by decision.
In the finals, Villapanmia matched up with the third seed in the North Section and earned the win by major decision.
Villapania has just two losses on the season – both to the same North Section wrestler who is ranked No. 2.
“That is poised to be the feature match in the 2018 NSCIF finals.,” Andes said. Villapania is currently ranked No. 2 in the Masters standings and No. 30 in the state.
Also for the Bulldogs, Brian Avina at 195 pounds had a stellar day for Gridley, winning all his matches on his way to the finals by major decision.
In the finals, Avina faced a top-ranked wrestler from the North Section, where he also won by major decision.
“Brian is shaping up to make a push for the finals at Masters,” Andes said.
Brian Avina is currently ranked No. 4 in the Masters standings and listed under honorable mention in the state.
Finally, Alex Avina at 220 pounds lost his first match of the day by decision, putting him in the consolation bracket, where the best finish one can get is seventh.
There, Alex Avina earned four wins in a row to secure the seventh place medal. Alex is currently ranked #6 in the Masters standings.
Meanwhile, in girls action last weekend, Malia Montero earned third place honors at the Elk Grove Invitational.
Andes said Montero lost a hard-fought first match that put her in the consolation bracket. She there made a comeback with three pins in a row to secure the third place medal.
The Gridley girls are in action this Friday and Saturday at the NSCIF regional qualifier at Natomas High School.
The Bulldog boys, meanwhile, are idle until next Thursday, when they travel to Wheatland for the BVL tournament.
Bulldogs fall to Orland
Gridley’s boys soccer team lost just its third match of the 2017-18 season earlier this week, falling 2-1 to Corning.
With the loss, Gridley’s record fell to 12-3-2 (5-1-0 league).
Agustin Cardenas had the Bulldogs’ lone goal. Robert Acosta had an assist.
Diego Ramos had 12 saves in goal for Gridley.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to face Orland Thursday afternoon.
Malia Montero earned third place honors last weekend at the Elk Grove Invitational. (Photo contributed)