The grappling action will be fast and furious on February 7 and 8 when two girls wrestling tournaments featuring athletes from three California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sections take place.
The CIF-Central Coast Section (CCS) tournament will be held at Oak Grove High School in San Jose. Meanwhile, female wrestlers from the CIF-Sac-Joaquin Section and the CIF-Northern Section will compete at McNair High School in Stockton.
According to the 2012-13 High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, 8,727 girls participate in wrestling in 1,602 high schools around the nation. California leads the nation with 472 high schools sponsoring girls wrestling, and ranks second only to Texas in terms of the number of participants (2,776 to 2,099).
According to CCS Assistant Commissioner Duane Morgan, girls wrestling has grown within the state and has been strong within the section.
“Girls wrestling has been an emerging sport that is very exciting,” Morgan began. “The Central Coast Section has had a real good history for girls wrestling. Right now, we have 200 girls registered.”
“Last year, the CCS had four girls who won state wrestling titles, and we have some very good returnees. Among them, Jasmine Mendoza of Overfelt High School won the 138-pound state title last year as a junior. If she places again this year, she will become the first four-time placer in the history of the CIF state meet.”
“Cadence Lee of Palo Alto Gunn High School won the 103-pound state title in 2013. Now a senior competing at 111 pounds, she took fifth in the world in women’s freestyle.”
“Solon Piearcy of Cupertino High School placed sixth in the state at 132 pounds as a freshman last year. Anna Naylor of Cupertino Linbrook High School took second last year at 146 pounds.”
Last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section tournament drew 224 wrestlers from 80 high schools – both of which are meet records. While American Canyon was last year’s champion, another team to always watch out for is Bethel High of Vallejo, which fields a full girls team and won it each of its first three years.
The Sac-Joaquin tournament features four wrestlers who are ranked No. 1 in the state and are defending section champions. They are McKenzie Bacich, a sophomore at Bear Creek High School; Lauren Mason, a sophomore at Woodcreek High School; Gurleen Chahal, a senior at Livingston High School; and Alyssa Cantu, a senior at Weston Ranch High School.
In addition, Jessica Rodriguez of Lincoln High of Stockton is a defending state champion and three-time section champion who is currently ranked No. 3 in the state.
The top five placers in each weight class of the various CIF sections advance to the CIF Girls State Wrestling Tournament February 28-March 1 at the Visalia Convention Center.