2016 - 2017 Varsity Results
Each week this will be updated with results, but the latest results will show up on the bottom of this page.
Pre-Season Look: It's our favorite time of year again - Wrestling Season!!! Tradition rich Bella Vista has been practicing for a couple weeks now getting ready for the season opener at Vacaville High School December 3rd and 4th. It's going to be an interesting year, we have a lot of "X" factors going on. What was a sophomore dominated team last year is now a junior dominated team this year - a year better, but not at their senior best. On the flip side BV has four very strong freshman coming in this year - 3 of which have either medaled at Kids State and/or TOC. If the juniors can step-up and wrestle like they now belong among the best, and the freshman can hit the ground running, BV could end a two year slump of not winning a team championship. There is no "let's wait and see" with three of our seniors. We have a girls defending state champion returning in Alexandra (Alex) Hedrick. Alex placed 2nd this summer at the Fargo (ND) National Championships; she also spent the summer working out with BV alumni Jennifer Page (a 2x Junior World Medalist). Alex will spend her year wrestling the boys until playoffs where she'll look to not only defend her state title, but to become the first BV wrestler ever to medal at state all four years! Two other top seniors are Tim Nishimura and Nick Cable. So let's take a look at this year's team weight by weight.
At 106: We've actually got two outstanding freshmen here. Tyler Maples should be the starter here. Tyler is a past medalist at Kids State and is coming off a very dominating couple years in middle school. Tyler comes into high school with hundreds matches under his belt from many years on the kids circuit, he's high school varsity level right now. Once he gets some of the junior high bugs out of him, he should have a great season. Another outstanding freshman (Derrik Carstensen) will be right there. If Tyler doesn't wrestle his best, Derrik will be our starter at this weight. Derrik is high school varsity ready as well, but needs to grow at bit, he's undersized currently. At 113: BV has no natural 113 pound wrestler, so we will either forfeit this weight or take our chances moving Tyler Maples up a weight class and fitting Derrik in the 106 spot. It'll depend on the team we are wrestling. If we make this switch up, we'll put two fine wrestlers on the mat, but both would be undersized - a bit risky. At 120: Most likely this will be Alex Hedrick's weight. She's a bit heavier than that currently, but the higher she goes up in weight with the boys, the more strength comes in and her talents get more neutralized. If she's going to spend the season wrestling boys, she's going to more than likely fill this spot - and she'll win! At 126: This spot will have a dog fight. We've got returning Masters qualifier (senior) Tim Nishimura and another of the super freshman Vincent Olivera. Vince is a TOC medalist from last year and he's fun to watch; weird stuff happens in his matches (unorthodox), but he always ends up on top! Tim has spent much of his life in the Bronco program, from youth team thru high school. Tim always wrestles in the off season, so he's got massive mat experience. Vince may be the better athlete, but Tim has that "senior savy" - these should be good wrestle offs, winner getting the starting spot. At 132: In another weight that may be too tough to call right now, we've got three wrestlers fighting for one spot here. The loser of the Olivera vs Nishimura wrestle off may well end up being the starter here, but we've got two others that'll have a say in that. Waiting at this weight is senior Zach Johnson and sophomore Andy Olivera. Zach has done "everything" you need to do to get better. He never misses an off season local tournament, never misses an off season practice, and never misses an off season weight training session - he's a coaches dream. Zach has put in the work and is very determined. Andy Olivera is the "X" factor. A little young and inexperienced to probably crack the starting line-up this year, but Andy has heart; you'd be a fool to sell him short as the dark horse in this weight. At 138: The most likely starter at this weight is freshman sensation Dakota Gutierrez. Dakota placed at TOC, USA Wrestling State, and SCWAY State last year. Dakota has been wrestling consistently since 3rd or 4th grade, nearly all year long. He didn't start off a superstar, but Dakota has gotten better, and better, and better over the years and last year he broke through as a legitimate top level kid. Another freshman that is high school varsity ready right now. Dakota will have to get through teammate Carson Mullarkey in order to start. Carson is another former youth wrestler in our program. While Carson can wrestle, horsepower was his achilles heel, but he put in hours in the weight room this summer and that is no longer the issue. This could be a battle. At 145: The starter here will be junior Eli Morgan. Eli wrestled varsity a little as a freshman and full time last year. More than anybody last year you could see him grow as a wrestler during matches and the season. By mid-way last season he was chain wrestling like a good varsity wrestler would do. He got better and better, but then got off track in the playoffs and didn't place as he was capable of doing. This year he comes in starting the season with confidence. He's been working real hard in the practice room; if Eli grows like last year he can have a really good season. 152: Junior Dalton Lee should be the starter. Dalton has been starting on the varsity most of high school; now a junior we should really see some special stuff from him. Dalton has over 40 career varsity wins already, and he put in a bunch of off season work both wrestling and in the weight room. There is no question he's stronger and better, if he can get a big victory under his belt and secure the mental side of wrestling, he could explode. I wrote "should be" the starter for Dalton, but senior Isaiah Rogers will have something to say about that. Isaiah has been in the program since 7th grade and he's got savy. While not as athletic as many opponents, Isaiah has heart and he's got a bag of tricks - he's great at rolls for reversal and back points. Don't count Isaiah out, this kid can wrestle. At 160: The projected starter at this weight should be junior Colton Labanowski. He suffered a bit of an injury in his last football game, so he hasn't started wrestling yet; he should be back this week. Colton comes out of our youth kids program, so he's got hundreds of matches under his belt. Whenever Colton gets back to the line-up this weight class should be a solid one for us; Colton is good on his feet and tough. If he can step up a level on his ground wrestling, he can go deep in the playoffs. Another junior at this weight is Nathaniel Woods. Nathaniel doesn't know how to go easy, he's 110% at all times on the mat and in the practice room/weight room. While not as athletic as others, he's a self-made wrestler. Another kid the coaches love - always gives his best. Nathaniel may start here as he beats Colton or takes over for Colton until he returns from injury. At 170: Returning League Champion and Masters Qualifier junior Zach Orr. Zach is strong as a horse, and he can wrestle. He started wrestling in 7th grade and you could tell from the beginning he can be as good as he wants to be - strong and athletic. Zach will go as far as the mental side of him wants to go. When he decides to "get after it" you better watch out. Like Dalton Lee, Zach needs that one big win to propel himself forward. This weight is locked down with Zach. At 182: Junior Matt Yang will be the starter here. Matt got on a roll in the playoffs last year. He qualified for the Masters tournament and went 2 - 2 (both losses were close and winnable). Matt could've made state last year if he "believed" he could. As a sophomore, he got a bit tentative at Masters. Matt is athletic, but wrestling did not come easy to him, he's good because he's worked his butt off and he's tough. Pre-season state rankings have come out and Matt is ranked in the top 40. This ranking, doing well at Masters, and a bunch of spring wrestling, Matt should come out of the gates with confidence - he's going to be bad draw for others this year. At 195: Two returning freshman starters from last year will be vying for this weight class - sophomore Taylor Arendt and sophomore Sterling Strack. Taylor came out of junior high at Kids State Champion (so he's good), but he couldn't make the starting line-up at his own weight class, so he had to go up to heavyweight. Taylor had a tough year last year, not that many wins. For a kid who nearly never lost in junior high, to lose most matches the very next year is tough mentally, but that didn't stop Taylor. He and Alex Hedrick are the best two wrestlers for asking coaches for advice and/or extra work. Taylor wants to be good and he's willing to work for it. Once again he's going to have to go up a weight class; Taylor should be at 182 lbs, but Matt Yang is there, so Taylor has to go up again. Sterling Strack is here too. He's big and athletic. Sterling didn't have a ton of success wrestling varsity last year either, but unlike Taylor, Sterling got hot in the playoffs. Sterling placed at league and placed at D2 Sections! Sterling is another wrestler who needs to get over a "mental hump" before he can win on a regular basis; if he does he'll do very well. At 220: Nick Cable (senior) will fill this spot. Nick started for us last year at 220, in only his second year of wrestling and had a great year. He shouldn't have done as well as he did - too inexperienced; but he defied the laws of wrestling. Super strong and a good athlete, he just seems to be able to throw people around and end up on top. He's gradually getting more and more technique, so that's only going to make him grow by leaps and bounds. At 285: We do not have a heavyweight in the program at this time. Depending on who we're competing against we could bump Nick up to heavyweight, then move either Taylor or Sterling up to 220 lbs, but that's not that likely. As you have read, we have holes in our line-up at 113 and 285 lbs., so we won't be a super dual meet team - you have to fill all weight to beat top teams. We may have more tournament success than dual success this year. In conclusion, the Broncos have enough experience to have a good year, it's the mental side that needs to be raised a level. If the coaching staff can help this team make that mental jump, our season gets much better in a hurry. Well there it is, a pre-view of our line-up and expectations. Stay tuned right here and we'll keep you up to date as we begin our "Journey to the California State Championships".
Week One: The Broncos opened their season at the perenially tough Vacaville Duals. Vacaville, Clovis North and Turlock are all anually very tough wrestling schools in not only Northern California, but in the state. There was even a team from Nevada there. The expectations from a team with only 3 senior starters was not that high. We figured we could win 2 of the 7 dual matches, with an outside chance to win 2 others. Well the Broncos came out of the gate ready to wrestle! The team went 4 and 3, and nearly knocked off Turlock. Bella Vista had Turlock on the ropes with a 6 point lead with two matches to go; and BV had criteria for the win if the match ends up in a tie. We lost a close 1 - 2 match making the score 36 - 33 (Bronco's leading) with one match to go. Unfortunately we took a loss in the final match and ended up losing 36 - 39. A very fun match from a spectator point of view, and while we ultimately lost the match the BV kids wrestled with tons of heart - and they did that all weekend. After that tough loss we only had one more dual and the Broncos took out their frustration on that Nevada school and won 45 - 24. Leading the way were Matt Yang and Nick Cable, each went 6 - 1 over the two days. Matt's only loss came 3 - 6 to a top kid from Vacaville. Nick's only loss (4 - 9) was to a Clovis North wrestler ranked #11 in the state. Freshman 106 pounder Tyler Maples had a great tournament going 5 - 2 overall. We knew he'd be good and he backed that up! Dakota Gutierrez (another freshman starter) started his career off nicely getting 3 wins and being very competitive in his losses. Defending Girls State Champion Alex Hedrick went 5 - 2 over the two days (against boys). Bella Vista placed 4th in a field of 8; a nice showing for a fairly young team at a higher level tournament. Let's see if they can keep the momentum going!
Week Two: A great week for Bella Vista! We opened CVC league competition with a 54 - 16 victory over Whitney High School. Leading the way were Alex Hedrick and Dalton Lee, each recording falls. This weekend the Broncos traveled to Castro Valley for The Bay Area 54 Tournament. 32 teams competed and Bella Vista won the team championship! The Broncos have won tournaments before, but never like this...Bella Vista had no individual champions and only one individual finalist. BV medaled 9 wrestlers to gather all their points - it was truly the definition of a "team championship". Bella Vista doesn't have that big star this year, but what they do have is a team full of kids who can wrestle competitively with anyone, and they wrestle hard! Proven at one of the tougher dual tournaments in the state at Vacaville last week, and now at an individual tournament in Castro Valley. Leading the way was finalist Matt Yang. Matt had to beat a wrestler he lost to in overtime last year. In the semi-final Matt won a very close 4 - 3 match to reach the finals. Placing third were Tim Nishimura, Dalton Lee and Colton Labanowski. Freshmen Derrik Carstensen and Dakota Gutierrez both wrestled very well and placed 4th. Eli Morgan, Tyler Maples and Nathaniel Woods all went 4 wins against only 1 loss to place 7th (if you lost before the quarterfinals the best you could place was 7th). Other medalists were Alex Hedrick, Carson Mullarkey, and Zach Orr. So...this team with no stars is starting to make some noise, we may be at the beginning of a special year. With a season of experience and hard work still to come, BV may make a bit of a splash come playoffs.
Week Three: This Bronco team just keeps rollin' along - another big week for the program! On Wednesday the Broncos faced a very good Del Campo team in round two of the CVC duals towards a playoff birth. Del Campo has had a wealth of talent come into their program the last two years, so they are a big hurdle to overcome this year. We faced them at home under the spotlight and the Broncos really rose to the occasion. Bella Vista won 36 - 24. Probably the two highlight matches were Andy Olivera's come from behind win at 132 lbs., and Matt Yang's come from behind win at 195 lbs. - both were crucial in what was a tight dual. Bella Vista built an early lead with wins from Tyler Maples, Tim Nishimura and Andy's big win. Del Campo never actually led, but they came back to make it close. Going into the heavier weights it was Matt Yang who sealed the win with a late takedown to put the match out of reach. On Saturday Bella Vista traveled to Healdsburg, Ca for a dual tournament. Sixteen teams and Bella Vista came out on top as tournament champions!!! In the finals BV was down with 2 matches to go and we needed to win them both. Freshman Dakota Gutierrez came up with a big pin in the first of the two matches, not to be out done Eli Morgan followed up with another pin! Needing 2 wins in the last 2 matches, the Broncos got 2 pins to put an exclamation point on second tournament win in two weeks! The team wrestled well all day with six undefeated wrestlers: Tim Nishimura, Eli Morgan, Dalton Lee, Colton Labanowski, Matt Yang and Alex Hedrick. Tyler Maples, Dakota Gutierrez, Zach Orr and Andy Olivera each only had one loss all tournament. Hop on as this Bronco Wrestling train keeps a rollin'!!!!
Week Four: Not as much going on this week as we go into the holiday. Bella Vista had one dual meet and no tournament. Our dual was against Oakmont High School in round 3 of league competition to qualify for playoffs. The Broncos lost the first two matches by pin and things weren't looking good early on in the match; with no bonus points we'd have to win the next four matches just to get the score back even again. Oakmont woke a sleeping giant, Bella Vista scored the next 62 points in a row on the way to a 62 - 18 blow out win. Bella Vista is now 3 - 0 in league competition. We'll take 4 days off for the holiday then get back to work in preparation for a trip to Reno, Nevada for a huge tournament over break (80+ wrestlers in each weight class bracket).
Week Five: The Sierra Nevada Classic - over 90 schools from 5 states, 64 man brackets. There no getting around it, you're going to face some very tough competition. Bella Vista performed just like this years team has performed all season; we're a team with no stars, but a team with a bunch of kids that can wrestle and wrestle hard. We had nobody medal, but everyone won matches. Colton Labanowski had the best tournament of our group winning 4 matches but falling short of the medal round. Eli Morgan, Zach Orr and Matt Yang each went deepest in the winner's bracket before ultimately falling out of the tournament. Matt Yang lost to an Oregon State Champion 1 - 5 in a match that was much closer than the score indicates. Dalton Lee lost his first match then reeled off 3 pins in a row before falling 4 - 6 in a match that came down to a takedown in the final 20 seconds. So after a couple tournament wins and a bunch of success the Broncos got a little reality check on what to expect come playoffs. Time to get back to the shop and work on needed skills to make a deep playoff run in just about a month.
Week Six: This weekend the team went to the Escalon Tournament (near Modesto) and did a great job. This tournament runs differently than most. On day one wrestlers are put into pools of four (top wrestlers seeded into different pools so they don't face each other until day two). Once you wrestle everyone in your pool you then are put into an 8 man bracketed tournament for day two. They take the wrestlers with the best records and put them into what's called the "A bracket" - basically all the top kids at the tournament. Kids with one or two losses out of their pool get put into the "B bracket", and kids who didn't fair well in their pool go into the "C bracket". The Broncos had eight A bracket qualifiers and five medalists in that top bracket. Leading the way was champion Colton Labanowski - 5 matches, 5 pins! Colton was the #1 seed and he made sure everyone knew why. Our other A bracket champion was Matt Yang. Matt also was a #1 seed, while he didn't get all pins, he had a very good tournament and showed why he's the most consistent winner on our team. Two other wrestlers made the finals of the A bracket, both losing close matches. Eli Morgan had a real good tournament wrestling better and tougher each match. Eli lost a close 3 - 4 decision in the final; certainly a match that could've gone either way. Dalton Lee had another good showing placing 2nd in the top bracket. Dalton got 3 straight pins to reach the semi-finals where he won 8 - 1 to get into the finals. Dalton's semi-final and final matches were well wrestled because he attacked from the beginning each match and kept pressure on. Ultimately he fell 3 - 6 and settled for second. One nice surprise was Tyler Maples. Tyler had not wrestled like himself the past two weeks. His first match in pool play he lost and just didn't look good. Even though he lost a match he got put into the A bracket and had to face the same kid he lost to in the pool rounds. Tyler listened to his coaches, made some adjustments and beat that same kid 7 - 2! While Tyler would lose his next match and drop to consolation, he did continue to wrestle well and ended up placing 3rd in the top bracket! A great tournament and a great adjustment to listen to coaching and get better THAT DAY. Tim Nishimura went undefeated in pool play and qualified for the top bracket, but he's been battling the flu and just couldn't wrestle anymore. Zach Orr and Derrick Carstensen were our final couple wrestlers to qualify for the top group, but they fell short of the medal round. Bronco wrestlers who lost one match in pool play, who wrestled in the B bracket tournament and medaled were Zach Johnson, Vince Olivera, and Andy Olivera. All in all Bella Vista went home with 10 medals out of 15 participating wrestlers - a great job. The Lady Broncos attended what is considered the toughest girls tournament in the state - Napa Tournament. They did a great job. Leading the way of course was Bronco and defending state champion Alex Hedrick who won the tournament! She ended up wrestling in the finals against the same girl she beat in the state finals last year. 4 to 4 score in the 3rd round Alex got a takedown very late to take the lead and for good measure pinned the girl! Freshman Emily Alderman placed 6th! Toughest tournament next to state and she medals, a great job! Yelena Makyod ended up in 7th place, which is great, but she had some very high ranked girls at defeats door. Yelena was beating top girls late, but she only knows one way to wrestle "go for the fall", so she got caught late and beat. She hasn't learned to take less risk when winning, she always goes for broke - fans love it! Nicole Strand had a high seeded girl in big trouble, but ended up losing and not making the medal round. The boys picture below from Escalon is blurry, it's not you (smile).
Week Seven: Not much action this week in terms of competition, only a dual meet against Roseville HS. Roseville is not a power wrestling school, but they are very competitive. They fill a full team and they know how to wrestle; this was supposed to be a match that Bella Vista had to be careful of. The Tigers of Roseville caught Bella Vista on the wrong night! The Broncos steam rolled Roseville by a score of 69 - 6. Roseville's only points came from a forfeit by Bella Vista, that means the in live matches, we didn't lose a single match! BV really came to wrestle. It was the type of victory that can really move a team forward in terms of momentum, especially this late in the year. While most Broncos wrestled very well it was freshman Dakota Gutierrez that really stood out. Dakota chain wrestled the entire match and looked smooth while doing it. He moved from one move to the next giving his opponent no chance to be offensive himself. Another nice victory was Dalton Lee's victory over Salso. Salso eliminated Dalton from the playoffs last year, send himself to the Masters Championships and sending Dalton home for the year. Dalton got revenged with a second round pin.
Week Eight: This was the final slow competition week of the season, only one dual this week. Next week we have a dual and a tournament, then the week after that we wrestle for championships. This weeks dual was down in Elk Grove against Consumnes Oaks HS in another CVC league dual on the march to a league title. Bella Vista wrestled very well and came away with a 51 - 23 victory that probably wasn't even that close. Wrestler of the night was freshman Derrik Carstensen who looked absolutely fabulous in his match. Extremely smooth in his skills and kept his opponent under near constant duress. Overall a good effort by the Broncos.
Week Nine: A good week for the Broncos. Wednesday night the Broncos secured a date in the league championship match with a 53 - 9 win over Antelope HS. BV only lost one match on the night (we also gave up one forfeit). With that win Bella Vista will face Ponderosa next Tuesday night for the championship of the Capital Valley Conference. The Broncos went to a tournament on Saturday at Rodriquez High School. There were 26 teams in attendance and Bella Vista placed 3rd. With no finalists it was clearly a team effort; we had 10 medalists. Leading the way were 3rd place finishers Colton Labanowski, Dalton Lee and Nick Cable. Colton dominated his 3rd place match while Dalton won a 1 - 0 battle and Nick also won a close one 5 - 3. Placing 4th were Dakota Gutierrez and Matt Yang. Other medalists were Eli Morgan, Vince Olivera, Zach Johnson, Andy Olivera, and Sterling Strack. Probably the match of the day was Vince Olivera's win to put him in the medals. Losing by 6 points in the 3rd round, Vince took his opponent down to his back and pinned him - a great mental toughness win. That concludes the regular season, from this point on every competition is for some sort of championship. The Broncos wrestle this coming week for the league championship on Tuesday and a section championship on Saturday. The best time of year! Let's Go Broncos!!!
Week Ten: Team Championship Week! On Tuesday night undefeated in league Bella Vista took on undefeated in league Ponderosa for the CVC League Championship. It is the third year in a row we've faced Ponderosa for the championship. On Saturday the Broncos competed at the Section Duals in Stockton. All the top teams in the section battling it out for a dual team section title. On Tuesday Bella Vista fell just short, losing 32 - 23. We had an awesome turnout of fans from both schools, live DJ music, fog machine for the wrestlers to come out to, and for the first time in a couple decades the BV cheerleaders came to cheer the team on. The Broncos won 7 of the 14 varsity matches, but we couldn't get the bonus points that Ponderosa did in the matches we won and that was the difference. The match was not decided until the final and 14th match, so it was an exciting evening. Freshmen Vince Olivera and Dakota Gutierrez both came through with pins, big performances from two future stars! Eli Morgan, Dalton Lee and Zach Orr were all losing their matches and scored late in the 3rd period to win. Matt Yang fought off his back for over a minute to survive the round, then came back to win on a takedown in overtime! On Saturday Bella Vista wrestled in the Section Duals; the last team event before that playoff run to state. Division II consisted of 4 different leagues, each team sending their top 2 teams. Since Bella Vista placed second, we had to face league champions Beyer HS in round one. The Broncos came away with a 58 - 13 victory winning 11 of the 14 matches. Side note: this qualified BV for the semi-finals (or top 4); this is the 14 year in a row that the Broncos have been in the top 4 of the Section Duals or better! A nice run of consistency within the program. We've been champs 3 times and finalists 6 times in the 14 year run. Unfortunately, that is where it ended. Bella Vista lost to Pitman HS (Turlock area) 20 - 43. Pitman would win the section championship later in the day. As weird as it is to say, my favorite match of the day was a loss. Andy Olivera had to wrestle one of the top kids in Northern California, a match the other team fully expects to win and score 6 team points. While Andy was outskilled, he showed absolutely tremendous heart fighting off his back time and time again. This is the other side of winning, teammates that NEVER give up, realizing that the TEAM is in need of their best effort, and Andy gave his best effort for his teammates and saved Bella Vista valuable team points in the match. To often we talk about the wrestlers who won, but saving team points on the other side is just as valuable. The Girls team had a fantastic weekend. They competed in the North Divisional Tournament, a qualifier for the Masters Tournament (the step before State). We brought 6 girls - 5 medaled, so 5 qualified for Masters! 72 high schools sent teams, the Lady Broncos placed 4th. Leading the way was defending state champion Alex Hedrick who placed first. Yelena Makyod (in only her 2nd year ever of wrestling) placed 2nd, losing to a defending state champion in the finals. Emily Alderman continued her amazing freshman campaign with a 3rd place finish. Rounding out the Masters qualifiers were Nicole Strand placing 6th and Alayna Nash placing 7th. All 6 girls truly wrestled their very best, even in matches they lost to more experienced girls, they were right there toe to toe - a great team effort. Ok, all the "team" stuff is done, everything from now on is an individual chance to make a run at the California State Championships. Talk to ya next week!
Week Eleven: The Capital Valley Conference league tournament was on Thursday. This is "step one" to the California State Championships. The Broncos are a very solid team across the board, we can put a pretty darn good wrestler at each weight, but we have no superstars and so we performed like that type of team. Everybody qualified on to the section championships, but only one champion - Matt Yang at a 170 lbs. We brought 12 wrestlers to the tournament, 11 qualified outright with one alternate. Matt Yang has been "Mr. Solid" all year long. He wrestles smart and in good position each match, so he wins a lot. In the finals Matt won in pretty typical fashion, 5 - 0. He got the first takedown, rode the opponent out in round two, then escaped and got a takedown in round three (he won each position). Freshman Dakota Gutierrez just keeps improving. Seeded third, he dominated the number two seed 9 - 2 in the semi-finals; this was an opponent who dominated Dakota near the beginning of the year. In the finals Dakota was winning after round one, but made a mistake in round two and got pinned for it. Even with his second place he showed he can wrestle with the best. Eli Morgan and Dalton Lee each made the finals, but feel short. Tyler Maples, Tim Nishimura, Zach Orr, Colton Labanowski, and Nick Cable all placed 3rd. Next week - The Division II Section Tournament, round two of the road to State. Next week is also the Girls Masters Tournament, so we'll see which of the girls can make that big step and qualify for the state tournament.
Week Twelve: One thing about a team, they are what they are. They have strengths and they have weakness', playoffs bring both to light. The Broncos are a good team, they've shown that all year and they showed that again. Bella Vista qualified 12 wrestlers to the DII Section Championships, 9 placed. There were 22 teams at the tournament, Bella Vista placed 3rd. Both of these accomplishments are proof of a good team. The down side is that only 4 wrestlers placed high enough to qualify for the Masters Championships next weekend. We've won two tournaments this year and been one of the top teams in our section on the strength of having a "team" full of kids that can flat out wrestle. I've said before (and implied here) that we don't have any superstars on the team but one is certainly emerging - Matt Yang. Matt won a section championship yesterday with a 4 - 3 decision in the finals. While the score may have been close, Matt was in charge of the match the whole way. Matt was 2 wins from going to state last year, he's ready to fix that this year! Here's an interesting side note, 9 BV wrestlers wrestled in a medal match yesterday (5th/6th, 3rd/4th, 1st/2nd) and all 9 won. Tyler Maples, Tim Nishimura, Dakota Gutierrez, Eli Morgan, and Isaiah Rogers all placed 5th. Vince Olivera, Dalton Lee, and Nick Cable all punched their ticket to the Masters with 3rd place finishes. The Masters Championships - all the absolutely best wrestlers, at any size high school, in the Sac-Joaquin Section (from Los Banos down south to Yuba City up north). This is the final step on the road to state, the top 6 in each weight next weekend will qualify on. Speaking of the Masters Championships, the girls had their Masters this weekend and Bella Vista qualified two to the California State Championships next weekend! Defending California State Champion Alex Hedrick made a statement this week that she's not about to give up her title, Alex pinned her way through the Masters! Alex will go into state as the number one seed in the tournament, ready to defend her crown. No surprise from anyone on our team that Yelena Makyod also qualified for the state championships with her 4th place finish. Yelena is only in her second year wrestling and she qualified for state - amazing! She's no fluke, she is a natural and she has a work ethic, a perfect combination. Nicole Strand also had a very good showing winning multiple matches and coming within 2 wins of state. A junior, Nicole stands a great chance of punching her ticket next year. A big week next week, a chance to cement their names into a very rich history of Bella Vista wrestling. Below: Matt Yang Section Champion and Alex Hedrick Masters Champion.
Week Thirteen: SHE DID IT AGAIN!!!! Alexandra "Alex" Hedrick is now a 2x California State Champion! Alex pinned her first two opponents, then out pointed the next two to win it all. Alex placed 3rd as a freshman, 2nd as a sophomore, and 1st as a junior and senior - the first wrestler in a very tradition rich Bella Vista wrestling history to place at state 4x. For more perspective, remember that Alex this past summer placed 2nd at the Fargo, North Dakota National Freestyle Championships. What a great career! Alex wasn't the only person to make their mark in BV wrestling history...Yelena Makoyed also placed at the Girls State Championships. Yelena, who didn't even make the state meet last year had a wonderful tournament, winning her first two matches to reach the quarter finals, then lost but won the next match to earn a state placing. Yelena ended up winning her final match this year to place 7th - what a year for her. On the boys side Matt Yang punched his ticket to the California State Championships with a 6th place finish at the Masters. Matt has really turned it on the past couple weeks, his level of wrestling is very high. Matt had a very dangerous first opponent, a wrestler who had pinning type moves from every position. Matt had to be in good position at all times or be in grave danger of losing right off the bat. While we had to manuever out of several dangerous spots, Matt ended up winning a solid 7 - 0 match. After winning his second match Matt had to face an opponent he beat by 1 point over a month prior, winner goes to the semi's and a guaranteed state ticket. Matt proved that he was the one who has gotten continually better; while he only won 4 - 2, his opponent really was neutralized. In the semi-finals Matt lost to the eventually champion at the weight, then he lost two more close matches that could've gone either way and ended up placing 6th. Dalton Lee went 2 and 2, freshman Vince Olivera got a taste of victory at the biggest competition of his life, but ultimately was not ready yet to go deep into the bracket. Senior Nick Cable didn't win a match but he competed at a tournament that is literally the best of the best in a big chunk of Northern California; for a kid who wrestled his first match as a sophomore, he did a great job. So the girls team placed two at state, next week we see what Matt can do. Not much is better than a California State tournament!!!
Week Fourteen: The California State Championships - arguably the toughest state tournament in the country! Matt Yang did great. He won his first two matches (7 - 5 & 7 - 0), then lost the next two matches (2 - 11 & 3 - 4) to finish 2 and 2 at the state tournament. He wrestled great, so he won the winnable matches, but just didn't have enough to get in the medal mix. Only a junior and with a great work ethic, Matt will threaten medals next year.
Wrap-up: Thus concludes another great year of Bella Vista Wrestling and the tradition that goes along with it. This team was supposed to be average, but they showed that was not the case. The Broncos outright won two tournaments during the season, lost the league title on the final match of the night, place in the top 4 in the section (a streak of 15 years), got two girls state medalists, one girls state champion (second time), and sent a boy to the state tournament yet again. This team only graduate 5 wrestlers and next year we bring in some massively talented freshman - next year's team will have "big expectations" to live up to, after doing so well this year with a team with modest expectations. This off season will determine next years ceiling. Thank you for following the Bronco Wrestling team, we'll see ya next year.