History was made on Saturday afternoon from Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield in this year’s California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Tournament when Pitman High crowned its first ever state champ in Lilly Freitas (143). It was also a great day for Turlock High, which crowned its own champ in Mike Jeffus (HWY).
Both stamped their performance into the record books and into Turlock wrestling lore.
It all kicked off on Thursday for both future state champs.
As a 14-year-old freshman, Freitas took the tournament by storm after being ranked No. 3 in the state heading into the tournament.
“I felt excited; I went into it knowing whatever happened it was going to be a fun experience,” said Freitas.
She won her first match by default then clinched two straight wins via fall followed by a major decision in the semifinals that ended in a 13-0 final over No. 2 Francesa Lopresti of Albany.
In the finale, Freitas needed just 54 seconds for her to win via fall over junior and No. 1 Gianna Anaya of San Fernando.
She finishes the year with a 33-0 record.
“I felt prepared. My mindset was to go into the match ready to go six minutes maybe more and it ends up easier than expected; that’s okay too. I think my awesome partners and coaches led to my success this season,” said Freitas. “It feels good to achieve something that nobody else has in school history, especially as a freshman. My next goal is to make the freestyle cadet world team this May.”
Ranked No. 2 in the state, Jeffus made it clear that he earned that standing after notching a first round win via fall then capturing an 8-4 decision win in the second round that put him into the quarterfinals.
From there he took down Josiah Hill who was No. 7, then toppled Vista del Lago’s Justin Ramos in the semifinal which put him in the finale against Gilroy’s Nicholas Villarreal (ranked No. 1 in the state).
“My game plan was to stay in good position the entire match and wait for a good opportunity to score some points after he was tired,” said Jeffus. “I would say I was very prepared for state. I had many great mentors, like Luis Gonzalez and Anthony Belew, who taught me what I needed to know and would wrestle with me. My other coaches Mike Contreras and Ricky Gonzalez also pushed me to be my greatest. I feel like they got me in the best shape of my life and it kept me vigorous throughout the match.”
Jeffus managed to topple Villarreal in a close 3-2 decision to earn the school’s first boys state title since 2005 and the program’s third state champ for boys and fourth overall.
“It feels amazing to be a state champion. I kept thinking to myself that I finally accomplished my biggest goal,” said Jeffus. “I just feel incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity and I would like to thank my coaches, family and friends who supported me.”
In total, both Turlock and Pitman had four medals, two apiece.
Hailey Ward (101) of Turlock High captured her third straight state medal, placing third in this year’s CIF State Tournament after she made a run in the consolation bracket following a quarterfinal loss to Mikayla Guevarra of Amador Valley. It was also a personal best for her, better than her previous two performances at state.
Izzy Tubera (113) of Pitman was the other medalist after he clinched a third-place finish following a close semifinal loss to No. 2 Carlos Negrete of Buchanan that could have gone either way.