The two-day California Interscholastic Foundation’s wrestling tournament at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield ended Saturday with two local wrestlers making the top ten.
A total of four wrestlers from Turlock, Pitman and Delhi High competed in the competitive high school wrestling tournament and in the end Adam Velasquez (120) of Pitman took fifth with Delhi's Jesse Flores (285) topping out at seventh place.
“Feels good, I mean only .2 percent of California wrestlers placed,” said Velasquez. “Last year going into state I wasn't as confident since I was hurt for most of the year, but going into this year I trained so much and worked hard to prepare and I felt I had enough competition heading into state and I did well.”
“It was cool and I was proud because not many people can say they placed seventh. I am happy,” said Flores. “I am honestly really happy because I placed seventh.”
Flores had one of the longest stretches to even achieve a placing in the top eight; it took Flores seven matches in less than two days to get there, going 5-2.
Flores's first loss was to the eventual state champion in Seth Nevills of Clovis in the second round of the 285-pound bracket.
After the loss, Flores was 1-1 and had to win out in the consolation bracket to medal, winning three matches in a row before meeting Pablo Miller of Del Oro, who topped out in fifth for the tournament.
“Having the coaches and family being there really helped,” said Flores. “They supported me and pushed me, it helped me out a lot. I will keep staying in the weight room, try to get faster and stronger and with more intensity.”
Flores fell to Miller in the quarterfinal round of the consolation bracket only to defeat eighth place Nicolas Iversen for his seventh place result.
“With Jesse [Flores] being our first wrestler to go to state is a big deal for him and our wrestling program,” said Delhi head coach Ray Cedras. “Jesse placing seventh is an even bigger deal for him. It shows him his hard work does get him somewhere when it comes to wrestling.”
Velasquez, who placed sixth last season at the state tournament in the same weight class (120), had another successful outing, winning two straight before the third place finisher in Robert Garcia from Selma defeated Velasquez, sending him to the consolation bracket.
“This gives me a good understanding of how hard I need to work next year in order to win a state championship,” said Velasquez. “I need to be able to work hard every single day and not miss any single day and manage my weight and stay strong.”
Velasquez went on to win two straight matches before meeting fourth place state placer in Dinuba's Isaiah Perez, who defeated Velasquez 3-1. Velasquez then topped sixth place Jared Luty from American for his fifth place finish.
“Adam had a good tournament and he became the fourth state placer in school history,” said Pitman head coach Adam Vasconcellos. “He wrestled hard and won some close matches. His ultimate goal is to be a state champion. Now, he has one year left to work and achieve his goal.”
Velasquez will continue to train for his senior season and hopes to move up in weight class for his final year.
“I definitely plan on moving up but I am not sure yet,” Velasquez added. “We will just wait and see.”
Isaiah Perez (138) of Pitman lost in the first round to fourth state placer, Julian Flores, then went on to win two in a row before losing to sixth state ranked Alec Baker by a 3-2 decision to go 2-2 and Turlock's Andy Orozco lost his first two matches for an early outing.