From the Salinas Union High School District
With one week left in the regular season, all four Salinas Union High School District girls wrestling teams rank in or near the top 20 in the Central Coast Section.
Leading the charge is Alisal High School, which is currently ranked 2nd in CCS, according to the website www.ccsrank.com. North Salinas is ranked 10th while Alvarez is ranked 8th. Salinas High School has also hovered near the top 20 and currently has four wrestlers ranked in the top 14 or higher in CCS weight classes.
Alisal head coach Ernie Fuentes, a 1991 Alisal grad who qualified for state his senior year, said Salinas’s competition is legit.
“In the Salinas Valley, we have a strong girls representation. (At all the schools) we do have strong girls in every class. We’re hanging in there with the San Jose schools. We’re really competitive,” Fuentes said. “I’m just grateful that I’m with Alisal and they gave me the privilege to coach the girls.”
Tournament wise, the Trojans have placed 1st at the Kusumoto Klassic at Prospect HS in Saratoga , 2nd at Lincoln Tournament, the Lynbrook Ladies Challenge Girls Tournament and the Ladies Coast Classic. They took 4th at the Overfelt tournament.
This past weekend, the squad placed 3rd at the Baler Bash wrestling tournament in Hollister. The tournament featured 58 teams and 250 competitors and is one of the state’s largest female tournaments.
“I’m very happy. It was a tough tournament and the girls did well. The girls are ready, they just need to stay focused. Get their minds and bodies ready,” said Coach Fuentes. “CCS is going to be tough, but I believe in my girls.”
At Alisal, six grapplers are currently ranked in the top five in CCS. Overall, nine girls are currently ranked in the top-15 in their weight class.
Senior Marisol Licea is number two in the 170-pound weight division. Licea placed third in CCS her sophomore year and second last year.
“She’s my little workhorse. Marisol will hopefully be my first three-time CCS placer and state qualifier. That will be a first for the school,” said Fuentes.
Licea earned her reputation as a fierce competitor wrestling boys in her weight class at El Sausal Middle School. Injuries kept her out her freshman year. She joined the team in 10th grade and has taken off since.
The other ranked members include Luz Castillo (4th place, 101 lbs), Jamelix Manriquez (12th place, 106 lbs), Galilea Tinoco (15th place, 116 lbs), Citlali Alvarez (3rd place, 121 lbs), Mercedes Rosales (4th, 137 lbs), Sophia Gonzales (14th, 150 lbs), Anna Ocampo (5th, 160) and Maria Perez (4th, 235 lbs).
CCS seeding takes place Sunday, Feb. 10. The tournament opens Friday, Feb. 15 at a site TBA.