Four locals bring home division titles

Adrian Herrera holds his opponent.
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© Chuck Kirman/VC Star
Joey Riano of Murrieta Valley (left) grips Adrian Herrera of Pacifica. Herrera won the 140-pound title. © Chuck Kirman/VC Star
No longer rivals in the same weight class, seniors Andrew Gonzalez and Matt Hickman met at the top of the CIF-SS Coastal Division individual wrestling championships Saturday evening.

Gonzalez, from Oxnard High, won the 145-pound title with a 7-4 decision in the final while Hickman, from Camarillo High, dominated the 152-pound division, including an 11-3 decision in the closing round of the nine-league, two-day tournament at Pacifica High.

Hickman finished off his second successive individual championship, and his first at 152, by posting a 9-3 verdict over Gianpier Yanez of Servite in the title round. Gonzalez closed out his championship with a three-point win over Jorge Gutierrez of Santa Ana.

“It feels great,” said Gonzalez. “I’ve been working hard every since last season to get back here. This makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

Hickman noted that being a heady senior is a decided plus.

“It’s feels so different coming in as a senior than I did as a freshman,” he said. “The added experience definitely gives me confidence.”

A year ago, the two Pacific View League stalwarts staged a dramatic showdown for the 145 title at the CIF-SS individual championships, with Hickman eking out a 6-5 decision in three overtimes. Two weeks earlier, Gonzalez topped Hickman by a single point in three overtimes at the league championships.

Turns out, they paired all during the week to prep for the division finals.

“We worked together all week to get ready,” said Gonzalez. “There’s no doubt it helped me get ready for this meet.”

Hickman and Gonzalez weren’t the only local wrestlers to emerge as best of class in the Coastal Division finals. Four wrestlers from the Pacific View League marked a four-bout sweep of the middle weights.

Lawrence Thornton of Oxnard won the 160-pound championship with a 13-6 decision over Mac Langenwalter of Valencia-Placentia and Adrian Herrera of Pacifica earned a 3-0 decision over Joey Riano of Murrieta Valley.

For Herrera, competing on his home floor before friends and family provided an emotional edge.

“They all made it happen for me,” he said. “My coaches, family and friends — it was a lot easier with all of them being here for me.”

He said hard work overcomes all obstacles.

“When you want something so bad, you’ll work as hard as you can to get it done,” he said.

All four head to next week’s CIF-SS Masters’ meet.

Five other local wrestlers reached the consolation semifinals in their bid to secure a top-five placement and a berth at Masters.

Four extended their postseason lives.

Adrian Magana of Oxnard, seeded second at 130, lost his second match during the tournament’s opening day Friday. But he rallied Saturday to win four bouts and place third in his class.

Included was a 2-1 decision over Joe Micou of Temecula Valley — the same opponent who had beaten him the day before — in the third-place match.

David Medina of Channel Islands earned third place in the heavyweight division with a decision, while teammate Miguel DelaCruz settled for fourth place at heavyweight. Winning his fifth-place match at 125 was Rio Mesa’s Darrin Salazar.

Losing his fifth-place was Rio Mesa’s Ramon Martinez (215).

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