Hickman is runner-up at the CIF Masters wrestling final

Matt Hickman, headshot.
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Matt Hickman
Matt Hickman

Short of the goal of repeating as champion, Camarillo High’s Matt Hickman left the CIF-Southern Section Masters Wrestling Championships Saturday in Temecula in a positive frame of mind.

Hickman lost to Santa Fe’s Joey Davis, the No. 1-ranked 152-pound wrestler in the state, 3-2 in double overtime in the final. Davis scored the deciding point with an escape in the final 10 seconds. Hickman was the 2010 Masters champion at 145 pounds.

“It was pretty close,” said Hickman, ranked No. 3. “I had a couple of deep shots, but didn’t finish them.”

Hickman was one of six Ventura County athletes to qualify for next week’s CIF State Championships in Bakersfield.

Others extending their seasons were Alex Gonzalez, Oxnard, 145 pounds; Lawrence Thorton, Oxnard, 160; Ryan Bortness, Ventura, 171; William Gockel-Figge, 189, Simi Valley; and Darrin Salazar, 125, Rio Mesa.

In the semifinals, Hickman pinned Cameron Bustos of Edison in 2 minutes, 42 seconds. On Friday night, Hickman beat Bloomington’s Juan Alvarado, ranked No. 6 in the state, 2-1.

“Now I know what to expect and what to practice for next week,” said Hickman, whose record is 37-2.

Gonzalez, the Coastal Division champion, defeated Brenton Visnoski of Edison, 2-0, for third place.

Because of contrasting styles — Gonzalez likes to attack and Visnoski specializes on counter attacks, the matchup was going to be difficult.

“I only got one takedown and that won the match,” said Gonzalez, 39-3.

“Finishing in the top three at Masters usually ensures you a good seed.”

Gonzalez lost to Glendora’s Heyden Scharbrough, 8-4, in the semifinals and beat Bloomington’s Alex Gruz in the consolation semifinals to set up the third-place match.

After winning three straight consolation bracket matches, Thorton was decisioned by Elijah Jackson of Atascadero, 8-3, in the consolation quarterfinals. Thorton lost in the seventh-place match to Zach Von Steeg of Oak Hills.

Bortness placed fourth after defaulting to Santa Ana’s Alfredo Becerra. Bortness was 5-2 in the tournament, including three consolation wins on Saturday.

Cockel-Figge defeated Bradley Beaudette of Newport Harbor, 13-8, in his seventh-place match. The Simi Valley wrestler lost to Ryan Rees of Great Oak in the consolation fifth round, 11-9.

Rallying from a first-round loss on Friday, Salazar went 5-1 in the consolation bracket, including an 8-6 win over Spencer Glasheen of Upland in the final four seconds to earn his ticket to the state meet.

In only his third year of wrestling, Salazar (48-8) went the distance in all seven of his matches.

To get to the ninth-place match, Salazar defeated Agoura’s Scott Haskell, 9-2.

Adrian Herrera of Pacifica and Moorpark’s Richie Vaillancourt were one win away from advancing to the medal round.

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