At this point of the high school wrestling season only the best-of-the-best are still competing across the state of California.
The Southern Section Masters Meet is this weekend at Sonora High School and several Mira Costa and Redondo Union wrestlers are still competing for a spot in the state tournament.
“Our goal was to have five wrestlers wrestle in Masters,” said Mira Costa boys wrestling head coach Jimmy Chaney. “That would be a school record for us. We had four in 2015, four in 2018 and we fell short of our goal with four in 2020. Well, at least we tied our record.”
Those who advanced are Greg Sevaston (152 lbs.), Reid Inskeep (160), Andrew Chaney (138) and Taro Iyadomi (182).
A state berth is on the line for those who do well.
“Greg Sevaston has the best chance to qualify for state,” Chaney said. “He is probably ranked eighth in the section and the top nine go.”
Sevaston won a silver medal and was the only wrestler to compete in the championship match in his weight class at CIF. He lost 15-11 to Isaiah Vasquez of Roosevelt High School.
“My biggest challenge came in the semifinal when I had to beat a wrestler I had lost to last year in the fifth-place match at CIF,” Sevaston said. “The pressure was high and during the match, the score was really close, but I wrestled smart to a 5-4 decision and was able to overcome my demon from the previous year.”
He had to be mentally tough going into CIF this year.
“This CIF I had to overcome a lot to advance to Masters,” Sevaston said. “I not only knew that my bracket was hard, but I had to place in the top-five so I had to outdo my performance from last year in which I placed sixth.”
He added, “I ended up taking second at the tournament which shows just how much I've been through to make it this far. As of now, my goal is to make it to state, and to do so I have to overcome even more talented wrestlers and demons, but I'm working every day to be able to do that.”
Mira Costa’s Reid Inskeep had the next best finish at CIF with a fourth place in his first appearance.
"I had been wrestling for three years and had yet to make it to CIF,” Inskeep said. “It was my senior year and it was do or die (at Bay League finals). I really felt like I had to just keep winning. There was a time when I was down by a point in the third period with less than a minute left, I thought to myself that this could be my last-minute wrestling. Instantly I started working towards getting my two points, and I did."
Chaney took fifth in his weight class.
"I was really ready to prove myself after being one match away from placing last year,” Andrew Chaney said. “I focused heavily for every match and was ready to win, which is why I believe I was able to pin the wrestlers who were seeded higher than myself.”
Mira Costa’s fourth qualifier was Taro Iyadomi at 182 lbs. He finished sixth.
“This year has been by far the toughest for me.,” Iyadomi said. “I came back from an ACL surgery a month after the season began and I had a lot of catching up to do. Throughout the season, I've had to use multiple knee braces and I didn't feel 100 percent until just recently.”
“That feeling was short-lived, however, since at the CIF tournament last Friday and Saturday, exactly a year after I tore my ACL the first time, I sprained my ACL in the semifinals prompting me to forfeit three matches. Although I still placed sixth, which qualified me for Masters, I know I could've done better.”
He has a brief period to recover for this weekend.
“Now, I'm taking it easy to recover my knee as much as possible before Masters so that, hopefully, I'll be able to qualify for state. Injuries have definitely made achieving my goals extremely difficult, but I won't let them stop me from trying.”
Mira Costa’s James Hennessey was seventh at CIF and just missed making it to the Masters Meet.
“I believe Greg and all our wrestlers will do well,” said a confident Chaney. “Master's is a grueling tournament. We are hoping to all four go to state, but it will be really hard.”
Redondo sends one to Masters
Redondo Union’s Wyatt Marsh and Jake Heaslet had good showings at CIF, but Marsh will be Redondo Union’s only Masters Meet qualifier. Marsh, Redondo Union’s co-captain, was sixth at 160 lbs. at CIF and Heaslat was eighth.
“He has battled through some injuries recently and lost a close match,” said Redondo Union boys’ wrestling head coach Andrew Cathey of Marsh. “He is one of the best athletes I have ever coached and has serious potential to be a state qualifier.”
“Jake Heaslet, who was our top sophomore, wrestled tough all season and I was happy to see him medal in his second year of wrestling,” Cathey said. “His family wrestled at Mira Costa and has plenty of wrestling pedigree in his family. He will help lead a very young and committed Seahawk team next year.”
Girl qualifers for both schools
The girls from Mira Costa and Redondo Union will also be represented at the CIF after competing in the Northern Region at Camarillo High School as part of the Regional Qualifying Tournament last week.
“We also have three girls in CIF that we are hoping to get to state,” said Chaney, who also coaches the girls.
Fiona Thomas, Cali Sheldon and Jessica Patton will represent Mira Costa at Beaumont High School in Corona at the CIF Southern Section Girl’s Individual Wrestling Championships Thursday and Friday.
For the Redondo Union girls, it will be Teyah Gutierrez (116), Jenna Vick (121), Brooklyn Long (137), Alicia Arias (160) and Olivia Bulgarini (170) competing.
Gutierrez, sophomore, is a returning CIF qualifier from last year. Bulgarini, co-captain, is a senior and will have her last shot to go to state. Long is just a freshman, but has been one of Redondo Union’s most consistent girls’ wrestlers all year. Vick is the teams’ other co-captain.
The top nine boys and top eight girls will qualify for the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield from Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, Feb. 29.