Guerrero, Clay headed to Bakersfield
Rancho Cotate wrestlers both place second at NCS, eye medals at CIF State Wrestling Championships
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Rancho Cotate High School’s wrestling team will send two of its members to the two-day California Interscholastic Federation State Championships, which begin today, March 1 in Bakersfield.

Brian Guerrero and Joey Clay each advanced to the championship match Saturday at the North Coast Section Wrestling Championships in Newark in their respective weight divisions and both placed second.

Both entered the NCS tournament as No. 3 seeds.

Guerrero, a junior, began his march to the final by pinning Arcata’s Jake Navarre at 1:11. He followed with 7-4 and 9-2 decisions over Foothill’s Dillon Haverland and San Leandro’s Darren Nguyen, respectively.

He assured himself of a state meet berth with a 2-1 victory over No. 2 seed David Conte of Concord’s De La Salle. In the final, top-seeded Joey Vigil of Heritage proved a bit too much for Guerrero en route to a 4-0 victory.

At the state tournament, Guerrero’s quest for a medal begins with a first-round match against Marco Velasquez of Bakersfield’s Foothill High.

Velasquez qualified as the sixth-place finisher from the rugged Central Section. Because of its success in past state tournaments, the Central Section’s top eight placers are awarded berths at the state meet.

Should the Oakland Section not have a wrestler eligible to wrestle in the state tournament, a Central Section wrestler will fill that spot.

Clay rolled into the semifinal by pinning McKinleyville’s Tanner King at 1:54, with a 16-0 technical fall over Campolindo’s Eric Oeth and a 7-2 win over Harrison Walsh of De La Salle.

Clay overwhelmed Travis Coleman of Upper Lake, the No. 2 seed, 13-3 in the semifinal before losing a tight match to top-seeded Tyler Pardon of Livermore.

In his first-round match, Clay will square off with Blayne Briceno of Encino’s Crespi High. Briceno is the No. 2 qualifier from the always-tough Southern Section, which places its top nine finishers in the state tournament. Briceno also is ranked No. 5 in the state, according to the California Wrestler newsletter.

Tyler Brantley, Rancho Cotate’s 160-pounder, went 1-2 at the NCS meet while Isaiah Barragan, the Cougars’ 170-pound entry, was 2-2.

De La Salle won the team title for the fifth consecutive year with 253 points, followed by James Logan with 236.5. Windsor, champion of the North Bay League, was third with 201.5 points. Rancho Cotate’s four-man contingent placed 18th with 68.5 points.

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