This season marked a return to the top for the Morro Bay High School boys wrestling team.
The Pirates won their first Los Padres League title since 2011, and this weekend they will send 11 wrestlers to the CIF-Southern Section Inland Division Championships.
Just a few years ago, the team had just six wrestlers. Last season, that started to change with the return of coach Mike Aanerud after five years away from the program. An assistant last season, Aanerud became the head coach this year. He was previously the head coach for seven years and helped Morro Bay win five league titles in his final five seasons before taking a break.
This season, there are 40 wrestlers in the program, including six girls, and each one bought into his team philosophy.
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“We have studs on the team, and last season we tended to rely on them. But we had this theme that every point counts this season,” Aanerud said. “Everyone knew they had a part in it.”
Morro Bay went 20-2 (5-0 Los Padres) in team competition this season, and at the Los Padres League Finals last week placed first in three individual weight classes. The Pirates ended the season ranked No. 8 in the final CIF-Southern Section Northern Division poll, but they fell in the first round of the Northern Division team playoffs.
Now it’s up to the individuals to make a run.
Senior Gavin Marshall (15-11) had a big season for Morro Bay and finished first in the 170-pound weight class. Junior Tanner Daugherty (220) and junior Trey Dennis (113) also had top league finishes.
Other qualifiers include Eufemio Cisneros (106), Marshall Beecham (126), Ian Franks (132), Cole Visconte (145), Connor Pugh (152), Jack Plotkin (160), Luke Buentiempo (195) and football standout Myles Minnis (285).
The girls team had successful season as well. Sara Sterner took eighth, Kobe Dennis placed fifth and Leilani Quintana sixth to qualify for The CIF Masters Meet in Riverside last weekend.
The boys team will travel to the championship meet at Great Oaks High School in Temecula on Friday and Saturday with the hopes of earning a spot in the CIF Masters Meet next week.
Paso Robles finishes second at PAC 7 championships
The Paso Robles wrestling team finished second at the PAC 7 league wrestling championships this weekend behind first-place Righetti.
Paso Robles was led by football standout Julian Madrigal, who finished first in the 154-pound weight class, and Dylan Maduena, who was first in the 122-pound class. Madrigal, Maduena and 10 other Bearcats wrestlers finished in the top 4 in their classes to secure a spot in the individual CIF-Southern Section Northern Division Championships on Friday and Saturday at Beaumont High School.
▪ Arroyo Grande finished in third place in the league championships behind first-place finishes from Isaiah Apodaca (108), Trevor Melsheimer (147), Issac Maez (184) and Mason Garcia (197). In total, the Eagles will send 13 qualifiers to Beaumont.
▪ Atascadero senior Paul Garcia (3rd, 287) was the top finisher for a Greyhounds team that finished in fifth. Garcia — along with Kimball Brown (106), Trent Straeck (120 pounds), Matt Macias (132) and Cullen Cooper (138) — advanced to the Northern Division Championships.
▪ SLO High sophomore Ty Evans (160) finished in third place in league finals to qualify.
Nipomo finishes third, sends seven to CIF
Four Nipomo wrestlers — Francisco Alcantar (106), Nicholas Gonzales (120), Klay Funez (138) and Jesse Garza (195) — finished first at the Los Padres League Championships to earn a spot in the Inland Division Championships.
Aldair Alcantar (132), Joey Garza (170) and Justin Burdick (182) will also represent Nipomo.
Atascadero’s Resco qualifies for girls state meet
Atascadero junior Anna Resco qualified for the CIF State Meet with an eighth-place finish at the CIF-Masters last weekend in Eastvale.
Resco, who has a background in juijitsu but is wrestling for the first time this season, will travel to Visalia on Feb. 23-24 to compete against the best female wrestlers the state has to offer.