Woodcreek's Gomez, six other locals guaranteed berths in State Meet

By: John Parker/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Woodcreek High School’s Jimmy Gomez no doubt will rest a bit easier Thursday night in his Stockton hotel room.

106-pound sophomore went 3-0 on Thursday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters wrestling meet, effectively punching his ticket to the CIF State Meet with a 15-3 victory over Tylor Gonsalves of Calaveras in the quarterfinals.

“Pretty stoked,” Gomez said on the Stockton Arena concourse following the match. “I’ve worked hard to get to this point; there’s another day of wrestling left, but this is a good feeling.”

Gomez and six fellow area quarterfinal winners can finish no lower than sixth in the meet that sends the top seven placers to state. Granite Bay’s Ian Mook (138) and Adam Wagner (152), Del Oro’s Austin Branum (152) and Dylan Kainrath (170) and Oakmont’s Jake Elliott (152) and Peter Santos (170) won their quarterfinal matches to qualify for state.

Gomez’s victory was especially sweet, as he went 2-2 at the Masters last year, losing in the consolation quarterfinals despite high hopes.

“That was disappointing,” Gomez said. “Being a freshman got to me a little bit.”
Gomez will face Elk Grove’s Jacob Lopez, ranked 34th in the state at 106, in the semifinals Friday morning.

All eyes on them – The highly anticipated third match between the state’s Nos. 2- and 3-ranked 152-pounders is still a possibility, as Elliott and Branum breezed through their matches Thursday. The seniors have split two matches this season. Both were Masters champions last year -- Branum at 140 and Elliott, who also won the state title, at 145.

Hoping to play spoiler will be Wagner, No. 9 in the state, who will wrestle Branum in the semifinals Friday morning. Branum defeated Wagner 5-4 in the Sierra Foothill League finals three weeks ago.

“I haven’t shown him everything I have,” Wagner said. “If it takes everything to beat him (Friday), even though I’ve already qualified, I’ll do it.”

Work to do – Seven more locals are in the hunt and can make at least the seventh-place match with wins in fourth-round consolation matches Friday morning: Del Oro’s Zach Ruybal (113), Oakmont’s Kaleio Romero (138), Woodcreek’s Austin Mason (138), Rocklin’s Shane Keefe (145) and Sam Woods (285), Granite Bay’s Matt Berry (145) and Roseville’s Ryan Fratto (220).

Berry and Romero have gone on incredible rolls since losing their initial bouts, each winning three consecutive consolation-bracket matches.