Valencia High wrestling aimed to have nine wrestlers named champions of their weight class at the Tri-Valley League individual finals. They met that goal — and added two second-place finishers — at Santa Paula High on Wednesday night. “I’m feeling really good. It’s a huge accomplishment for the team to do so well,” said coach Brian Peterson. “We almost collected every weight class that we wrestled in.”
The champions were: Damien Donigian (106), Israel Galvan (113), Chance Rich (120), Cory Faulconer (126), Branden Smelser (132), Anthony Galvez (138), Derrick Top (152), Nick Lopez (160) and Ben Gould (170). Rich was also named MVP of the lower seven weight classes, while Gould was named the MVP for the upper classes. Smelser won his first championship as the only freshman representing the
Vikings. Cade Flebbe (182) and Tyler Yost (195) each earned a second-place finish. Heavyweight Akira Bersamira injured his knee in his match but will accompany the team to the CIF-Southern Section Team Championships in February. The Vikings will compete in the Thunderclap tournament at Thousand Oaks High on Saturday before moving on to the CIF-SS Team Dual Championships on Feb. 4 and the CIF-SS Individual Championships on Feb. 17 and 18. The team championship is a 16-team single-elimination tournament. Last season, Valencia was eliminated in the first round. Individuals is a double-elimination event with a 32-man bracket. The top five wrestlers in each weight class move on to the CIF-SS Masters Championships. “We need to keep our intensity up … and stay at our best. Stay healthy, don’t get injured and keep improving,” Peterson said.
“I think we have a shot at doing something. As a coach I just want to get past that first round (of team). If we can do that and instill some confidence, that’ll be really good for next year.”