Valencia High School wrestling coach Brian Peterson couldn’t have asked for a better start to the postseason for his Vikings.
Saturday at Camarillo High School, four Vikings earned titles at the Coastal Canyon League finals and nine total are moving on to the next stage of the individual postseason.
“We definitely performed,” Peterson said in a phone interview.
Dayle Cailles (113 pounds), Slater Hicks (120), Alex Lopez (175) and Jairdan Chopra (215) all won their brackets. Henry Egami (157) placed second and Noah Conway (106), Edward Avilla (138), Evan Payne (144) and Justin Camps (165) all placed third.
The top three medalists in each weight class were automatic qualifiers for the CIF Southern Section Eastern Division tournament, where the top five medalists will move on to the Masters Meet.
Hicks, a freshman and ranked third in the state in his weight class as of CalGrappler’s Jan. 10 rankings, should go well past this stage, Peterson said. The 120-pounder took down the only returning state medalist in the Coastal Canyon League in the final on Saturday, winning via an 11-6 decision over Royal High senior Mason Carrillo, ranked 11th by CalGrappler. Valencia had the only other state medalist from the league last year in Alex Munoz.
“For us to be beat him and beat him decisively — you know, he did throw us, we came back and pretty much dominated,” Peterson said. “It wasn’t that close of a match at all. It was close and exciting in the beginning, but yeah … I thought Carrillo was probably one of the best matches we wrestled all year long, to be honest, showing that we’re now making gains.”
Hicks was also named the lower weight MVP of the tournament.
Lopez looks to be back to his usual self as the leader of the Vikings after recovering from a nagging injury, according to Peterson. He won both of his matches by fall.
“I think he’s healed up and I think his mind is more poised and ready for the next competition,” Peterson said.
Chopra also pinned both of his opponents, while Cailles won by fall in the semifinals before winning via an 11-0 major decision in the final.
Campos’ qualifying was a “pleasant surprise” for Peterson, as were Conway and Avilla.
“We had a few that, like Justin, I wasn’t sure that he would get third,” Peterson said. “So, it was a pleasant surprise to see that.”
The Vikings are now getting ready for the section Eastern Division tournament, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at John Glenn High School in Norwalk. Qualifiers will compete at the Masters Meet the next weekend at Palm Springs High School.