Analy and El Molino wrestling teams combined to send eight athletes to the North Coast Section boys and girls championship tournaments on Feb. 21 and 22, the final qualifier for the CIF State Championships.
Hosted by James Logan High School in Union City, the NCS boys competition was a battle for a top three finish in each weight class, good for advancement to the prestigious state meet to be held at Mechanic’s Bank Arena in Bakersfield on Feb. 27-29.
Both the Lions and Tigers sent two wrestlers to NCS, including 147-pound Zavier Grech and 154-pound NBL champion Erik Dimond for the Lions and 126-pound Zach Fogg and 184-pound Max Voelkel for the Tigers.
Seeded seventh, Dimond went 2-1 on Friday to advance to the second day of competition. He won his first three matches on Saturday, before being eliminated to earn a sixth place medal. Dimond is the first male NCS medalist for the Lions since Tony Gemini in 2016.
Making his first trip to NCS, Grech went 0-2 to gain valuable experience for next season.
Analy’s Max Voelkel turned in a good showing in four matches on Friday, recording a 2-2 record in a return trip to NCS.
Fogg also made his presence felt, going 1-2 in three matches.
Ricioli climbs podium
The NCS Girls Wrestling Championships was held at Albany High School on Feb. 21 and 22 with the objective for the ladies being a top four finish, good for advancement to the state meet next weekend in Bakersfield.
El Molino junior Hannah Ricioli continued to re-write the Lions’ history books, navigating her way through the 152-pound weight class unscathed, including a win by fall in the finals to capture her first NCS title and earn a second trip to state. Ricioli is just the fourth wrestler in El Molino history to win an individual NCS championship.
“Hannah has a 32-6 record heading into her second trip to the CIF State Championship where she looks to improve on her sixth place finish from last year,” Lions coach Ron Wright said. “The competition will be tough, but she is wrestling incredibly well right now and her confidence is sky high.”
Also competing for the Lions at NCS was 128-pound freshman Hayden Fields, who advanced to day two before being eliminated with a 2-2 record. Fields finished up a great freshman campaign that included an NBL title and an overall record of 19-15.
Lily Maruffo was El Molino’s third NCS qualifier, going 0-2 in the 170-pound weight class to end an outstanding sophomore season.
Analy’s lone female NCS qualifier was sophomore Sakiko Pizzorno, one week removed from winning the NBL title in the 139-pound weight class. The talented first-year wrestler went 2-1 on Friday to advance to the second day of competition, where she proceeded to win three more matches to earn a fifth place medal.
“Sakiko was one place away from making the state meet in Bakersfield,” Analy coach Francisco Manriquez noted. “We’re all happy for her and the rest of our team.”