10 Local Wrestlers Ready to Hit Mats at State Meet

Posted March 2, 2013

Having your hand raised after winning a section championship would be validation for a lot of high school wrestlers. For Alisal High’s Jovan Villalobos and Palma High’s Hildelv Manzur they have yet to feel that satisfaction. Their goals rest even higher. “I’ve accomplished most of my goals,” said Manzur, the Central Coast Section heavyweight champion. “It felt good to get the CCS title but it didn’t fulfill me. I feel like I need to get a state title — that would probably make me feel a lot better.” Villalobos, the CCS 170-pound champion, and Manzur are two of the 10 Monterey County wrestlers opening up competition today in the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

Manzur raised his level of wrestling in his senior year by competing in national tournaments in the summer. Palma Coach Simon Jimenez said wrestling in venues such as Fargo, N.D., in front of several thousand fans, prepares you for everything. Manzur was rated the No. 1 heavyweight in the CCS for the entire season and takes an undefeated 30-0 record into state. “My real motivation was last year when I lost at section,” Manzur said. “That really helped me work harder and get better over the summer. It helped have this season I’m having now.” Manzur lost to Seaside’s Jonathan Tuiolosega in the CCS finals last year. Tuiolosega went on to place eighth in state. The Chieftain senior said he’s knocked off a lot of goals this year, but everything has been building toward this weekend. “CCS is nice to get, but I’ve raised the bar for my goals and I want to be a state champion,” he said. “It was a stepping stone for state.”

Manzur, who is the seventh CCS champion from Palma, is one of four Chieftains to qualify for state — the most the school has sent in Jimenez’s 13 season. Also earning their way to Bakersfield is senior Tyler Escoto (220), senior Christian Palacios (145) and Alex Garcia (138).

Escoto finished runner-up at CCS this year after falling one win short of qualifying for state last year. He said being a part of this team definitely gave him more strength. “That loss made me work even harder,” Escoto said. “I’m blessed to have some great partners. They’re the reason I’m here. Palacios is the fourth member of his family to qualify for state. His father made it while wrestling at Gonzales High and his two brothers earned berths while wrestling at North Monterey County. His family was all in attendance when he won that third-place match at CCS last weekend in San Jose. “It was great to do that in front of my family,” Palacios said.

Article by Ryan Wallace. Photos courtesy of Travis Geske.

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