The future of wrestling in the county is indeed bright.

The Westside Athletic League held its end-of-the-season wrestling championships at Borboa Gymnasium in Firebaugh. When the dust settled after a full day of spirited junior high matches, Creekside-Los Banos came away with the title.

But, boy, was it close.

The Cougars won the tournament with 216 points, 12 points ahead of second-place Madera Ranchos. Bryant-Dos Palos came in third with 160 points, followed by Firebaugh (155), Wilson-Chowchilla (121), and Coalinga (107). Huron, Mendota, and Los Banos followed.

Creekside went through the dual portion of the season with a 9-1 record, their lone loss coming against Firebaugh. At the tournament, coach Eddy Madriz said that the tournament victory was indeed a team effort.

“I believe all 20 of my kids did their part—even the ones that didn’t get to wrestle at the league tournament,” commented Madriz. “They showed up to practice so that the starting guys would have a practice partner as well as showing up to support their teammates at the tournament.”

Creekside had five champions, led by sixth grader Arthur Fernandez. Teammates Josiah Vasquez, Mike Coelho, Justin Hurd and Lalo Pardo also placed first.

Leo Nichols, Bella Flores and Diego Nunez placed second, while Alexis Toledo and Ed Alvarez were third.

And the Cougars needed everyone to come through, according to Madriz. 

Coming in fourth were Moises Salvatier and Miranda Navarette.

We were back-and-forth with Ranchos all day,” the coach said. “They took the lead at one point but Aly Salas got us a big pin in the quarter finals against a Ranchos boy at 128, and Miranda Navarrete also got us a big pin against Ranchos in the semis for 3rd and 4th place, knocking the Ranchos kids out of the tournament.”

Creekside wrestler Miranda Navarette gets her hand raised in victory in a key match at the WAL championships.

David Borboa