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March 11, 2009 > Logan wrestlers leave the CIF empty-handed

Logan wrestlers leave the CIF empty-handed

By Gary van den Heuvel

It was a disappointing showing for the wrestlers representing the Mission Valley Athletic League (MVAL) in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) state championships last weekend at Bakersfield's Rabobank Arena.

James Logan High School particularly felt the sting of defeat as they were the best-represented MVAL school, sending five grapplers, including two NCS tournament champions, to the CIF.

One of those NCS champions, Lawrence Blanco (112 pounds) came in on a roll: having won the MVAL and then the NCS as its top seed. Blanco was looking to finish his high school career as a state champion. He started off auspiciously, with two wins in matches in which he pinned each opponent in less than three minutes, but his momentum came to an end against Marc Collier of East Bakersfield High School. Blanco finished his high school career with an overtime loss in his consolation match (the tournament is a double-elimination format) to Corning's Kodie Brown.

Lawrence's brother and teammate Kristian Blanco (the NCS runner-up at 103 pounds) lost his opener but rebounded to pin El Camino Real's Adam Ali in less than five minutes. Unfortunately he was eliminated with a 5-2 loss to Sammy Cano from Santa Ana.

Another MVAL champ from Logan was Kalifitoni Pole, who dropped over 20 pounds (he'd been wrestling in the 285-pound category but lost the weight because Logan had another wrestler in that class, MVAL champ Markjoseph Taia) to compete in the 215-pound category, was a runner-up at NCS and won his first two CIF matches. But his run ended there, as he lost his last two bouts.

Other MVAL wrestlers included Logan's Danny Mai (an NCS champ in the 125-pound weight class) and his teammate Eric Perez (125 pounds), who were both winless in their two matches. Mission San Jose's Jose Ruvalcaba (145 pounds) and Newark Memorial's Greig O'Connor (285 pounds) also emerged from the tournament without a victory.

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