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Three of the nine local grapplers competing in the 20th annual Napa Valley Girls Classic at Vintage High advanced from Friday’s first rounds to Saturday in the double-elimination event.

One of the largest and oldest girls wrestling tournaments in the nation had a record of about 650 entrants this year, Crushers assistant coach Jim Lanterman said.

Vintage senior Martha Avina was the only local grappler to earn one of the seven medals awarded in each weight class, placing fourth at 189 pounds.

Avina surged into the semifinals by pinning Isabella Nunez of Willits, Clear Lake’s Ashley Vasquez and Kelseyville’s Jasmin Clarke. She was pinned by Del Oro’s Emalee Beavers in the semis, but came back with a pin of Oroville’s Kristina Wilson.

That put Avina in the third-place match against the No. 1 seed, Golden Valley’s Kayvette Osorio. The match wasn’t a minute old before Avina suffered an apparent back injury and was unable to continue.

But her 4-2 finish over the two days was a dramatic improvement over her 1-2 finish at the tournament the year before at 235 pounds.

Vintage girls coach Eric Jones said Avina has benefited from dropping to 189 pounds this season – including at the Sierra Nevada Classic in Reno, where she won a couple of matches.

“She came in at (235s) and we realized it wasn’t where she should be because a lot of the heavies are a lot taller,” he explained. “As soon as she dropped down to 189s, she really started busting some tail out there. She’s been doing really well. Her kinetics, energy and motion, are better at (189s).”

Avina’s semifinal against Beavers went into the third period, just as when she lost to the Del Oro standout, only this time it was scoreless when she was pinned.

“I think that gave her a little bit of drive for today,” Jones said of the Reno loss to Beavers. “Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but she’ll see her again.”

Another Vintage senior, Chloe Jones (121) finished 3-2. Coach Jones’ daughter was pinned in her opener by Lodi’s Ezzery Shelley, but stayed alive by pinning Hiram Johnson’s Alyssa Ybarra, Del Oro’s Jordyn Pauser and Eureka’s Kelli Johnston next. She then bowed out, getting pinned by Mountain House’s Amanda Kim.

“I think this tournament was the best she’s ever wrestled because typically, when kids wrestle, even if they lost the match, as long as they gave 100 percent and worked hard, there’s no shame in that,” Coach Jones said. “Chloe missed the whole season last year with a broken ankle, so I’m definitely proud of her.”

Vintage’s Izza Belle Ygnalaga (137) went 2-2. She pinned Orland’s Delena Highley-Golia in her opener before losing by a technical fall, 17-1, to Terra Nova’s Mikaela Contreras. She stayed alive by pinning Menlo’s Mari Callahan, but was then pinned by Tokay’s Maleena Garvey.

“Izza Belle is really fast-paced and tends to get ahead of herself, so we’re working on slowing her down a little bit and get her to be in control.”

Crushers freshman Madeline Maurer went 0-2, getting pinned by Trinity Diokno of El Camino-South San Francisco and Kaelyn Siason of Everett Alvarez.

“Maddie is a first-year wrestler, pretty dynamic, a little water polo girl, and she just goes and goes and doesn’t give up.”

Also going 0-2 for Vintage was Romina Castro (150), who came in under the weather. She tried to wrestle her first opponent but was pulled off the mat by Coach Jones. She also defaulted against her next opponent.

American Canyon was led by senior Adrienne Dominguez (170), who reached the quarterfinals for the second year in a row by edging Selma’s Ashley Paz, 4-2, and winning a 6-5 decision over Stagg’s Angel Vasquez on Friday. On Saturday, she lost a 4-2 quarterfinal decision to Atwater’s Courtney Juarez, then was pinned in the second period by Newark Memorial’s Ariana Pereira after injuring her shoulder.

Maylin Reyes (106) also made the second day for the Wolves, finishing 3-2. The freshman won by 15-0 technical fall over Dayana Salinas of Menlo, then was pinned by Mia Bonatan of Benicia. She opened consolation action with pins of Tiffany Phan of Milpitas and Lodi’s Maryann Smith, before losing a major decision to Overfelt’s ChriznaMilanes.

Yvonne Cruz (116) finished 2-2 for American Canyon. She pinned Nicole Sanchez of San Leandro in her opener and losing 6-1 to Newark Memorial’s Christina Craig. Cruz came back with a 9-4 consolation win over Ripon’s Avery Thomason, but was then pinned by Kaelyn Siason of Everett Alvarez.

Also for the Wolves, Angelina Turner (143) pinned Upland’s Liliana Escobedo to earn a second-round match against Newark Memorial’s Emmily Patneaud, who pinned her en route to the championship. Turner was then pinned by Linden Aly of Milpitas.

“So far, everyone looks pretty good and they’ve exceeded my expectations,” American Canyon assistant coach Robert Seronio III said.


Sports Reporter

Andy Wilcox is a sportswriter-photographer for the Napa Valley Register. He's had similar roles in Walnut Creek, Grass Valley, Auburn, Tracy and Patterson. He grew up in Ohio. His wife, Laura, is a pastry chef. He also enjoys playing guitar and piano.