West High freshman Kalila Shrive continues to build on the lessons she’s learned as a first-year wrestler. Among them are that confidence leads to wins, and wins bring more confidence.
So when she made it to her championship match at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet on Saturday at Stockton Arena, she was ready to go for the ultimate prize.
“I was pretty nervous, to be honest, especially for Masters,” she said after defeating Mountain House High senior Ramona Jimenez on a 4-2 decision to claim the gold medal in the 160-pound class.
Shrive scored on an early takedown and then matched Jimenez through the second period. They opened the third period with Jimenez in the top position, and Shrive scored again on an escape. After Jimenez scored on a takedown, Shrive got away once more.
“The pressure is up there, but once I got the takedown, I wanted to keep her that way. I wanted to be ahead and just try not to let her get me,” Shrive said, adding that the win also made up for her loss to Jimenez a week earlier in the semifinals of the SJS Southern Region Tournament.
“I didn’t do the best I could have done last week,” she said.
She placed third at the regional tournament but believed she could improve on that finish, even at a higher level.
“It was a victory in the rematch so it felt pretty good,” she said. “It makes me feel very proud that I made it this far. I’m trusting my shots more and it’s working, so it made me feel more confident.”
Shrive will compete again this coming weekend at the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships, Thursday through Saturday at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, as will three other local wrestlers, including Jimenez.
Jimenez said she’s still happy with how far she progressed after placing sixth at Masters last year. She’s going to state for a second time, this time as a higher seed. After beating Shrive at regionals with a pin late in the third period, she knew to expect a tougher match when they wrestled for the section championship.
“I knew for sure that she wasn’t going to do the same things she did last week,” Jimenez said. “She’s a great competitor, so I knew she was going to come out with a fight, and so I knew I had to give her a fight as well.”
Now she is aiming to make the state meet her best competition yet.
“This has been a great year so far,” she said. “Going in, knowing how I did here, better than I did last year, I think I can go further at state than last year.”
Tracy High senior Eli Blackwell is heading to the state championships for the third time. He placed second in the boys 132-pound class at the SJS Masters meet, losing on an 11-5 decision to Adrian Heras of Turlock High, who also beat him in the championship match at the SJS Division 2 tournament the week before.
As the two faced off on Saturday, they both made careful, deliberate moves, but they acted fast when the other took a shot.
“He’s quick, I’m quick. It was a good match. He got the upper hand on that one,” Blackwell said.
Heras scored on two takedowns in the first period, a takedown and a near-fall in the second period, and another takedown in the third period. Blackwell scored on escapes and then on a takedown late in the third period, though he couldn’t get Heras on his back.
“I finished on top, but there wasn’t enough time,” Blackwell said.
He’s putting the loss behind him so he can concentrate on how he will do at state.
“I’m going there to win it. It doesn’t matter how I finished here. It just matters how I finish there,” he said. “Everybody is there for a reason and they’re all there to win and I’m there to win, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Also heading to state is Kimball High sophomore Sophia Stagnaro, a first-year wrestler competing in the girls 101-pound class. She placed fifth at the Masters tournament, going 3-2 for the day, including an 11-6 win over Melissa Tejada of Yuba City High in the fifth-place match.
“It was really hard. She put up a great fight. I’m honored to be wrestling people this good,” Stagnaro said.
She added that she looks forward to the challenges ahead.
“It’s an amazing experience, and I still have two more years to be able to have this,” she said. “Wrestling has given me more confidence. I know there’s more that I can learn and I’m willing to learn it.”
Sac-Joaquin Section Masters
Friday and Saturday, Stockton Arena
Top six qualify for California Interscholastic Federation championships
160—Kalila Shrive, West, def. Ramona Jimenez, Mountain House, decision, 4-2.
132—Adrian Heras, Turlock, def. Eli Blackwell, Tracy, decision, 11-5.
Girls fifth place
101—Sophia Stagnaro, Kimball, def. Melissa Tejada, Yuba City, decision, 11-6.
Girls seventh place
189—Abigail Veske, Del Oro, def. Jessica Emerson, Mountain House, decision, 4-0.
160—Ramona Jimenez, Mountain House, def. Infiniti Joseph, Valley, decision, 6-4.
160—Kalila Shrive, West, def. Tiyanna Leal, Durham, decision, 5-2.
132—Eli Blackwell, Tracy, def. Lucas Olives, Vista del Lago, decision, 8-7.
Girls consolation semifinals
101—Gabrielle Mederios, Tokay, def. Sophia Stagnaro, Kimball, major decision, 12-1.
132—Eli Blackwell, Tracy, def. Aidan Krieger, Escalon, technical fall, 19-4.
Girls consolation third round
101—Sophia Stagnaro, Kimball, def. Pamela Decko, Lodi, decision, 11-8.
189—Frances Valadez, Yuba City, def. Jessica Emerson, Mountain House, decision, 7-2.
101—Simone Infante, Sheldon, def. Sophia Stagnaro, Kimball, fall, 0:48.
160—Kalila Shrive, West, def. Bianca Pesole, Elk Grove, decision, 5-2.
160—Ramona Jimenez, Mountain House, def. Myra Walker, Nevada Union, fall, 1:41.
189—Casey Rankin, Casa Roble, def. Jessica Emerson, Mountain House, fall, 2:00.
235—Nyla Thitphaneth, Orland, def. Itzel Montoya, Kimball, fall, 0:19.
Girls consolation second round
101—Sophia Stagnaro, Kimball, def. Leslie Trejo, Atwater, fall, 4:05.
111—Julisa Deltoro, Liberty Ranch, def. Alyssa Leanos, Tracy, fall, 1:45.
189—Jessica Emerson, Mountain House, def. Mia Lopez, Turlock, fall, 4:54.
235—Yisela Vera-Rojas, Atwater, def. Itzel Montoya, Kimball, fall, 3:23.
Boys consolation third round
113—Michael Mallot, Union Mine, def. Anthony Nunes, Tracy, technical fall, 15-0.
Boys consolation second round
160—Clark Parry, Jesuit, def. Mason Salazar, Kimball, decision, 9-4.
113—Anthony Nunes, Tracy, def. Robert Lopez, West, decision, 3-2.
Boys championship second round
113—Evan Tablada, Rocklin, def. Anthony Nunes, Tracy, fall, 1:43.
132—Eli Blackwell, Tracy, def. Joe Lopez, Monterey Trail, technical fall, 17-0.
160—Kendall Larosa, Pitman, def. Mason Salazar, Kimball, major decision, 11-1.
Girls consolation first round
111—Alyssa Leanos, Tracy, def. Yadhira Rodriguez, Manteca, forfeit.
170—Chloe Luker, Golden Valley, def. Serena Sanchez, West, fall, 1:47.
Boys consolation first round
113—Robert Lopez, West, def. Jeremy Lapham, Bear Creek, fall, 3:35.
152—Julian Gonzalez, Center, def. Octavio Torres, Tracy, fall, 2:43.
220—Felix Lara, Will C. Wood, def. Conner Burns, Kimball, forfeit.
Girls championship first round
101—Sophia Stagnaro, Kimball, def. Autumn Irvin, Orland, fall, 0:48.
111—Victoria Wells, Granite Bay, def. Alyssa Leanos, Tracy, major decision, 19-5.
160—Kalila Shrive, West, def. Leah Sim, Casa Roble, decision, 8-5.
160—Ramona Jimenez, Mountain House, def. Angela Gutierrez, Gridley, fall, 1:55.
170—Tara Johnson, Casa Roble, def. Serena Sanchez, West, fall, 1:20.
189—Jessica Emerson, Mountain House, def. Clarissa Phelps, Galt, fall, 2:40.
235—Itzel Montoya, Kimball, def. Amina Rateb, Rodriguez, decision, 8-4.
Boys championship first round
113—Anthony Nunes, Tracy, def. Christian Sanchez, Merced, fall, 1:38.
113—Talon Niimi, Granite Bay, def. Robert Lopez, West, decision, 8-3.
132—Eli Blackwell, Tracy, def. Peyton Raper, Lincoln-L, fall, 2:31.
152—Shane Hoffman, Del Campo, def. Octavio Torres, Tracy, fall, 1:38.
160—Mason Salazar, Kimball, def. Blake Haydn-Myer, Rocklin, sudden victory, 7-5.
220—Matt Kovalskiy, Folsom, def. Conner Burns, Kimball, forfeit.