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DAVID DENNIS, CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Russell Rohlfing from Sonora wrestling in the 126 weight class in the third round during the CIF State Wrestling, at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, Ca.

Sonora's Rohlfing advances to state semifinals

STAFF WRITER

BAKERSFIELD – Russell Rohlfing’s day at the CIF State Tournament had an awkward beginning.

The Sonora senior didn’t have to wrestle his first match in the 126-pound division because his opponent defaulted, so he had a lot of free time until his second match.

It was worth the wait as Rohlfing won three consecutive matches to book himself a spot in today’s semifinals at Rabobank Arena. By advancing to the semifinals, Rohlfing has guaranteed himself a spot in the top eight at his weight class.

“It was a hard day,” he said. “It is always a disappointment to get ready (to wrestle) and then not be able to wrestle, but you have to stay in a good state of mind the whole time. I was prepared.”

His day wasn’t void of any nervous moments.

In his second match of the tournament, Rohlfing found himself trailing Anthony Wesley of Jesuit of Carmichael, 5-0. However, he was able to get things turned around and eventually pinned Wesley at 5:22 to stay in the championship bracket.

“I was yelling at myself, how could I get down by so much,” he said. “I kept going and fighting and didn’t give up.”

Raiders coach David Carrizosa said the trust between the two led him to believe that Rohlfing would figure things out.

“I’ve learned to trust him this year,” he said. “If he tells me he’s OK, then I have to believe him. The difference between this year and last year is that he’s mentally strong.

“He’s wrestling at the top of his game. It is one of those things where we came into this tournament prepared. Maybe it was a blessing that he lost at Masters to give us another week to refocus on some holes and step up our game and to get him ready for this week.”

This is Rohlfing’s second consecutive trip to the state tournament. Last year he finished eighth at 120 pounds. He has his sights set on a much larger prize this year.

Servite’s Liam Cronin (106) and Fountain Valley’s Andrew Morgan are also in the semifinals. Cronin needed an overtime victory over Gregory Viloria of West High of Tracy.

Cronin will face Randon Miranda of Quartz Hill in the semifinals. Miranda defeated Cronin, 12-4, at the CIF Masters Meet last weekend.

The following wrestlers are in the consolation bracket and must win their first match today to stay in the tournament: Laguna Hills’ Dexter Viengvilay (106); Brea Olinda’s Ryan Gutierrez (113); Servite’s Noah Blakley (126); Mater Dei’s Trevor Perez (138); San Clemente’s Mike Marshall (170); Mater Dei’s Jed Smith (170); Servite’s Michael Vasquez (182); Western’s Leangelo White (182); Loara’s Steven Ahumada (220) and heavyweights VJ Leuta of Servite and Abe Ochoa of Yorba Linda.

Blakley lost his first match, but then went 4-0 in the consolation bracket.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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