City College wrestling takes third in state; Three Panthers reach finals

City College wrestling team at the North Gym on Nov 11. The team qualified 10 wrestlers for the state championships and placed third overall. ©2017 Dianne Rose

Nick Pecoraro
Sports Editor


The City College wrestling team sent 12 of its best grapplers to the California Community Colleges Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships Dec. 8–9, concluding the season with a third-place finish and seven individual medalists.

The Panthers saw three individuals reach the finals in their respective divisions at the two-day championship meet at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton. Morgan Sauseda (125 pounds), Abel Garcia (174) and Robby Nickerson (197) each fell just one win shy of being crowned state champions.

For their efforts, all three finalists were named All-Americans at the end of the tournament.

Other medalists for City College included Isaac Bertalotto and Brian Horn, who finished fifth and eighth, respectively, in the 165-pound division. Isaac Sillas placed fifth in 184, while Daniel Warden also finished fifth in the 197 class.

City earned its place in the state finals after a second overall finish in the North Regionals Dec. 2 at Lassen College. The Panthers qualified 10 wrestlers to compete in state plus two alternates.

The City wrestling team was 13-3 overall this season and won its seventh consecutive Big 8 Conference championship after going 4-0 in league. According to head coach Dave Pacheco, the Panthers haven’t lost a Big 8 meet in the last seven years. The Panthers own state championships from 1996, 2013 and 2015.

Garcia led the Panthers with 34 wins and 56 takedowns, and he scored 187 team points, the third most in a single season in the City College record books. Twenty-one of Jason Stokkeland’s 27 wins came via pinfall — the fourth highest single-season fall total in program history, according to the team’s archives.

City has 25 freshmen on this year’s roster, including Garcia, Bertalotto, Horn, Sillas and Warden. Trevor Mattox and Dylan Crawford are also state tournament competitors whom City hopes to return next season.

City had 10 wrestlers named to the All-Conference first team: Sauseda, Garcia, Horn, Bertalotto and Brandon Gonzales. Mattox, Stokkeland, Hunter LaRue and Beau Medicine Crow rounded out the second team, Pacheco was named the Big 8 Coach of the Year, and Sauseda was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.  

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