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Windsor girls wrestling meet a big hit

Windsor High School’s second annual Goddess of the Vine girls wrestling tournament went off without a hitch Saturday as Castro Valley High School took first place in a tournament that hosted three times as many teams as the year prior.

“It shows all the coaches in the area that (a girls tournament) can be done. I’m OK with doing and promoting things that you really have to convince people that this is what you need. Girls wrestling is a real thing and I wanted it showcased here and I think this is just the beginning,” tournament director and Windsor girls wrestling coach Rich Dixon said.

In its second year this local tournament has grown from 18 teams and 220 wrestlers, in its inaugural event back in 2019, to now over 50 teams with some 300 participating athletes.

“I’m hoping this just like opened the door. Maybe it opened some eyes and maybe not just at our level but at a higher administration level to put some money into this sport,” Dixon said.

Weigh-ins began at 7 a.m. and wrestling commenced at 9 a.m. with area teams like Analy, Cardinal Newman, Casa Grande, El Molino, Elsie Allen, Montgomery, Petaluma, Rancho Cotate, Santa Rosa, Upper Lake and Willits along with teams from the greater Bay Area all competing.

Of the 12 weight classes Castro Valley only won one but had six wrestlers place in the top five and two more finish in the top eight to give them a final score of 156.

“I wouldn’t say (Castro Valley) is the team to beat but they’re right up there with the top three in sections,” Dixon said.

Second- through fifth-place teams were Tokay (105), Benicia (102.5), Eureka Senior (102) and Live Oak (101).

Petaluma finished the highest among the Redwood Empire teams at seventh place (83). Casa Grande and Windsor were the second highest, tying for 15th.

“I’m really hard on my team and it’s one of those things of always looking for improvement. We stayed in good position. I’d say overall they didn’t supersede my expectations but we did have some good matchups that we got some wins but there are some things we still need to work on,” Dixon said.

Local weight class winners were Hannah Ricioli of El Molino at 152 pounds and Lily McCoy of Casa Grande at 237.

Area wrestlers who fell short in the finals to place second were Arora Vieira of Casa Grande (145) and Hollie Espinoza of Rancho Cotate (191).

Other Redwood Empire competitors to finish in the top eight included Dena Loansarrow of Upper Lake (128) who placed third. Earning fourth place was Kimberley Larson of Petaluma (128), Bella Devato of Montgomery (123), Madeline Riboli of Ukiah (133), Logan Pomi of Petaluma (139), Daniela Botello of Santa Rosa (139), Savannah Burger of Windsor (152) and Jollete Torres of Windsor (162).

Kiana Majors of Santa Rosa (172) finished fifth, and sixth-place finishers were Destinee Groves of Windsor (172) and Ruby Joseph of Cardinal Newman (191).

Local seventh placers were Adrian Borjas of Petaluma (133), Ellery Charlton of Windsor (145), Skyler Finley of Casa Grande (162), and Stephanie Gutierrez of Ukiah (237). Alondra Sanchez of Montgomery (172) placed eighth to round out the area teams.

In awards chosen by coaches Kiely Tabaldo of Menlo-Atherton snagged the fastest pin (5 seconds). Outstanding lightweight was given to Mia Bonoton of Benicia, outstanding middleweight to Ricioli and outstanding upperweight to McCoy.

Goddess of the Vine is the biggest girls tournament for the area after the Napa Valley Class which occurred last weekend and saw some Redwood Empire wrestler’s place at the top, as McCoy placed first (239) and was voted most outstanding wrestler by the coaches. Windsor’s Carmen Perez (106) and Rancho’s Espinoza both took second.

This was the last big meet before the all-important postseason tournaments that begin this month.

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