BAKERSFIELD — Ecactly half the El Dorado Country wrestlers competing at last weekend’s CIF State Wrestling Championships placed — an excellent number considering 100 percent is near impossible to obtain.
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The ones that did — Ponderosa’s Nick Troquato and Jeff Camilli — did so in their senior seasons while the two that didn’t — Bruin Trae Providence and Oak Ridge’s Brandon Claiborne — fortunately have time to return.
Providence, a junior, posted a 2-2 record Friday in his first visit to Rabobank Arena. Claiborne, a freshman and just the second Trojan to qualify his first year for the state tournament, went 0-2 in his brush with California’s biggest wrestling stage.
Competing in the 152-pound weight class, Providence opened with a 7-6 win over Royal High’s Tom Fulgentes. After a scoreless first period, Providence escaped seconds into the second and turned a takedown into a cradle for the 3-point nearfall. Fulgentes battled back but Providence’s takedown with 39 seconds left decided it.
In his next match, Providence managed an escape in a 7-1 setback to Livermore’s Tyler Rardon but won his next as a late takedown cemented a 7-4 decision over Clovis’ Dominic Kincaid. Providence exited after a 4-2 loss to eventual 5th place finisher Alex Graves (San Marcos).
Claiborne drew a No. 1 seed in Jacob Macalolooy of James Logan and trailed 4-1 after the first period before getting pinned 37 seconds into the second. The Trojan was behind 4-0 in his next match and was also pinned 48 seconds into the second period by ML King’s Nolan Kistler.
“Qualifying for state as a freshman was a great experience,” Claiborne said “I’m disappointed I did not win any matches at state but the experience coming here helps me know how hard I will have to work to place next year.”