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Nick Torquato — “I’m looking to keep my momentum rolling from the previous couple of weeks. I’d like to win a state title and I’m not overlooking anyone. I like my draw, I’m pleased with it.”
Jeff Camilli — “I’m excited. It’s a good group we’re bringing. Nick, Trae and I have all worked hard at our goals and now our goal is to place or win it. I feel good about the bracket, obviously everyone is good so I’ll take it one match at a time and go hard for six minutes at a time.”
Trae Providence — “I’m looking forward to it. If I wrestle right I have a chance to do something. If I wrestle the match in front of me smart and hard I have a chance.”
Brandon Claiborne — “Being a freshman I don’t have high expectations … just go with that and try to make it to the second day.”
BAKERSFIELD — While the CIF State Wrestling Championships that open today at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena is an opportunity for glory, the two-day grueling affair also has disappointments every step of the way.
Oak Ridge High 170-pounder Keaton Subjeck, favored to earn a school-record-tying third medal this weekend, was forced to bow out due to a broken arm he sustained in his semifinals match last weekend at the Masters Tournament at the Stockton Arena.
Tough as he his, Subject, ranked third in the state, wrestled the last two periods injured as well as his finals match against Oakmont’s Peter Santos, ranked second.
While Ponderosa’s Nick Troquato (182 pounds), Jeff Camilli (HWT) and Trae Providence (152), along with Trojan freshman Brandon Claiborne (132) take to the mat today in Bakersfield, Subjeck, bound for Stanford on a wrestling scholarship, will be sidelined as will Oak Ridge state qualifier Zach Claiborne (182), also due to injury — cutting El Dorado county’s presence at Rabobank by a third.
Troquato comes in as the Sac-Joaquin section’s No. 1 seed after his sweep at the Masters Tournament. His biggest challenge will be Bakersfield’s Kyle Pope, second in the state last year, in the quarterfinals later today should both win their first two matches.
Pope had been Troquato’s focus this week. His best chance to defeat Pope will be to force the action to wear the Driller down and hopefully win it in the third period.
Camilli, according to Ponderosa coach Tyson Escobar, “got the best draw out of our Masters for Heavyweights.” Camilli, the section’s 3rd seed, has the ability to beat anyone if he wrestles smart and gets his offense going. He’s athletic, tough to score on, gets off the bottom well and has close matches every time. To medal, Camilli must keep up his pace offensively.
A drop from 160s to 152s has made all the difference for Providence whose lost just once in the last three weeks. Providence’s defense on his feet is very good, he doesn’t give up a lot of points, he rides well on top and can turn most wrestlers.
Escobar predicts Providence, seeded 3rd, winning his first match and having a battle with Livermore’s Tyler Rardon in his second bout.
“If Trae wrestles his match and takes advantage of his opponent’s mistakes he could possibly be standing on the podium this weekend,” Escobar said.
Brandon Claiborne, seeded 7th, is only the second-ever Oak Ridge wrestler other than Subjeck to qualify for the state meet as a freshman. Brandon opens up against North Coast section’s top seed, James Logan’s Jacob Macalolooy.
“I feel like he can do something. He’s a strong kid who could catch some people,” Trojan coach Casey Rhyan said. “Anywhere in his bracket will be tough but we have a good game plan against him (Macalolooy).”
Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. The action can be tracked at trackwrestling.com.