Soledad Aztec wrestler (left) faces off against a King City Mustang wrestler in the opening match of the varsity girls tournament at Soledad High. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

SALINAS VALLEY — Wrestling mats were rolled out once again after a year off due to Covid-19, as Soledad High hosted more than 13 schools from King City to Hollister in the varsity girls tournament.

As the young ladies warmed up, one could see the joy in their eyes as they ran around the mat and practiced double shots. One Hollister wrestler described the scene as “beautiful,” saying she was grateful to wrestle again after a year off.

Soledad Head Wrestling Coach Pedro Lopez addressed the crowd before the matches began.

“It’s great to have wrestling back,” Lopez said. “Let’s not take these moments for granted.” 

Three schools from South Monterey County participated: Soledad Aztecs, King City Mustangs and Gonzales Spartans.

With many schools participating, King City and Gonzales were able to have girls place. 

Gonzales Spartan wrestler Gracie Leon took first place with a 4-0 record. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

The Lady Spartans had a great tournament, with two girls taking first place, one of whom went undefeated. 

At 113-118 pounds, Gracie Leon (4-0) placed first; 108-113 pounds, Evelyn Flores (2-1) placed first; 101-108 pounds, Vanessa Romero (2-1) placed second; 118-123 pounds, Natalia Villalobos (3-2) placed third; and 119-124 pounds, Cherish Yerba (2-3) placed fourth.

The Lady Mustangs had one girl place third, Jessica Pelayo at 147 pounds. 

“The girls did all right,” said King City Head Wrestling Coach Stephen Stone. “Won a few matches on heart, which I cannot teach, so that was good. However, they lack serious technique, which partly coincides with balance and body position.”

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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