With the top three finishers in 12 weight classes at the Central Coast Section girls’ wrestling championships advancing to the state tournament, there were 36 spots up for grabs.
The Peninsula Athletic League grabbed nearly a third of them.
The PAL will send eight female wrestlers to the state tournament after a stellar performance at Independence High School last Saturday. Included in those qualifiers are four CCS champions: Hiba Salem (101 pounds, South City), Marcela Cordova (143, Half Moon Bay), Jackie Achermann (150, South City) and Alison Kretschmer (160, Terra Nova).
“The PAL (girls are) definitely on the stronger side of CCS,” said South City coach Steve Matteucci. “[The PAL] … had a pretty good showing.”
Overall, Terra Nova was the highest finishing PAL team, taking third place overall. South City finished ninth as a team.
Salem, Achermann and Kretschmer were especially spectacular, as that trio combined to go 10-0 — all without losing a point.
“I make a big deal about that (with my wrestlers),” Matteucci said. “That almost meant more to them than the medals around their necks.”
Achermann and Kretschmer took it even a step further, winning all their matches by pin.
Salem won her first two matches by pin before shutting out her opponents in the semifinals and finals by a combined score of 17-0.
“We were giving her a hard time that she didn’t pin two of the girls, but [those opponents] didn’t do anything,” Matteucci said. “In the finals, the only thing the girl was trying to do was not get pinned. She just balled up and didn’t do anything.”
Achermann and Kretschmer did not have such problems. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find two more dominant performances. In her three matches, Achermann spent a total time of two minutes and 57 seconds actually wrestling as none of those matches got out of the first round. She pinned her first opponent in 18 seconds, her second opponent in 1:31 of the first round and stuck her opponent in the finals in a time of 1:08.
“[Achermann] is definitely on a roll,” Matteucci said. “She’s won her last six or seven matches by pin.”
Kretschmer was equally impressive, needing just three minutes and 45 seconds to win her three matches. Her longest match was in the quarterfinals, where she needed 33 seconds into the second round to pin her opponent. She followed that with an 18-second pin in the semifinals and needed just 54 seconds to capture the CCS title.
Cordova also cruised through her first two matches, earning a third-round pin in the quarterfinals and a second-round stick in the semifinals. In the championship match, she was pushed, but pulled out a 12-10 win to capture the 143-pound title.
The other PAL wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament are: Chelsea Wilson (Menlo-Atherton, third place, 101 pounds), Mallory Moore (Terra Nova, second place, 121), Elisa Han (Aragon, third place, 170) and Sydnie Thiesen (Terra Nova, second place, 189).
Other strong performances included a fourth-place finish for Renata Lopez of Hillsdale at 137 and Terra Nova’s Teagan Allen, who was fifth at 111.
And Matteucci doesn’t believe his wrestlers will not just be happy to be competing in the state tournament, which will be held in Bakersfield Feb. 27 and 28.
“I’m very optimistic that both (Salem and Achermann) can get a medal (at state),” Matteucci said.