6 Placer wrestlers, 2 Bruins advance to Masters
Despite being a sport that pits athletes one-on-one, don’t tell the Placer High School wrestling team this is an individual sport.
Six Hillmen wrestlers advanced out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championships and to the section Masters tournament next Friday and Saturday at Stockton Arena.
This is the largest group of Placer wrestlers to advance since 2010.
“We are a team,” said Placer head coach Don Packheiser, whose Hillmen finished fourth overall with 111.5 points. “It’s a team sport for us.”
“It’s pretty awesome,” said senior 152-pounder Brendan Packheiser. “We haven’t done this since I was a freshman. It’s like reliving the glory days — but this is our class, now.”
Added fellow senior Mike Valdez: “It’s absolutely amazing. We have gone above and beyond. We came to divisionals and stepped it up.”
During the consolation-round elimination, senior Mike Valdez defeated Jamie Villar of Inderkum at 138 pounds to advance to Masters for the first time.
“I can’t even explain it,” Valdez said. “It’s been my goal for four years. This was the match that put me out every other year.”
Senior Ryan Talley won the D-III title at 195 pounds with an impressive decision over Westly McMahon of Yuba City.
“There aren’t words to describe how I (feel),” Talley said. “This is unreal. It is just so awesome.”
Josh Mason finished in second place at 126 pounds, falling to Dakota Fierro of Antelope by pin in the second period. The loss is nothing to be ashamed about, as Fierro is ranked ninth in the state and is considered one of the top two wrestlers who was at the tournament.
Packheiser finished in third place after his opponent, Myroslav Prokopchuk from Center forfeited due to injury.
Three wrestlers elected to forfeit the final matches in the third place matches to save strength for Masters next weekend.
Myles Lenover finished in third place with a 7-5 decision over Logan Morace of River Valley.
Will Thorton also finished in third with a third-period pin over Justin Yip of El Camino.
Two Bear River wrestlers also are moving on to Masters.
Travis McKnight of Bear River at 220 pounds lost to Jordan Sepeda of Natomas in the finals.
Junior Carter Danieli of Bear River advanced to Masters with a third-place finish at divisionals and a pin to cap it off. Danieli pinned Casey Burton of Antelope with just 11.7 seconds left in the match and now will participate in the Masters for the first time.
“This means that I just wrestled as hard as I can,” Danieli said. “Now I get to wrestle against the big boys, and I don’t care who it is.”
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