Wrestling: Rio Hondo qualifies 7 for state, finishes 5th at SoCal Regionals

Wrestling: Rio Hondo qualifies 7 for state, finishes 5th at SoCal Regionals

Rio Hondo College will send a total of seven wrestlers on to the state championships following the squad's fifth-place team finish at the 2019 Southern California Regionals at Santa Ana College on Saturday.

The Roadrunners totaled 284 points to finish behind Cerritos (381.5), Bakersfield (353.5), Mt. San Antonio (333), and East Los Angeles (291).

Leading the way for Rio Hondo were second-place finishers Khalil Tucker at the 133-pounds weight division and Andy Voong at 197.

Tucker reached the 133-pound final after earning a huge 21-0 technical fall over Donavan Medina of Moorpark in the quarterfinals and an 11-5 decision against Jose Mata of Santa Ana in the semifinals. But Tucker's run came to an end with a 9-2 loss to top-seeded Andrew Gonzalez of Cerritos.

Voong didn't allow a point in his two matches leading up to the 197-pound final. He beat Jesus Hernandez of Palomar 8-0 in the quarterfinals and edged Ricardo Gonzalez 2-0 in the semis to set up his finals match against Hamz Al Saudi of Cerritos. Voong couldn't keep the streak going and lost a narrow 4-3 decision to Al Saudi.  

Christian Espinoza earned a third-place finish at the 141-pound weight class. He opened with a 21-3 technical fall over Jonathan Flores of East Los Angeles and picked up a 9-1 victory against Jacob Yamaguchi of Cuesta in the quarterfinals. Espinoza fell to the consolation bracket after a narrow 6-4 loss to David Ortega from Victor Valley in the semis but fought his way to third with pin of Rio Hondo teammate Jesus Langarica and a 6-3 decision against Bradley Chirino of Mt. SAC.

Adrian Guevara took fourth at 125. After suffering a loss in his opening match, Guevara won two contests by fall in the consolation bracket before suffering a close 11-9 loss to Keith Estrada of Bakersfield in the third-place final.

Ismael Cruz at 149 also brought home fourth place. Cruz went 2-2 at the tourney, winning both his matches by fall (James Adams of Mt. SAC and Lance McNatt of Palomar). But he fell in the third-place final, 9-4 to Josue Aguilar from East Los Angeles.

Also moving on are Isaac Escareno with his fifth-place finish at 157 and Langarica who took sixth at 141.

The group of seven will be making the trip to Fresno next week for the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Wrestling State Championships. The event is scheduled for Dec. 13-14 at Fresno City College with action starting at 9 a.m. each day.