The newly reorganized Central California Conference held their 2018-19 league championships at Merced High on Jan. 31, marking the beginning of the final push for grapplers across the league.

The top four grapplers in each weight class of the boys finals were permitted to advance to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Wrestling Finals held at Atwater High School from Feb. 8-9.

Each girls wrestler qualified to move on to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section South Regional Girls Wrestling Tournament to be held at Central Valley High on Feb. 8-9.

Seniors Mokbel Obeid and Noah Mirelez went undefeated at Merced High, to be crowned Central California Conference champions.

Obeid piled up three pin fall victories against Juan Melgoza (Central Valley), Christopher Johnson (El Capitan) and Nathaniel Briones (Golden Valley), to go 3-0 in the 120-pound division at the CCC finals.

Noah Mirelez was given a bye in the first round, before pinning Kyle Hendrix (Central Valley).

Mirelez fell behind early against Devin Holman (El Capitan) 7-1, but rallied with a pin fall victory in the second round to clinch the 132-pound league title.

The Tigers had three runner-up finishers at Merced High last Thursday.

Freshman Jesse Cota ripped off two straight wins over Brandon Lee (Buhach Colony) and Christian Sanchez (Merced) to begin his quest for a 106-pound title, but a loss to Joseph Pia (El Capitan) prevented Cota from earning a league title in his first year. 

Junior Adrian Barrera had two first-round pin fall victories over Evan Cooper (Central Valley) and Chance Hose (Golden Valley) in the 113-pound weight class, to earn a championship match versus David Granados (Merced). Granados got the best of Barrera with a majority decision victory.

A bye and a pin fall victory over Brendan Richmond (El Capitan) put junior Aaron Botkin into the 220-pound finals, but a decision loss to Dylan McCartney (Atwater) would mean Botkin had to settle for second place.

Sophomore Chase Mirelez began with a victory over Alex Alvarez (Central Valley) in the 126-pound bracket, but encountered a bump in the road when he lost to Julian Pena (Merced) in his second match.

Chase Mirelez rebounded by pinning Maclain Oh (Buhach Colony) to take third place.

Senior Francisco Duran received a bye in the first round of the 145-pound weight class, but was tripped up with a loss to Zachary Haase (El Capitan). Duran defeated Alex Farias (Buhach Colony) to clinch his qualification to the Division III finals. Duran ended his tournament run with a loss to Owen Kreiger (Merced) in the third-place match.

Junior Brisa Salas was Patterson’s lone female wrestler in attendance last Thursday. Her 160-pound bracket run began with a bye in the first round. She then went on to topple Guillana Guitterrez (Central Valley) with a pin in the second round.

Salas lost to Ana Ceja (Atwater) for second place at the CCC Finals.

Sophomore Noah Cruz went 0-3 in the 138-pound bracket to end his wrestling season.

Matches for the CIF SJS Division III Finals and the CIF SJS South Regional Girls Wrestling Finals began at 11 a.m. on both days at Atwater High and Central Valley High respectively.

The top eight grapplers for each weight class of the Division III Finals will qualify to advance to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet held at Delta College from Feb. 15-16.

The top eight finishers of each weight class of the CIF SJS South Regional Girls finals will qualify to compete at the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championships held at Lincoln High in Stockton from Feb. 15-16.

PI sports writer

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