LANCASTER — The Golden League crowned 26 champions on Saturday at Lancaster High School at the Jack James CIF Qualifier for the boys and the fourth annual Golden League Girls Showcase.
Two wrestlers won their third consecutive Golden League title and five others won their second consecutive league title.
Quartz Hill had seven boys win their weight class to finish first overall in the team standings, after winning the Golden League title, its first since 2017, by going undefeated in dual meets during the regular season. The Rebels also had two female wrestlers win their weight class.
Knight junior Gabriel Silva won the 106-pound weight class to win his third consecutive league crown, while Knight senior Aliyah Yates won the 131-pound girls weight class for her third straight league title.
Silva pinned Highland freshman Robert Estrada in the first period of the 106-pound championship match.
“It’s very rewarding,” Silva said. “It’s more of a sense of accomplishment. As you get older, the classes get harder.
“You’re coming close to the end of your high school career.”
Silva said the hard work isn’t just a three-hour practice, but the extra time after that to focus on improving, as well as school work.
“There’s always things to improve,” Silva said.
Silva finished fifth at CIF last season, a placing that has motivated him this year.
“CIF is a big deal,” Silva said. “It’s the preliminary for State. These guys are hungry. I heard it’s going to be hard. I hope I survive this year.”
Yates won her lone match in her weight class, with just one other wrestling competing at 131 pounds.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done,” Yates said. “I put a lot of hard work in. It’s what made me what I am. You get a lot of confidence.”
Yates qualified in the top 12 at CIF last season.
“It’s my last year,” Yates said. “I have to put myself all on the mat.”
Littlerock senior Elvis Garcia (132 pounds) and Quartz Hill sophomore Max Maldonado (220) both won their second consecutive league title.
Garcia pinned Antelope Valley senior Rafael Alvarez in the third period of the 132-pound championship match. Alvarez moved up a weight class this year after winning the league title at 126 pounds last year.
“It’s a small accomplishment,” Garcia said. “I’m trying for CIF, Masters and State. “I’ve got to make my family proud and represent my school.
“I knew it was going to be a very tough match. I had to deliver.”
Garcia said he has been friends with Alvarez since his sophomore year.
“He’s a good guy,” Garcia said.
Garcia finished 2-2 at CIF last season.
Maldonado beat Knight sophomore Alex Esparza in overtime, 9-6. Maldonado was trailing by two points, but scored a last-second takedown in regulation and another takedown early in overtime to clinch the crown.
“It means I put in a lot more time getting here,” Maldonado said. “I’m happy to get the title. This year was kind of harder. I started late and moved up a weight class.
“I’m working harder so I can get to State or Masters.”
Quartz Hill senior Autilia Monteon (116 pounds), Antelope Valley senior Anna Gutierrez (137) and Palmdale senior Joeselena Rodriguez (143) each won their second consecutive girls Golden League title.
Rodriguez went 3-0 in her weight class, which also featured Quartz Hill’s Kaitlyn Feeney, who was the defending champion in the weight class.
“It’s a blessing,” Rodriguez said. “It’s an amazing way to finish my high school career.”
Rodriguez advanced to the Masters last season.
Monteon went 2-0 at 116 on Saturday.
“I’m just glad all the hard work paid off,” said Monteon, a third-year wrestler. “I put a lot more work in this year. A lot more sweat.”
Monteon finished third at CIF last season.
Gutierrez finished 2-0 at 137 pounds on Saturday.
“It’s good, but I can’t stop working,” Gutierrez said. “I noticed a couple of things I need to work on. I’ve got to keep on improving. I tell myself ’That’s not good enough.’”
Gutierrez said she hopes to improve on her finish at CIF last season, when she advanced to the second round and came close to winning her final match.
“I just got emotional,” Gutierrez said of her finish last year. “It was pretty sad. It was pretty frustrating.”
There were 11 first-time boys champions.
Five wrestlers won their weight class after finishing second at the league finals last season.
Littlerock senior Isaac Gutierrez pinned Lancaster senior Edgar Sanchez in the 113-pound championship match, after finishing second at 106 pounds the previous two seasons.
Quartz Hill junior Austin Shafer pinned Highland senior Jovie Francisco in the third period of the 152-pound championship match. Francisco was the defending champion in the weight class, while Shafer finished second at 160 last year.
Quartz Hill senior Preston Harvey scored a third-period pin against Highland sophomore Gennaro Davis in the 120-pound championship match. Harvey finished second in the weight class last year.
Quartz Hill senior Alan Garcia defeated Highland junior Bernardo Figueroa 9-5 in the 138-pound title match after a second-place finish in the same weight class last season.
Quartz Hill junior Mason Fiala beat Knight senior Cesar Carrasco 6-2 in the 145-pound championship match. Both wrestlers finished second in the league finals last year.
Antelope Valley sophomore Kameron Wallace won the 285-pound weight class after finishing third last season.
Wallace beat Eastside freshman Andres Garcia in double overtime, 6-3, in the heavyweight championship match.
Quartz Hill junior Adam Wong won the 126-pound weight class after a fourth-place finish last year.
Wong defeated Eastside junior Rob Frye 21-4 in the championship match.
Eastside sophomore Kaylon George pinned Quartz Hill sophomore Jae-Le Johnson in the first period of the 160-pound championship match. George finished fourth at 152 last season and Johnson was fourth at 145.
There were three first-year champions that did not place last season.
Highland senior Luis Salgado defeated Knight sophomore Israel Manriquez 10-9 in the 170-pound championship match.
Littlerock Alejandro Aguilar pinned Quartz Hill junior Andrew Gordon in the first period of the 182-pound championship match.
Quartz Hill senior Ethan Capps defeated Highland senior Angelo Desiderio 11-8 in the 195-pound championship match.
The top four boys in each weight class will compete in the Central Division Prelims on Friday at Palm Springs High School.
The female wrestlers will compete at the Northern Regional Girls Wrestling Qualifying Tournament at Camarillo High on Saturday.
Knight’s Stephanie Khamis-Hesar went 2-0 at 106, Lancaster’s Alondra Ayala won at 111, Quartz Hill’s Shyenne Francisco went 4-0 at 126 and Knight’s Ariel Appello won the 160-pound weight class.
Knight’s Monet Rios (101), Lancaster’s Gabriela Damian (121), Highland’s Daniela Morales (189) and Eastside’s Candy Salamanca (235) were all unopposed in their weight class.
There were no female wrestlers at 150 and 170 pounds.