BAKERSFIELD - Kingsburg High School had a total of five wrestlers that competed at the CIF State Wrestling Championships at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield on Feb. 21-23.
On the boys side, Kimo Leia, Jonathan Viveros, Bo Jackson, and Jett Jackson represented the Vikings. In the girls tournament, Vanessa Mares was the only female from Kingsburg to compete. Mares is also the only female wrestler on the team.
Both Leia and Bo Jackson were one win away from placing at the tournament.
“All things considered, I’m proud of both those guys and how they competed,” Vikings head coach Bryce Hammond said. “Just different bracket placement or a few things going their way that didn’t, both of those could very easily have them high up on the podium.”
Leia’s two losses were by a combined three points.
The freshman began the tournament with a 7-5 loss to Antonio Lorenzo of St. John Bosco in the pigtail round of the 120 pound championship bracket. In the consolation bracket, Leia won four-straight matches before being eliminated in the tournament with a 5-4 loss to Carson Sauriol of Poway. Leia’s lost happened in the final eight-man consolation round. A win would’ve made him an automatic state placer.
“Both matches were very winnable,” Hammond said about Leia’s close losses. “I just imagine how he’s going to be next year when he’s got a full season of competition and training with the team.”
With Leia dealing with injuries throughout the season, Hammond said he expects the freshman to improve and return to the state tournament next year.
“He’s got great potential,” Hammond said. “I’m happy with how he wrestled and the sky's the limit for him.”
Bo Jackson advanced to the 195-pound quarterfinals in the championship bracket, but the senior would lose by pinfall to Buchanan’s Jadon Martin.
Bo Jackson would win two-straight matches in the consolation bracket, but he would be eliminated from the tournament after being pinned by Brandon Leon of Roosevelt. The senior’s elimination loss happened in the final eight-man consolation round and a win would’ve made him a state placer.
Hammond said Bo Jackson will be missed in the wrestling room next year.
“Bo has been one of the leaders on the team,” Hammond said. “He’s improved a lot over the last three years. Great leader, great work ethic, when he’s on the mat, he’s going to perform well every time, he’s consistent.”
Viveros, a sophmore, went 2-2 in the tournament and Jett Jackson, a sophomore, went 0-2. Both guys are expected to return to the team next year.
“Pretty much our whole team is sophomores and freshman,” Hammond said. “Pretty much, that’s all our impact guys next year coming back. We could have three returning state qualifiers, who are all capable of placing at the state tournament back in the room and having that leadership in the room. It helps with the rest of the guys believing in the process.”
As for Mares, she went 0-2 in the girls tournament, but Hammond said he expects the sophomore to return to the state tourney next year.