Five locals are still in the hunt for Central Coast Section championships after one day of wrestling at Independence High in San Jose.

Watsonville’s Abel Pena and Joaquin Mosqueda, Monte Vista Christian’s Ethan Dean and Eddie Zamora and Aptos’ Keegan Dutton-Jones all won their first two matches in their respective weight divisions on Friday to advance to today’s quarterfinals.

Wrestling is set to start back up at 9 a.m. and the championship rounds are scheduled for 7 p.m.

Pena was the top seed of the 120-pound division and lived up to the billing, cruising through both of his matches via technical falls. He beat Mike Nguyen of Westmont, 16-1, and Jacob Torculas of Soledad, 18-3.

“That’s what was expected,” said Watsonville head coach Josh Castillo, who had to miss Friday’s prelims because of work but will be on hand today. “Setting the tone and showing what he’s about. It’s a good start.”

Pena will begin the second and final day of wrestling with a match against San Lorenzo Valley’s Jeremiah Aguirre. If he wins, Alisal’s Enrique Zavala, the No. 4 seed and last year’s CCS champ at 113 pounds, or Palo Alto’s Andrew Wang, the No. 5 seed, could stand in his way of making the championship match.

On the other side of the bracket, Zamora, who entered the tournament unseeded but battled his way into the quarterfinals with a 14-13 decision over Terra Nova’s Jacob Valdez, will have a big challenge to start the day. The freshman Mustang will face Gilroy’s Chase Saldate, the No. 3 seed and second-place finisher at this year’s Monterey Bay League championships behind Pena.

Saldate spent time as the top seed in the 120-pound division before he had to bow out of the MBL championships because of injury, instead of facing Pena for the league title.
Castillo, who is cousins with Saldate, said both wrestlers were disappointed they didn’t get to wrestle.

“They’ve both wanted that match all year long,” Castillo said. “If everything goes right, they’ll get it in the final.”

Mosqueda had a similar day to Zamora, entering unseeded in the 106-pound division and fighting his way into the quarterfinals. He will start his day with a match against No. 2-seeded Adam Arenas of Lincoln.

Castillo said it will be a tough matchup for his freshman but after his recent performances, including a first-place finish at the MBL championships, Castillo has confidence in Mosqueda.

“If he wrestles with that confidence then he’s gonna surprise some people,” Castillo said. “That’s what it’s about at this time of the year. Having that belief in yourself.”

Dean, meanwhile, will also start with a tough match, facing top-seeded Matthew Martinez of Alvarez at 182 pounds. Martinez won the CCS championship at 170 pounds last season and pinned Dean earlier this season.

But Dean was dominant on Friday, beating Harbor’s Armando Membrane in 23 seconds via pin and also pinning Independence’s David Chong to advance to the quarterfinals.

A Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League champion, Dutton-Jones also powered through his two matches on Friday, recording pins against San Benito’s Ricardo Gallardo and Milpitas’ John Degula in the 170-pound division.

Dutton-Jones, the No. 5 seed, will start Saturday with a match against Westmont’s Cam Cristopherson, the No. 6 seed.

Several other wrestlers were still alive in the consolation brackets after Friday’s wrestling.
Aptos’ Marcos Reyes (160), Adam Vega (195) Caleb Martin (220) and Matthew Maestas (285) and MVC’s Mateo Montoya (113), Thor Oglesby (126) and Amman Klair (132) will all look to secure a spot on the CCS podium in their respective division.

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