The Watsonville High wrestling team will have a solid group representing its home gym in today’s Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division Championships.
The pack of Wildcatz will be led by senior Joaquin Mosqueda who will compete at 134 pounds against some of the best the league has to offer.
said going into this season he simply had one goal in mind.
“I want to win CCS and place at state,” Mosqueda said.
He’ll have a chance to inch closer at a shot for a Central Coast Section wrestling championship but first he has to get through the 134-pound bracket in tonight’s league championships.
Mosqueda talked about having a stronger mindset, which has resulted in several victories this season.
“When I go in before a match I expect to win,” Mosqueda said. “I just expect to win now because I put in the work and I know that I can win every match.”
Other Wildcatz wrestlers to hit the mat include sophomore Vicente mosqueda (128), junior Rigo Cruz (140), freshman Eli Camarena (145) sophomore Mathew Flores (197) and junior Mauricio Mendez (220).
Mosqueda said he’s shared his experiences with the young group of wrestlers and talked about what kept him going throughout the years.
“For me it’s my family. They just kept me motivated and for me it’s just having that positive attitude,” Mosqueda said.
Mosqueda said he feels good going into tonight’s league finals, which he plans to win. Then he’s on to his next mission to capture a CCS title and hopefully place at the State Championships.
“That’s the plan,” he said.
Watsonville coach Josh Castillo said they’ve been through a lot of rough patches this season. They lost five seniors from last year’s squad and he mentioned it’s been a big setback for them.
Castillo said they got a lot of freshmen who made the transition from middle school but they’re still young.
“The thing I’m most excited about this season is next season,” Castillo said. “I’ve got kids already telling me they can’t wait to train in the off-season and get stronger.”
Castillo, a Watsonville High alumnus and former wrestler, said the key to getting better in the sport is to work at it year around.
He mentioned the girls team has been flourishing, too. The Wildcatz had a trio of girl wrestlers who were all CCS qualifiers.
Junior Michele Gomez (162), sophomore Julianna Mendez (118) and freshman Danisha Nunez (103) competed in last week’s inaugural PCAL Girls Championships at Alisal High.
“I was out there with a mindset of getting second or first place,” Nunez said.
She wound up placing third as the No. 7 seed and said she knows what she has to work on in order to get better for CCS.
Nunez had previously missed two weeks prior to the championships and she said she felt a bit of rust going into the first match.
“It didn’t really go as planned for me but just throughout the whole season, every competition has made it worth it to get ready for CCS,” Nunez said.
Pajaro Valley High and St. Francis High both wrestled in the PCAL Cypress Division this season.
The Grizzlies were led by junior Isaac Cardenas (180) who went undefeated with a 7-0 record in league meets and finished as the top wrestler this season.
Pajaro Valley coach Bob Pursley said that Cardenas was ineligible for the past two years because of grades.
But Cardenas worked on his academics and kept his wrestling skills in tact to make him available this season.
“That was a lot of work on his part, a lot of work,” Pursley said “He could be one of the best wrestlers we’ve seen at the school in a long time.”
Others who competed in yesterday’s league championships included junior Ladislao Silva (170), who is No. 3 in the league, sophomore Eric Lopez (152) and freshman Miguel Rivera (160).
Senior Katelyn Strader won the title at 191 pounds at the PCAL Girls Championships at Alisal High last week Saturday. She also earned a bid for the CCS Championships.
Strader went 4-0 with four pins, her fastest coming in 30 seconds against Alisal High’s Karina Marquez. Pursley said she was wrestling just above her usual weight class.
“It was really good to have her get out there and win,” Pursley said.
Pursley said he’s impressed with her tenacity and she doesn’t give up on whatever it is she’s doing.
“She’s doing a really good job,” Pursley said.
Pursley has led someone into the CCS Championships each year for the past three years since joining the program.
“It’s actually bringing more people to our program just seeing the success and hopefully with Katelyn’s success we’ll get more girls out,” Pursley said.
St. Francis High was led by heavyweight senior Isaac Silva (282), who went 7-0 this season in league meets and medaled in two tournaments.
Silva entered the PCAL-Cypress Championships as the top seed. St. Francis coach Nick Guerrero said if he stays true to form he should be able to advance to the CCS Championships.
“This year he’s been working really hard and went undefeated in the Cypress Division,” Guerrero said.
Others competing for the Sharks include sophomore Zachary Paz (184) and freshmen Armando Ramirez (222) and Darren Silva (172).
Aptos High will compete and host tonight’s Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Tournament, which begins at 7 p.m.
Competing on the boys team will be freshman Andrew Acevedo (106), junior Salome Ponce (120), sophomore Tommy Victory (126), sophomore Grant Bobeda (132), junior Christian Montoya (138), sophomore Isaac Craig (145), sophomore Ronin Tidd (152), senior Luke Keaschall (160), senior Gustavo Jacobo (170), senior James Platero (184), senior Cade Crowley (195) and junior Levi Slay (220).
On the girls side it’s senior Camila Barranco (113), freshman Mikayla santaella (152) and junior Alex Quintero (160).