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Half Moon Bay’s Dec. 4 wrestling tournament was first for PAL, CCS since pandemic began – San Mateo Daily Journal

For the first time since prior to the COVID pandemic, Central Coast Section high school wrestling teams have returned to tournament competition.

Half Moon Bay opened the 2021-22 wrestling season Dec. 4 with its host tournament, featuring 43 teams from around Northern California. It marks the first time Peninsula Athletic League teams wrestled in a tournament sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation since the state wrestling championships held Feb. 29, 2020.

While COVID impacted indoor sports more than outdoor ones, wrestling took the biggest hit of all, according to Half Moon Bay wrestling coach Ronnie Ekis.

“It was detrimental,” Ekis said. “Indoor sports (in general), it was really a big thing. And then the contact that comes with wrestling, we were probably the worst off of any sport, to be honest with you.”

In recent years, HMB had grown one of the most successful girls’ wrestling programs on the Peninsula, reaching the podium three straight seasons at the CCS championships, including a second-place finish in 2018-19. The only PAL program to fair better in that timeframe was Menlo-Atherton.

But this year’s sparse roster was deeply affected by the pandemic. Ekis said the HMB girls’ team had 25 wrestlers on roster two years ago. This year, the roster is at eight.

Depleted rosters were a common sight at the Half Moon Bay tournament, Ekis said.

“I don’t know if there was any full one for any of them, and that’s pretty unheard of,” Ekis said.

CCS wrestling teams did hold a short 2020-21 season. During the spring near the end of the school year, teams were allowed to hold dual meets. HMB held two meets, with head-to-head competition against Menlo-Atherton and Terra Nova, respectively.

“Which was awesome, but it was a bummer deal because we had a couple kids last year that were seniors … that would have had a chance to go to state,” Ekis said.

Former HMB boys’ wrestlers Fernando Diaz-Marquez and Bryan Thorne, graduates of the Class of 2021, each missed the chance to compete at the state meet.

While the CIF did not sanction a state meet, there was an unofficial state meet held June 11-13 at the Fresno Fairgrounds. The event was streamlined into a day for boys and a separate day for girls. In years past, the official CIF state meet has seen boys and girls wrestling simultaneously on neighboring mats. Also, last season’s weigh-ins were conducted the day previous to competition, as opposed to hours before a given match.

“This felt a little more like an offseason tournament, but it was run really well,” Evergreen Valley head coach Michelle Olmos said, “and I had absolutely no problems at that tournament.”

Menlo-Atherton was the only team from the PAL to send wrestlers to the unofficial state meet, with Alexia Bensoussan taking second place in the girls’ 128-pound division.

HMB did not send a team to the tournament. However, Diaz-Marquez and Thorne got something of a reprieve at the community college level this season. As freshmen at Skyline College, both wresters qualified for the California Community College Athletic Association state tournament. Thorne reached the podium with an eighth-place finish at 165s. Skyline’s Willy LaMacchia (Harbor-Santa Cruz) took second place in the same bracket.

While HMB’s roster numbers are down this year, the Cougars still have several promising individual wrestlers in the mix. Seniors Yessenia Covarrubias and Taylor Micallef took first place at Saturday’s 20th Annual …….

Source: https://www.smdailyjournal.com/sports/local/half-moon-bay-s-dec-4-wrestling-tournament-was-first-for-pal-ccs-since-pandemic/article_df3b2e6c-6169-11ec-8ef0-7b1e6373c6d6.html

For the first time since prior to the COVID pandemic, Central Coast Section high school wrestling teams have returned to tournament competition.

Half Moon Bay opened the 2021-22 wrestling season Dec. 4 with its host tournament, featuring 43 teams from around Northern California. It marks the first time Peninsula Athletic League teams wrestled in a tournament sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation since the state wrestling championships held Feb. 29, 2020.

While COVID impacted indoor sports more than outdoor ones, wrestling took the biggest hit of all, according to Half Moon Bay wrestling coach Ronnie Ekis.

“It was detri…….

For the first time since prior to the COVID pandemic, Central Coast Section high school wrestling teams have returned to tournament competition.

Half Moon Bay opened the 2021-22 wrestling season Dec. 4 with its host tournament, featuring 43 teams from around Northern California. It marks the first time Peninsula Athletic League teams wrestled in a tournament sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation since the state wrestling championships held Feb. 29, 2020.

While COVID impacted indoor sports more than outdoor ones, wrestling took the biggest hit of all, according to Half Moon Bay wrestling coach Ronnie Ekis.

“It was detri…….

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