BASKERSFIELD — Los Banos High junior Tyler Felix says he’ll make it to the second day of the CIF State Wrestling Championships next year.
“For sure,” he said last Friday, watching the last few rounds of the event’s first day from the upper deck of Rabobank Arena about an hour after he was knocked out of the tournament. “I promise.”
The 113-pounder went 2-2 at the tournament, a vast improvement from an 0-2 exit his sophomore year. He opened the championship bracket with a 6-3 loss to Poway’s Scotty Kiyono, the runner up in the San Diego Section, to fall into the consolation bracket.
“In his first loss, the Poway kid, that kid pinned Tyler down in Temecula,” Los Banos coach Josh Adams said. “So to come back and lose by three points, he was hanging in there with him.”
Felix bounced back with a 2-minute, 56-second pin of league foe Steven Abbate of Central Catholic, whom he defeated 6-5 at the Western Athletic Conference finals a month ago. Felix trailed 5-2 in his second consolation match before a reverse and a near-fall propelled him to a 9-8 decision over John Whisner of Rim of the World.
“He almost pinned me. That was scary,” Felix said. “I felt in control at first, so I was pretty confident. I knew I just had to get out, because I was better than that kid. I felt like I just got caught.”
Felix got caught again in his next match against American’s Jared Luty, trailing 9-7 as time ticked away. He was one good roll away from a two-point reverse and overtime.
“I had a single right at the end, and my coach was yelling to go to the head, but he had my wrist locked,” Felix said. “I tried to get it out and lock the cradle hopefully, but he was holding on tight. I was right there, and time ran out.”
The loss ended Felix’s tournament two wins away from making it to the second day, and a few more away from making the medal podium.
“Going back to last year when he managed to make it to the section semis, he had a great draw in his first two matches at Masters, so he took advantage of that, but then he had a tough match with Gionn Peralta, the Vacaville kid, and he proceeded to lose the rest of them. He lost five in a row,” Adams said. “People were saying, oh he was lucky, and he was only a 106-pounder, so you can get away with stuff at sixes. So to come back, to improve his placing and take fourth at Masters, to improve his performance at state, going 2-2, shows a lot.”
Dos Palos had three wrestlers in the tournament. None of them made the second day either.
At 120 pounds, Dos Palos’ Adrian Marrufo went 1-2, his only win an 8-3 decision over Windsor’s Noah Au-Yeung in the first round, followed by a loss to Victor Valley’s Carlos Morales in the second round and Citrus Hill’s Anthony Vargas in the consolation bracket. At 145, Nathan Pimentel went 2-2, winning once in the first round (3-1 over La Costa Canyon’s Alex McIntyre) and once in the consolation bracket (4-3 over Irvine’s Michael Villegas). And at 152, Izzac Suarez went 1-2 with a pin of Palo Alto’s Josh Deckelman in the consolation bracket.