It’s been said that it’s better to be lucky than good. Bakersfield College wrestler Jeremy Maas was both on Saturday.
It proved to be a winning combination for the former Liberty High standout, who wrestled his way into the semifinals of the CCCA Southern California Regional Championships before winning a best two-out-of-three coin toss competition with teammate Adrian Godinez (Foothill) to decide which of the two would concede the 184 pound championship bout to the other.
Maas, ranked No. 2 in the state in his weight class — one spot below Godinez — was one of three Renegades along with Pedro Corona (Independence, 133) and Emmett Kuntz (Highland, 149) to earn gold medals at the one-day tournament.
BC sent five wrestlers to the finals, the most of any of the 11 schools competing in the event held at the Gil Bishop Sports Center
However, only one of the five, Corona, competed in the championship round. Zavion Roberson (Ridgeview, 197 pounds) won an 11-6 decision against West Hill’s Kevin Rosas in the semifinals and then called it a day, not wanting to risk further injury to an ailing knee.
Kuntz’s opponent also decided to bypass wrestling in the finals, as did Maas and Godinez.
Maas is undefeated at 184 pounds this year, while Godinez has lost just one time and that was due to an injury default.
“My boy and I got to split another victory,” Maas said. “I won both coin flips so I get the gold medal. I won rock-paper-scissors last week (at the conference championships).”
Kuntz notched a pair of technical fall victories and then a major decision in the semifinals before claiming a default win over Palomar College’s Nathan Navida in the finals.
“It was really cool because in the semifinals I faced a kid that pinned me early on in the year,” Kuntz said. “I got to come out there, wrestle strong, and I took it to him and beat him.”
Corona, ranked No. 2 in the state at 133 pounds, won his title on the mat, jumping out to a 10-5 lead on Josh Brown of Cerritos College before Brown came down hard on his left knee and had to default with 10.6 seconds left in the second period.
“Brown is a good wrestler but today was my day to shine,” Corona said. “I’m happy for me and for my team as a whole.”
The Renegades narrowly missed out on earning a sixth spot in the finals, when heavyweight Ramiro Macias, ranked No. 3 in the state, lost 3-1 in the semifinals to top-ranked Brandon Sotomayor of East LA College.
Macias, nursing a sore right ankle, rebounded from the setback and wrestled his way into the third/fourth place consolation match before pulling out of the tournament.
Despite missing out on the chance to earn more points because of the default losses during the final round, the Renegades finished third in the team competition.
Mt. San Antonio College was first with 193.5 points. Cerritos (149), BC (148.5), Palomar (140), and Rio Hondo (80.5) rounded out the top five.
“We had a lot of things to work on coming out from last week,” said BC co-head coach Marcos Austin. “We had some guys that were a little banged up…Just to come out and perform like that today is just a taste of things to come.”
The top-six wrestlers in each weight class earned medals and automatic berths into the CCCAA State Championships, which will be held Friday and Saturday in Stockton at San Joaquin Delta College.
BC will have eight automatic qualifiers and one alternate at the state meet following Saturday’s results.
“We’re trying to get where these guys are peaking at the right time,” Austin said.
The state tournament could finally feature the match many people have been waiting to see: Maas versus Godinez.
Maas sidestepped the question when asked who would win if he and Godinez wrestle each other.
“We’ll have to find out in the state finals,” Maas said. “We go back and forth. No one is going to really know until the match takes place. We’ll see who is the best wrestler that day.”