There are several big sporting events held in Kern County every year.
Arguably the biggest of them all takes place this month, when Bakersfield will host the CIF State Wrestling Championships for a 17th consecutive year.
Hundreds of competitors and thousands of spectators will convene at Mechanics Bank Arena (formerly Rabobank Arena) for three days (Feb. 27–29) of dramatic, high-stakes high school wrestling action.
Like last year, the girls and boys tournaments will be held simultaneously.
The event kicks off fast and furious on day one with 10 matches going at the same time. It ends Saturday night with only the best of the best taking center stage for the 14 girls and 14 boys championship bouts.
Last year marked the first time since 2007 that Kern County didn’t have a wrestler in the state finals.
Eleven local wrestlers did earn state medals.
Six of them were underclassmen who hope to do even better this year.
Just earning a spot in the tournament is a grueling task.
After the regular season ends, wrestlers must battle their way through a league championship tournament, the divisional championships and the Master’s Meet in order to be one of 32 girls or 40 boys to compete in each weight division.
Kern County wrestlers compete in the ultra-tough Central Section, which has produced the boys team state champion each of the last 10 years, including Bakersfield High in 2010.
Last year Frontier, boosted by four medalists, was the highest finishing boys team, taking seventh place, five spots ahead of BHS.
On the girls side of things, South had the highest local individual finisher (Shareni Donis, fourth place) but Ridgeview finished best (35th) among local schools in the team competition.
Currently several local competitors look poised to win a state medal, including a handful who could make a run at winning a state title. ￼