There are big changes coming to town next February.
The CIF State Boys and Girls Wrestling Championships will be combined into a one-weekend, three-day event starting on Feb. 21-23 next year at Rabobank Arena.
The girls state tournament had previously been held at the Visalia Convention Center the last weekend of February with the boys state tournament taking place the first weekend in March.
The change comes because the athletic calendar for the 2018-19 high school sports year has been moved up a week, allowing the state to combine the two state championships.
“This is totally exciting,” CIF Executive Director Roger Blake said. “Last weekend in Visalia, we had 480 girls wrestling. To be able to bring them together with the boys wrestling, it’s a momentous weekend next year for the sport of wrestling.”
The current contract with the state and Rabobank runs through 2020, so the dates that year for the combined event will be Feb. 27-29.
“We already draw great crowds here (for the boys championships),” Blake said. “Bringing the two together, the crowds are going to be a full house, I think, all three days. It’s going to be good for the community of Bakersfield. More hotel rooms for people coming to town.”
Blake envisions the weekend to be similar to that of the girls and boys state basketball championships, which will be held simultaneously at the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento.
“We run the basketball championships together and have for 40 years,” Blake said.
The use of Rabobank Arena and the adjoining convention center also adds to the ability for the state to run both championships at the venue, according to Blake.
“What’s great about the facility here is with the arena and the convention center side-by-side, it allows us to have all of those warm-up areas,” Blake said. “All of those dressing room areas. All of those things. This is a great facility for this event. It’s going to be a real blast.”
By the numbers
164 - Career wins for Clovis senior Seth Nevills. The Penn State-bound heavyweight is now 164-1 in his career and 37-1 this season, and is just two wins away from becoming just the third four-time state champion behind Darrell Vasquez (Bakersfield, 1999-2002) and Justin Mejia (Clovis, 2014-17).
33 - Kern County wrestlers that entered the state championships on Friday. That number dropped to 12, with three left in the semifinals. Among the 33 locals, 23 earned at least one win Friday.
Count Ridgeview senior Albert Urias as one of the hardest workers. Urias, who finished second at Central Section Masters at 160 a week ago, was pinned by Wetzel Hill of Mission Viejo-Trabuco Hills at the 4:34 mark of opening round.
Urias came back to win his last three matches to stay alive for medal contention, including a tech fall over Peter Colias of San Francisco-Galileo. He also pinned Michael Goldfeder of Sherman Oaks-Buckley in his last match of the day.
Urias is two wins away from clinching a medal.
12 - No. 1 seeds left in the semifinals after Garces senior Isaiah Martin beat Victor Jaquez of San Jose-Bellarmine in the 220 round of 16, and 170-pound No. 1 Christian Rodriguez of Selma was upset by No. 16 seed Russell Rucklos of Palo Cedra-Foothill in the round of 16.
3 - Team points that separate first-place Clovis-Buchanan and second-place Gilroy. The Bears, seeking a third consecutive state championship, have four semifinalists and 128 team points. The Mustangs have 125 team points and six in the semifinals.