Max Aguirre raised his right arm in the air and then raced over and jumped into the arms of his coach Carlo Franciotti.
There was no containing the Frontier 160-pounder’s excitement after he punched his ticket to the semifinals of the CIF State Wrestling Tournament with a 5-3 quarterfinals victory over Dinuba’s Daniel Long on Friday evening.
Aguirre will face No. 1-ranked Joshua Kim of Corona-Santiago today at Rabobank Arena for a place in the state finals.
“I’m really happy,” Aguirre said. “It’s been a long-time goal of mine to be a state-placer. This is something I’ve being looking forward to my whole life. My freshman year I kind of came up a little short so I thought I wouldn’t be able to achieve it, but I’m glad I was able to do it my junior year.”
Aguirre was one of three Titans to reach the quarterfinals.
Trent Tracy (170 pounds) followed Aguirre’s lead and earned a spot in the semifinals with an impressive 9-2 decision over Matt Yang of Bella Vista.
Cole Reyes didn’t fare as well as his two teammates, losing his 120-pound quarterfinal, 6-5, to Luciano Arroyo of Santa Ana-Calvary Chapel.
That match went down to wire, as did Aguirre’s victory against Long.
Tied 3-3, Aguirre scored a takedown with 22 seconds left to beat the state’s No. 13-ranked 160-pounder.
“I was really scared,” Aguirre said. “I just kind of thought of my coaches and my family and my team. I knew they would want me to push through so that’s what I did.”
Tracy had a much easier time against his quarterfinal opponent.
The Frontier junior jumped out to a 7-0 first-period lead and then held Yang at bay the rest of the way.
“I just knew if I went out there and wrestled my match and do what I know then I’d be able to get a win for sure,” Tracy said.
Tracy finished the day with a 4-0 record. His first three matches all ended early, two with pins and one due to a technical fall.
“It’s really fun to be here,” Tracy said. “You work hard all season in practice and then you finally get here and get to show what you’ve been working on all those long hours.”
Unlike Tracy, Reyes wasn’t able to hold on to the lead.
After registering a takedown in the middle of the second period to go ahead 3-2, Reyes added to his lead with an escape early in the third period.
However, two late-match takedowns by Arroyo allowed him to narrowly edge Reyes for the victory.
“If you look at the first and second period, it kind of played into our favor," Frontier assistant coach Kirk Moore said. “We got a good turn, which was key to the match. Just after that, we knew we had to stop a takedown and the kid was really good on his feet. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t stop him from getting to our legs.”
Reyes took the setback hard.
“I’m really sad,” Reyes said. “I wanted to make it to the second day and be in the semifinals. But I’ll get over it and come back and push.”
Despite the tough loss, Reyes is still in medal contention.
Aguirre and Tracy have already secured no worse than sixth place.
Both have much higher aspirations than that.
“I have to just keep focusing and hopefully and hopefully get some more upsets,” Aguirre said.