Four Miners headed for CIF State Wrestling Championships |

Four Miners headed for CIF State Wrestling Championships

When Trevor Painter toes the line today in the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Bakersfield’s Rabobank Arena, the Nevada Union senior says he won’t get caught up in the moment.

Simply stepping onto the mat as one of California’s final 32 wrestlers in the 152-pound bracket is what he wanted all along. And after managing to push through a do-or-die situation at last week’s Masters meet in Stockton, Painter knows exactly how he’s going to approach each match of the state finals.

“I don’t have anything to lose, only to gain,” Painter said. “There’s no need to get caught up in the idea that it’s a ‘you-have-to-win’ type of thing.”

Painter faced such a scenario last week, as he wrestled for the seventh and final spot in the state finals.

A win and he was in the state finals. A loss and he was going home.

“It was intense,” he said. “But at the same time, it was like ‘I’m not going to lose. That’s just not going to happen. There’s no way I’m not making it to state this year.'”

Painter’s positive approach paid off when he pinned Bret Harte sophomore Tanner Sherrow to secure seventh place and the state finals berth. It allowed him to join fellow NU senior Jacob Purdy and Miner juniors Robin Callas and Tyler Szura as 2010 state qualifiers.

It had been 15 years since four Miners last qualified for the state finals. When coach Steve Pilcher led Nevada Union to its first section championship in 1995, James Gross (119 pounds), Garry Davidson (125), Ty Wilcox (135) and Joey Hart (152) each earned a state berth.

NU has twice qualified three wrestlers for state in the past five years, including 2005 (Zach Callas, Luke Manuel and Drew Maraglia) and 2008 (Jake Cena, Matt Manuel and Jacob Purdy).

Purdy (45-4), a three-time state qualifier, said while he hopes to improve upon his performance in his previous two trips to state, he won’t let it become his sole focus.

“I need to keep those things out of my head,” he said. “I haven’t done that well worrying about that – going two (losses) and out – so my whole mindset has changed this year.

“I was putting pressure on myself, wanting to do better than last year. I’m not going to let that be my focus this year.”

Purdy, who is ranked eighth in the state, finished third in the Masters meet last week after losing to seventh-ranked Isaiah Hurtado of Sheldon in the semifinals. He will open Friday’s competition with a bye, facing the winner of North Torrance senior Daniel Wada (fifth place in the Southern Section) and Trinity senior Levi Thomason (second place in the Northern Section).

Callas (49-8), a 140-pound junior and two-time state qualifer who leads the Miners with 30 pins this season, will open against Citrus Hill senior Kashawn Riley, who took eighth place in the Southern Section.

A win could earn Callas a second-round shot at San Diego Section champion Mitchell Maya, a senior from Brawley High who is ranked sixth in the state. The top-ranked wrestlers in Callas’ half of the 32-man bracket include No. 1 Frank Martinez, a Northview senior and Southern Section champion; fifth-ranked Bakersfield junior Timmy Box, the Central Section champ; and Trinity senior Kevin Maelfeyt, the No. 2-ranked Northern Section champion.

Szura (23-14), a junior making his first state finals appearance, took second place in the 112-pound bracket in the Masters meet. He will face El Molino sophomore Blake Borges, who finished fourth in the North Coast Section.

A win would mean Szura will face one of three wrestlers, either the winner of the opening round match between El Camino Real freshman Ali Naser, the Los Angeles Section champion, and Chico sophomore Mason Sauseda, the Northern Section runner-up, or Oak Hills junior Ray Delgado, who finished third in the Southern Section.

Painter (32-15) faces Healdsburg senior Dillion Cattalini, who finished fourth in the North Coast Section at 152 pounds. His second-round action could be against Frontier senior Lance Castaneda (fifth in the Central Section), King City senior Michael Ciccarelli (Central Coast Section runner-up) or Centennial-Corona senior Denzel Hawkins, the Southern Section champion and top-ranked 152-pounder in the state.

“The thing about the state meet is that it’s a new tournament,” NU coach Nick Saldivar said. “It’s a fresh start from the week before, so it’s anybody’s game. There are 32 people in the bracket and any one of them could win state.

“You may have lost to a guy two weeks ago or even last week, but if you go out hungry and not be afraid to try things. Look at Tyler. He wasn’t afraid of the kid ranked second in the section and he went out there and dominated him. Tyler may have surprised himself, but not me. I know what these guys are capable of. They just have to realize it.”

Contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton via e-mail at or by phone at 477-4240.

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