With his 9-4 win in the finals of the 197-pound weight classification at the CCCAA State Championships on Saturday, Cerritos College sophomore David Van Weems (Corona Centennial HS) became just the fifth person in school history to accomplish the feat. Van Weems defeated Sacramento City College's Rob Nickerson to conclude his collegiate career without a loss against another community college wrestler. He is also the first Falcon wrestler since 285-pound Jose Lopez (2009-10) to win consecutive individual state titles.
As a team, Cerritos finished in fourth place with 86 team points, despite missing four of their top-notch wrestlers, with two of them being returning All-Americans. They concluded the season with three All-Americans.
Fresno City won their second straight state title with 184 team points, followed by Mt. San Antonio College in second place with 152 points and Sacramento City College in third place with 98 team points.
"I'm so proud to be able to carry on the tradition of Cerritos College wrestling," said Van Weems. "When I came here, my goal was to win two state championships. The focus on accomplishing that has been maintained for two seasons. Everything I knew about wrestling was improved, thanks to the hard work of Coach (Donny) Garriott and the staff. I'm such a better wrestler from when I got here, and that's because of the coaching staff.
Van Weems, who had already defeated Nickerson twice this season, including one by pin, did not allow any offensive points on his way to the title. Coming out with energy, Van Weems posted a takedown just :10 seconds into the match and added another with 1:28 left in the first period. Starting the second period on the bottom, Van Weems recorded a quick escape point for a 5-2 lead and then added a pair of takedowns in the third period to secure the title.
In his three matches, Van Weems accomplished his goal of not allowing any scoring points against him. All of the points he allowed were escape points, which was his approach entering the tournament.
"I wanted to focus on wrestling my match, which means being the aggressor," added Van Weems. "At the same time, I was looking for their mistakes and doing my best to capitalize on them. In the finals, he (Nickerson) seemed to back off a few times, which allowed me to make the moves I wanted. I was familiar with him, but he tried to do some things different. But I was ready for anything and I'm so happy to have won the championship twice."
Cerritos entered the second day of the championships with four wrestlers in the semifinals. However, the first three suffered losses until Van Weems secured his spot in the finals.
Freshman Joshua Brown (Esperanza HS), who lost his 133-pound semifinal match, posted a win in his next match, but concluded the year with an 11-5 sudden victory loss in the third place match. At 157 pounds, sophomore Wyatt Gerl (Calvary Chapel HS) was trailing Colton Lopez of Fresno City, 7-5 late in the third period. Looking to make a final attempt to score points, he tried to get an underhook and throw Lopez, but was unable to do so and suffered a takedown and four-point nearfall. He responded with a pair of wins to lock down third place. Sophomore Blake Vasquez (Fountain Valley HS) lost a close 3-2 decision in his semifinal match, which resulted in an injury. He toughed it out in his next match, a 7-1 loss and then had to forfeit his fifth place match and took sixth place.
Below is a breakdown of the Falcon wrestlers at the state championships:
125 Pounds - Messiah Owens - Did not place
133 Pounds - Joshua Brown - 4th Place (All-American)
141 Pounds - Nick Camacho - 5th Place
157 Pounds - Wyatt Gerl - 3rd Place (All-American)
165 Pounds - Blake Vasquez - 6th Place
174 Pounds - Zack Gonzalez - 7th Place
184 Pounds - Angel Verduzco - 7th Place
197 Pounds - David Van Weems (STATE CHAMPION)
Photos by John Sachs
December 9, 2017 Wrestling: David Van Weems wins second state title
December 8, 2017 Wrestling: Team sits in third place after first day
December 2, 2017 Wrestling: Eight qualify for state; team places second
November 19, 2017 Wrestling: Cerritos defeated by Fresno City in State Team Duals
November 8, 2017 Wrestling: Team loses close match to Mt. SAC
November 4, 2017 Wrestling: Falcons have 11 placewinners at tournament
November 1, 2017 Wrestling: Upper weights lead Falcons to win
October 25, 2017 Wrestling: Five forfeits lead Falcons to win
October 18, 2017 Wrestling: Conference opens with convincing win
October 14, 2017 Wrestling: Cerritos captures second straight SoCal Team championship
September 30, 2017 Wrestling: Falcons finish second at Santa Ana Tournament
September 23, 2017 Wrestling: Team finishes in second place at tournament
September 16, 2017 Wrestling: Cerritos wins three of four matches
September 9, 2017 Wrestling: Falcons open season with three wins