The Los Banos High School wrestling team qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Team Duals on a tiebreaker after finishing in a second-place tie in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Tigers took advantage of their good fortune by going on a Cinderella-like run to a section title Saturday at Lincoln High.
The fifth-seeded Tigers stunned the D-IV bracket by beating fourth seed Union Mine 56-18, top seed Foothill 37-30 and second seed Central Valley 44-26.
Los Banos finished 4-2 in the WAC and shared second place with Livingston and Ceres, all behind Central Valley. To break the tie, coaches added all points won by the three runners-up in their matchups. The Tigers edged Ceres 73-72 with Livingston trailing at 65.
Which means that by one WAC point, Los Banos eventually became Cinderella.
“No doubt,” coach Matt Vasconcellos said.
Still, Los Banos – beaten by Central Valley 36-35 in December – turned back a determined rally by the Hawks. Los Banos didn’t clinch the victory until a pin by senior Josh Bustamante in the second-to-last match. Tyler Felix, a two-time state qualifier who has returned to the team after a two-month hiatus, closed with a pin.
Central Valley missed a chance for its first blue banner in any sport.
Waterford avenged a dual-meet loss to Mariposa this season by defeating the Grizzlies 43-33 for the second year in a row in the Division VI title match. Matt Profeta (132 pounds), Elijah Singleton (160), Juan Mendez (195), Tory Larios (285) and Ivan Gomez (113) won by fall for Waterford’s third title in four years.
Girls Regional – Buhach Colony’s Rose Beltran (137 pounds) and Pacheco junior Miranda Lamela (126) picked up second-place finishes in the Girls Wrestling Regional at McNair High.
Other state qualifiers included Courtney Juarez of Atwater (fifth at 170) and Jalynne Hooker of Los Banos (third at 235).