Helix’s Gillem proves golden at state wrestling championships

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Helix High School senior Trence Gillem entered last weekend’s 44th annual California state boys wrestling championship tournament ranked fourth in his 134-pound weight class. But the newly-crowned San Diego Section Masters champion held true to the goal he had set at the beginning of season: He was determined to win the state title.

And, Gillem did just that after recording a 3-2 decision over Buchanan senior Durbin Lloren, the defending state champion, in last Saturday finals at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

Helix High School senior Trence Gillem entered last weekend’s 44th annual California state boys wrestling championship tournament ranked fourth in his 134-pound weight class. But the newly-crowned San Diego Section Masters champion held true to the goal he had set at the beginning of season: He was determined to win the state title.

And, Gillem did just that after recording a 3-2 decision over Buchanan senior Durbin Lloren, the defending state champion, in last Saturday finals at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.

Gillem (37-2) becomes the first wrestler from Helix to win an individual state wrestling championship.

And, he was perfect on the mat in doing so. The Highlander wrestler finished 5-0 at the state championship tournament.

“Definitely a weekend to remember,” Gillem posted on his Twitter account.

Gillem, one of two state qualifiers from Helix, was among 10 medalists from the San Diego Section and the section’s lone weight class champion.

Gillem opened the tournament last Friday with wins against Dos Pueblos junior Armando Pimentel, the Central Section seventh-place finisher, by a 5:34 pin in the first round; Yucapia junior Alejandro Raya, the Southern Section third-place finisher, by a 7-6 decision in the second round; and Vacaville sophomore Lawrence Saenz, the Sac-Joaquin Section champion, by default in the quarterfinals.

Gillem defeated Folsom senior Curtis Booth by an 8-3 decision in the semifinals to earn his date with destiny in the finals against his opponent from state champion Buchanan.

Helix senior 170-pounder D’Rell Gist, a fellow San Diego Section Division I champion, joined Gillem at the state meet after recording a runner-up finish at the San Diego Masters state-qualifying tournament. However, Gist lost his first two matches at the state meet to bow out of medal contention.

Gist dropped a 5-4 decision to Sunnyside senior Erick Moreno, the Central Section sixth-place finisher, in the opening round. Gist then dropped a 5-2 decision to Chaparral senior Garrett Strang, the Southern Section ninth-place finisher, in the opening round of consolation matches.

Gist finished the season 35-13.

Mat attack

Overall, the San Diego Section produced three championship-round qualifiers this year. San Marcos senior Jett Moy finished runner-up in his 152-pound weight class while Poway senior Chris Bailey finished runner-up in his 195-pound weight division.

Additionally, Poway sophomore Chase Zollman finished third in his 113-pound weight class while Rancho Bernardo junior Chasen Blair placed fourth in his 182-pound division.

Army-Navy Academy senior Zachary Schrader finished sixth at 220 pounds while La Costa Canyon senior Alec Baker placed sixth at 138 pounds.

Poway junior Scott Kyono (132 pounds) and Poway junior Luis Enloe (145 pounds) both earned seventh-place medals in their respective weight classes while Poway junior Hampton Boyd finished eighth at 160 pounds.

The top eight place-finishers received medals. Poway led the section with five medalists.

Buchanan tied an all-time state record with 10 place-winners. The Bears totaled 274.5 points to win their second state championship and first since 2006.

Clovis finished second with 232.5 points, followed by Poway in third place with 113 points.

Helix, buoyed by Gillem’s gold medal showing, finished as the second highest-scoring team from the San Diego Section with 30 points to place the Highlanders in 30th place.

San Diego Section Division I champion San Marcos finished with 23 points in 39th place while section Division III runner-up La Costa Canyon finished with 20 points in a tied for 44th place.

A total of 276 teams competed at last weekend’s two-day event.

Gilroy, which finished fourth in the team standings, was the only other team to score more than 100 points in the tournament.

Among the section’s other two finalists, San Marcos’ Moy lost by a 38-second pin administered by San Marino senior Evan Wick, the Southern Section champion, while Poway’s Bailey dropped a 6-1 decision to Clovis senior A.J. Nevills, the Central Section champion.

Moy, the San Diego Masters champion, was unranked entering the tournament but upset Riverside Martin Luther King junior Luke Troy, ranked fifth in the nation in the second round, He is the first San Marcos wrestler to reach the state finals since 1984.

Clovis junior Justin Mejia became the 22nd wrestler in history to win three state titles while Clovis sophomore Seth Nevills captured his second state crown.

The San Diego Section qualified 42 wrestlers to compete at last weekend’s state tournament.

Somewhat surprisingly, wrestlers from Division III champion Brawley and Division I runner-up Rancho Buena Vista were absent from the state awards stand.

Poway sophomore Jacob Allen (106), La Costa Canyon Kai Kramer (120), Poway senior Brandon Kier (126) and Rancho Bernardo junior Erik Salcido (145) all finished in the top 12 of their weight classes.

Ramona freshman sensation Jeremy Ramsthaler, who bolted out to a 31-0 start this season, finished 2-2 at the state meet in his 106-pound weight class.

Forty wrestlers competed in each weight class.

Of the 14 San Diego Masters champions, six earned state medals: Zollman, Gillem, Enloe, Moy, Blair and Bailey.

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