The confidence for Tye Monteiro is sky-high, and that’s a good thing.
The Garces standout became the first freshman for the wrestling program to medal at the Central Section Masters championship, taking fifth on Saturday at Hoover High in Fresno.
With that finish, Monteiro also becomes the first Garces freshman to earn an automatic qualification to the CIF State Championships that begin Thursday at Mechanics Bank Arena, formerly Rabobank Arena.
“It was a good experience. Nothing too surprising,” Monteiro said. “Overall, just good to get on a playing field with the best around and know that I can compete with them.”
Monteiro, ranked 23rd in the state at 152 pounds, won his first two matches in the championship bracket on Friday before losing a 7-2 decision to Clovis North’s Evan Almguer, ranked 15th in the state.
“I’ve always had good confidence in myself. But in that match against (Almaguer). I had him,” Monteiro said. “I felt I out-wrestled him. I think next week at state it’s those one point matches at state that I know I need to win.”
In just the sixth year of the boys wrestling program, having a freshman like Monteiro is exciting for Rams coach Robert Fowler.
“Tye wrestled with some of the top kids in the state,” Fowler said. “He came in to win with five pins and one (win by technical fall). He was ahead in his losses to highly ranked seniors. We are very impressed with his poise throughout the weekend and are excited for the state championship.
Monteiro (32-8 record this season), finished the weekend with a 5-2 mark, losing in the consolation semifinals by fall to Selma senior George Zuniga (ranked 14th in California) when the score was 5-4 in favor of Zuniga.
Monteiro defeated Clovis’ Rickieh Martinez by fall in the fifth place match and will await the state seedings knowing he is on the bubble for a top-10 seeding at state.
“I love that I get to wake in my own bed and wrestle in the state championship,” Monteiro said. “It means nothing really because I still need to go and get after it.”
Machado advanced to Day 2 at girls masters
In her first year wrestling, Garces junior Sarah Machado advanced to the second day at the Central Section Masters girls wrestling championships on Saturday at East High.
Machado lost her first match in the consolation bracket on Saturday, ending a very successful season.
Garces senior Daruis Picar and junior DeAndre Beldo were both eliminated in the first day at Masters.
Picar, who finished third at the Division IV championships, went 1-2 on Friday.
Beldo, the 220 D-IV champion, won his opening match on Friday, but then lost to state-ranked No. 7 Mateo Morales of Clovis West in the round of 16 by fall