Wrestling: Emma, Camacho earn state berths

Balers sophomore Kira Emma took third place in the 106-pound division of the CCS Championships last weekend, earning a state berth.

San Benito High will be sending two wrestlers—Michael Camacho and Kira Emma—to the CIF State Championships. The state girls tournament is at the Visalia Convention Center, and the boys tournament is at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
Both tournaments start on Friday and conclude on Saturday.
Emma learned in September that this would be her final year at San Benito, as her family planned to move to Arizona. She vowed to make her final season special, and that’s exactly how it turned out. Emma and Camacho both won third-place matches at last week’s Central Coast Section Championships to earn state berths.
“After (the first day) didn’t go quite as well as I wanted it to, I really wanted to make (the second day) count and try to go out with a bang,” Emma said.
So when she got a pin to clinch her spot at state, she was at a loss for words.
“I was really excited. I didn’t know what to think. It was a really amazing feeling,”
Emma took third place in the girls 106-pound division, while Camacho took third in the 182-pound division.
“I’ve never been there (state tournament), so it will be good,” Camacho said.
Camacho advanced to the winners’ bracket semifinals, where he took a 9-1 loss to rival Lucas Olgiati of Monte Vista Christian. Camacho then advanced to the consolation finals, where he needed some dramatics to pull out a win.
Emma took an even harder road to state. Emma lost her first match in the main draw to open the tournament and had to win four straight contests to qualify for the third-place match.
“Even though I had more matches than I would have had to get to third, I had the chance, so I wanted to keep motivating myself and try as hard as I could,” Emma said.
And fittingly, Emma needed to work for her right to go to state.
Facing Wilcox’s Alexis Perez-Talmadge, Emma went up 4-0 going into the third period and seemed to be in control. But Perez-Talmadge took control in the final period and nearly stole the match. She quickly took Emma down and put her on her back for a nearfall that Emma fought to avoid the pin.
And just as Emma got out of the near fall, she also scored an escape and dropped Perez-Talmadge and immediately went to work. Emma scored the pin to lock up a state berth.
Emma finished the tournament with five consecutive wins, all via pinfall. Meanwhile, Camacho looked great en route to the main draw semifinals, recording three victories by pinfall. But in the semis, the top-seeded Camacho ran into an MVC opponent he knows all too well in Olgiati, who prevailed, 9-1.
That dropped Camacho to the consolation bracket, where he breezed to a 12-0 win to advance to the third-place match. Camacho appeared to be on his way to an easy path to a third-place finish.
He took a 2-0 lead into the final round and went up 3-0 on an escape and went for a move to end the match when things went wrong. As Camacho attempted a throw, he fell to the mat with Kevin Ruiz on top, who scored the take down and went into a near fall that Camacho kicked out of and eventually got back to his feet.
Once Camacho cleared his mind, he wasted little time. He stopped Ruiz and recorded the pin.
“I just had to keep poised and keep wrestling,” Camacho said.
His coaches and family were able to laugh about the failed move afterward, and even Camacho admitted he made a mistake.

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