San Lorenzo Valley High's Grady Cloyd defeated Kyle Hames of Soquel to capture the 182-pound championship at the SCCAL finals at San Lorenzo Valley High in Felton on Friday, February 3, 2023. (Raul Ebio - Press Banner)

San Lorenzo Valley High freshman Ollin Bates walked off the wrestling mat following his league championship match with a stunned look on his face, almost in disbelief at what just had happened. 

The young up-and-coming wrestler jumped out to a 12-3 lead before pinning Ronan Madden of Santa Cruz in the second period to capture the 170-pound title at the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Finals on Feb. 3.

“I didn’t believe that could happen, I honestly thought there was no way,” Bates said.

That wasn’t until he let out a smile that was ear to ear, realizing that he had just won a gold medal at his home gymnasium in Felton.

“I got my friends and girlfriend, there’s so many people in the stands,” he said. “It felt so good.” 

Both finalists had a short history prior to their championship. Bates beat Madden by points in an earlier tournament, but not before he was suplexed by Madden that left a big impression on Bates. 

“He’s all brute strength,” Bates said. 

Bates was still in shock well after the match, which he won by working the inside and handing out snap downs to the neck. He mentioned that a lot of high school wrestlers will tend to look down and their necks aren’t very strong, which works to his advantage. 

“Snap downs work really efficiently for being in my weight class,” he said. 

Bates punched his ticket to get into the Central Coast Section Wrestling Southern Regionals that will take place at Watsonville High School on Saturday at 9am.

SLV took fifth as a team with a score of 76, just slightly ahead of Scotts Valley (40). 

Both schools finished behind Soquel (111), Aptos (134), Harbor (155) and new SCCAL champion Santa Cruz (162), which finished the season with 10 league points—five for duals and five for Friday night’s tournament. 

SLV finished fifth in the league standings with 1.5 points and Scotts Valley was sixth with a 1/2 point.

The top two finishers in their respective weight class automatically qualified for the CCS South Regional. SLV’s Grady Cloyd is heading to Watsonville after pinning Kyle Hames of Soquel with 19 seconds left in the first period, capturing the 182-pound championship.

“I felt pretty confident, my mindset,” Cloyd said. “I was in a good attitude and I was confident in my abilities, confident in myself. My goal was just to pick up legs and get him on his [butt].” 

Cloyd mentioned it meant a lot to win at his home gym where he practices on a weekly basis.

“I’m super proud of myself, proud of my team and super proud of my coaches,” he said. “I just want to get as far as I can until the legs go out, I just want to keep on going as far as I can.” 

SLV senior Jordan Swan lost to Dylan Gates of Santa Cruz in the 138-pound championship, while fellow teammate and junior Logan Hede lost in an 11-2 decision to Leo LoBue of Harbor in the 160-pound title match. 

SLV coach Ken Pollastrini said several of the wrestlers did better than he thought. 

Still, he was a little disappointed that Gates didn’t advance to the CCS Southern Regional after losing in the true wrestle-off for the final spot in the 138-pound weight class.

Gates received a cut over his right eye and received stitches after the tournament. 

“But all in all the rest of them, Ollin [Bates] and Grady [Cloyd], overall they did fine,” Pollastrini said. 

Scotts Valley senior Danica Kelley was able to execute some moves that she’d been wanting to perform, easily pinning Vivian Macias of Aptos to win the 121-pound division girls title.

“A lot of times I have that problem where I go out there with a move in mind and then it doesn’t quite work out,” Kelley said.

Whatever she was doing worked quite well and Kelley believes it’s just another step in the right direction. 

Fellow teammate Angelo Vignato lost in the 126-pound boys championship match to Daniel Evert of Santa Cruz. 

Despite the loss, Kelley said it was great to see her Falcon teammates get a couple of wins under their belts. 

Lila Mosley, Citlali Lopez and Kayse Martinovsky didn’t see action on the mat, yet they all earned league titles via forfeit due to lack of competition. 

Kelley believes they’ve progressed tremendously and last week’s league finals was a great way to show it.

“I’m just glad that the whole team was here today and everybody was really supportive, it was good,” she said. “Good day.”

Kelley now understands what coaches must feel like because she sees improvement in every match. That includes the little tweaks and how the wrestlers are responsive to critiques, which is a great trait to have. 

“You can see the improvement in their wrestling,” she said.

In the meantime, Kelley will work on polishing up her drilling and hopefully moving on to the CIF State Wrestling Championships at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield on Feb. 23-25. 

Kelley—who was also battling with injuries earlier this season—said the original goal to win this year’s State title remains the same. Before that, she still has to get through the CCS Regional on Saturday and then the Masters tournament the following week, also at Watsonville High.

“Now I’m kind of back into it, so I just need to kick it back up to full throttle,” Kelley said. “I’m glad that some of my teammates will be there with me.”

SCCAL Wrestling Championships

Tournament scores

Santa Cruz – 162

Harbor – 155

Aptos -134

Soquel – 111

SLV – 76

Scotts Valley – 40

League overall 

Santa Cruz – 10 

Aptos – 7

Harbor – 7

Soquel – 4

San Lorenzo Valley – 1.5

Scotts Valley – .5

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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