Gervais' Zepeda finishes runner-up at girls wrestling championship
A day after her college signing ceremony to the Corban University wrestling program, Gervais senior Alexys Zepeda finished her historic career with the Cougars at the 2021 girls state wrestling championship at Cottage Grove High School.
Zepeda placed second in the 190-pound bracket, giving her top-three finishes in all three state events she competed in at the high school level. Competing at one of the highest weight brackets after spending her first two years at the lower weight classes, Zepeda fell to Milwaukie senior Fiona McConnell, a seasoned veteran at the 190-bracket.
In her third consecutive year in the finals, McConnell pinned Zepeda 32 seconds into the final round to defend her 2020 state title.
It was the only loss for Zepeda in the past two girls tournaments after she breezed through the South Regional bracket the week prior, pinning all three of her opponents in under one minute. It was much of the same for the Gervais senior to open the state tournament, picking up a 14-second pin in the first match and following with a 1:06 pin over Forest Grove junior Ella Taplin to return to the final after missing the state tournament in 2020.
Zepeda's high school career began with a third-place finish in the 3A 113-pound bracket at the 2018 state championship, becoming the highest-placing girl in state history in a boys state event. She returned her sophomore year to claim the title in the girls 130-pound state bracket.
Zepeda's second-place finish at this year's event scored 18 points for the Gervais girls team to tie for 19th-place.
The Gervais boys team was led by freshman Frankie Giron, who advanced to the bracket semifinals before ultimately placing third to end his first high school season.
Giron opened the tournament with a 23-second pin over Adrian's Virginia Tolman before falling to Illinois Valley freshman Michael Miller in the first round of the bracket semifinals. Giron rallied with a 12-second pin of Camas Valley's Noah Duncan in the consolation semifinals before earning his third-place medal with a first-round pin over top-seeded Hannah Erz of Central Linn in the consolation finals.
The Cougars' only other scoring wrestler was senior Andy Cruz, making his second trip to the state tournament. After going 0-2 in his 2020 debut at state, Cruz advanced to the consolation semifinals of the 285-pound bracket before ultimately bowing out.
Cruz opened the tournament with a first-round pin over North Douglas freshman Max Kenyon before falling to third-seeded Wylie Johnson of Culver in the second round of the quarterfinals. He rallied on the back side of the bracket with a second-round pin over Echo freshman Brandon Morrison, then took down Rogue River junior Jason Smith in 3:53.
Cruz's run ended with a first-round loss to Coquille freshman Tommy Vique, who went on to place third in the bracket.
Elsewhere for Gervais, junior Skyler Kempton and freshman Gottien Ramon each went 0-2 in the 132-pound bracket, and sophomore Jorge Barroso fell in his two matches at the 152-pound bracket.
The boys team scored 28 points total to finish 19th overall.
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