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The Best of California (2000-19)

original photo courtesy of Richard Immel

Last year at about this time, we introduced the All-2000’s team’s for a particular school. Those articles tended to be very popular amongst fans and generated plenty of talking points. This time around we’re doing something similar, but instead of focusing solely on one school, we’re looking at one state and the wrestlers it has produced. The Best of….

So we’re going weight-by-weight with the top wrestler in each weight class from a particular state. The caveat is that they must have competed within the last 20 years (2000-19). Even if only one season of their career is within this span, they can be under consideration. Each wrestler must have competed in at least one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they are most known for). Also, we’re using hometown’s provided by their respective school’s websites.

Prior Best of’s…..

Kansas

Michigan 

Minnesota

These teams just keep getting better. California has had a long history of producing elite talent and the last 20 years are no exception. This team is so talented that we have a pair of multiple-team NCAA champions that couldn’t get onto the first team. Really, the second team is tougher than the best squad most states! Unfortunately, in the last 20 years, we have lost several DI programs in California, so most of these studs had to go out-of-state to compete in college. With the revival of the Fresno State team and Cal Baptist transitioning to DI status, hopefully the next time we do this exercise, there will be more California colleges represented. 

The first team for California is responsible for 13 NCAA titles, won by eight different wrestlers, 21 NCAA finals appearances, and 30 All-American honors. All ten of the first team wrestlers were NCAA finalists on at least one occasion. 

125 - Stephen Abas: Hayward (Fresno State) 2002

Second Team: Jesse Delgado: Gilroy (Cal Poly/Illinois) 2015

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