BAKERSFIELD -- Gilroy High's Paul Fox, Nikko Villarreal and Matt Penyacsek were a cut above Friday at the California Interscholastic Federation Wrestling Championships at Rabobank Arena.
The trio nailed down berths in Saturday's championship round semifinals.
The Mustangs, meanwhile, added to their growing resume a week after winning their 12th consecutive Central Coast Section championship. Gilroy finished the day in fifth place, easily tops among teams in the Bay Area. Clovis, poised to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive state team title, holds the team lead.
The Mustangs finished 10th last year at state.
The semifinals will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the consolation fifth round beginning at 9 a.m. The championship finals are at 7:15 p.m. The top eight placers in each of 14 weight classes will earn medals.
Villarreal, seeking his third state championship, won his first three matches by pin at 145 pounds, before dusting Clovis sophomore Jared Hill by technical fall 19-4 in Friday night's quarterfinals. He will next face Buchanan-Clovis High's Conner Francis, who is ranked fifth in the state by The California Wrestler.
Fox, who is seeking his first title after finishing second twice, won his first two matches by pin at 152 pounds, after getting a bye in the first round. Then he defeated Kenneth Moore of Hoover (San Diego Section) 9-2 in the quarterfinals. He'll face Joseph Granger of Rancho Buena Vista (San Diego Section) in the semifinals. Granger won three times by pin, including a decisive pin in 1:03 seconds over Andrew Morgan of Fountain Valley in the quarterfinals.
Fox and Villarreal entered the competition with eight tournament championships apiece this season, and ranked No. 1 in the state by The California Wrestler.
Penyacsek is vying for the 170-pound title.
Gilroy's Victor Olmos, a three-time CCS champion, advanced to the quarterfinals by pinning Nick Valadez of Pitman in just 1 minute, 48 seconds. But he was then pinned by Wyatt Wickoff of Paradise.