Knowing he still has another shot at the state tournament, McNeer will take this year as a learning experience.
“I’m not as pressured as I would be next year,” McNeer said. “I’m still going to try and do the best I can. It’s really, really, really exciting.”
McNeer’s teammate, 17-year-old junior Cervantes will join him in Bakersfield at the heavyweight category.
“It should be a tough tournament,” said Cervantes of state. “It won’t be an easy tournament at all — it will be tough.”
Cervantes qualified by finishing third at Masters after losing to Trent Smith of Rancho Buena Vista High in the semifinals and beating Nick Wood of Poway High in the consolation match.
“I’m not satisfied with it,” said Cervantes of Masters, “but at the same time, every thing happens for a reason. You just have to come back next year and work even harder.”
Cervantes reached Masters his freshman year after finishing second at CIF. His sophomore year, Cervantes also finished second at CIF but didn’t place at Masters.
After qualifying to his first state tournament Cervantes feels confident.
“I’m actually excited. I’m not nervous at all,” Cervantes said. “I know I’ve trained well enough to do well at this tournament.”
Jones, a 17-year-old senior at Southwest, is one of two El Centro wrestlers who will test their skills at state.
The 189-pounder finished fourth at Masters after losing to Sean Hill from Poway.
“I was satisfied. I think I could have done better, but I’m satisfied that I get to go to state,” Jones said.
Jones, who transferred to Southwest from Imperial his sophomore year, didn’t wrestle his freshman or sophomore years, sticking to basketball.
Last year, he had to drop out of the CIF tournament after breaking his finger the day before. He tried to wrestle but couldn’t finish his first match.
“I was disappointed because I couldn’t finish,” Jones said. “I had to forfeit.”
Knowing this will be his final crack at the state title, Jones is excited.
“I want to see how I can do,” he said.
Romero, a junior, finished third at 215 pounds after beating Jacob Wagaman from Fallbrook High. Romero wasn’t available for comment at practice Wednesday but is heading to his first state tournament as well. He captured the section title in Division III last month in Ramona.