Santa Barbara High’s Pepper Marks booked a spot in the CIF State Wrestling Championships with a second-place finish at the Southern Section Masters Meet on Saturday in Palm Springs.
Marks, a two-time CIF champion, lost in the 235-pound weight class final against Destiny Marquez from Marina High, 2-1, in double overtime.
Marks becomes the first girls wrestler from the South Coast to advance to the State Championships. They’ll be held Feb.23-24 at the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.
“Pepper and Destiny were on a collision course the day the bracket posted,” said Santa Barbara High coach Marc Fidel. “It was the match the crowd wanted and it didn’t disappoint.
“This match was epic, two tremendous competitors wrestling on such a high level, and it was a crowd pleaser. The goal of the tournament is to send its best to represent the Southern Section at the California State Meet in Bakersfield and that mission certainly was accomplished.”
Marks pinned three opponents in the first round en route to the final. She took down Emily Secundino of Foothill High, Akiro Harmon of Capistrano Valley and Emmele Americano of Hemet.