The 2013-14 season for girls wrestling in the East Bay was nothing short of historic.
Three wrestlers -- Alyssa Hernandez of James Logan and Chanel Chawalit and Erica Sotelo of Albany won state championships -- and Albany captured the team title, a first for an East Bay school, at the California Interscholastic Federation championships Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Visalia Convention Center.
Albany was small in numbers but big in talent.
With just four of Albany's eight wrestlers qualifying for the tournament, the Cougars fought off many large squads to win the title with 94 points. It's the first state championship team title in school history for any sport, Cougars coach Jason Griffin said.
"My girls really wrestled well. That's just what it came down to," Griffin said earlier this month. "They rose to the occasion."
Chawalit, the defending state champion at 126 pounds, pinned her way to a second consecutive title. She was 5-0 with five pins in the tournament, including one at 4 minutes, 54 seconds in the championship match against Alyssa Gonzalez of Benicia. Chawalit, a senior, finished the season with a 38-1 record and 35 pins.
Sotelo, the No. 4 seed in the 131-pound division, upset No. 1 Monica Samaniego of Miller-Fontana 5-3 in triple overtime before defeating No. 3 Erika Mihalca of Casa Grande 7-0 in the title match. Sotelo, a junior, was 5-0 with two pins in the tournament and finished the season at 39-4 with 33 pins.
Hernandez, the NCS champion at 143 pounds, was hardly challenged at the state tournament, pinning all five of her opponents. She capped her spectacular junior season with a pin of Lincoln-Stockton's Jessica Rodriguez in just 37 seconds.
Staff writer Phil Jensen contributed to this story.